The Norman Transcript

April 26, 2013

Spring storms can be powerful in state

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — My house is located near the epicenter of Norman’s hailstorm March 30.

The TV was turned on that frightening evening as hail slightly smaller than golf balls pounded the roof while I watched, through the glass storm door, the crystal display that covered the tender spring grass.

I’ve experienced more than 61 springs living in Norman and am cognizant of the terrible and awesome power of an Oklahoma tornado. The year that the Blanchard schools were destroyed in a tornado — I was about 10 years old — I had signed up to play a flute with the school band, but it didn’t happen because the instruments were destroyed along with the buildings.

During the “eye” of the storm, my dad decided the storm was over and we started for the house, which was about 50 yards from the front porch. However, before we got halfway, the terrible winds began again. Each of us grabbed the hand of another and we struggled for the house. The cellar door had blown off.

We were all able to get into the house, Mom and Dad holding the doors shut with the help of four small children. Despite our weight pushing against the doors, they still bowed inward. Probably the time we held the doors was only a few minutes, though at the time it seemed like hours.

Back to March 30: Pillows, flashlights and blankets galore were stacked in the hall away from windows just in case it became necessary to hide from a possible tornado or very strong wind.

Luckily, the front stalled and the winds only reached about 50 mph. Finally, I went to bed, but not to sleep until the adrenaline running through my system abated.

My roof, along with a good many of my neighbors’, were damaged and the shingles will have to be replaced soon. The roofer I chose told me that when he begins, it will be completed that day. What a relief that I won’t have to hear the tack, tack, tack on the roof for days.

My daughter, Jerri, granddaughter, Lindsey, and I went to Tulsa this week to visit our good friend and my best buddy, Patricia Folley, in her fight for life in Hillcrest Hospital.

She was in Tulsa visiting her granddaughter, Amy, husband, Ryan, great-granddaughters Gracie and Penny, and grandson, David, when terrible pain in her stomach woke her up, causing a trip to the ER. I’m happy to announce that Pat is much better and is staying for a few days with her granddaughter, Amy.

I’ve ordered a heavy-duty rototiller to plow under the weedy garden space that I’ve not been able to prepare. Grandson Evan Davies will till the backyard area so that he and wife, Lindsey, and friends Stacey and Scott will each have a small plot on which to grow whatever they wish. So far, everyone seems to want to grow tomatoes and peppers or beans or mustard.

This year, I’m experimenting with a grafted tomato (it costs $6). Grafted together are a vigorous rootstock, which is resistant to many diseases, and nematodes with the zion.

Other types that I’ve chosen are several heirloom Cherokee Purple (my very favorite tomato ever, which was given to a pioneer family by a Cherokee Indian) and a hybrid Better Boy. None of the above are Gene Modified Organisms (GMOs), which I despise.

Let us all think good thoughts and hope no more hail or spring storms race across our prairies, gardens and farms, turning our lush gardens and corn into slimy green pulp.

Please get outdoors and enjoy the wonderful April sun and showers. I love what rain does to my hair, making it soft and curly. So long ’til next time.

Email Betty Culpepper at for comments, questions or ideas for future columns.

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