by Letty Watt
On a sweltering hot evening in July three friends met at our local Applebee’s to enjoy a free meal, using my $50 gift card for winning the City golf tournament. We laughed while sharing our golf stories, each topping the other person’s tale of woe. As we ate, Peggy turned her eyes toward the black wall of clouds north of us, then with a touch of concern she said, “You all look at the storm cloud.” We ignored her warning, knowing that summer storms hit from the southwest, not from the north!
Before the meal was finished the first hailstones hit like a baseballs coming through the window. We jumped and children screamed. The black cloud had indeed driven straight south. I’m sure there must have been thunder and lightning in that storm, but I only remember moving away from the window with desserts in hand, and marveling at the size of the hailstones. Hail the size of golf balls, baseballs, grapefruit, and even indescribable shapes hit, but it was the direction and ferocity with which they flew that kept my eyes glued to the surrounding windows. The hail came down on us like ocean waves pounding the sand then rebounding over and over. I’d never experienced hail larger than a marble, and honestly didn’t realize its dangers until that moment. The giant hail hitting the metal on the roof at Applebee’s intensified the fears of everyone inside. It wasn’t just little children screaming with the pounding and crashing sounds.
When it was quiet but still raining, one by one we ventured out to see our cars. Windows were shattered, words of amazement echoed in the parking lot. The dents that covered the hood and roof of my car looked like a mad man had taken a baseball bat to it. Sitting in my car, I began to cry. My windshield glistened through the cracks and shards like a twisted kaleidoscope scene. Carolyn had driven her old work pickup, and it, too, was busted and dented beyond description.
Before driving home I called my husband cautiously asking, “Jack, how bad is the damage there?”
Jack calmly replied, “What are you talking about?”
Now screaming into my cell phone I yelled, “From the hailstones and rain. Where are you?”
Again Jack replied, “The sun is shining here, but I did notice that cloud east of us. Are you alright?”
All I could do was blabber on about the storm and the damage. He interrupted me long enough to say, “Call the insurance company now, then drive home.”
A wise man is good to have in times of crisis.
Carolyn’s pickup was totaled; my car, nicknamed Lumpy, took two months to be repaired. I still have $8 on the gift card, but I’m keeping that card as a trophy and reminder of the most expensive meal we three had ever eaten!
Letty Watt is a golfer by summer months, a writer by winter, and she loves to share stories that people can relate to. She has been writing stories on her blog Literally Letty for over three years.