Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whirlwind Tour of Central Arkansas

In the past two days we've been driving all over central Arkansas. To the airport to drop off Aaron who was in town for a visit this past weekend and headed back to Ft. Drum NY. We had hoped, at the same time, to pick up Mason who is on R&R from his base in Afghanistan. He will be with us for two weeks. Ronny spent the last three days not eating or drinking, and running himself to death to try to lose enough weight to officially ship off to Army bootcamp at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina.

Enter the tornadoes.

We spent most of Monday at the LR Airport cursing the inefficiency that is the airline industry. Mason' flight was late coming in from Dallas. Aaron's flight back to NY was cancelled and Ronny could not quite get to the 205 pounds he needed to be to get through MEPS and ship.

By 5:30 PM Mason flight finally comes in, Ronny is given one more day to lose 3 pounds, and Aaron is reassigned a ticket for the following day. We exit the airport terminal to the sound of tornado sirens wailing from several different locations. With Ronny still sequestered with his recruiters at the pre-deployment hotel, Mason heads to the baggage claim to pick up his checked luggage which, I bet you can guess, did not show up when he did. Because of the weather Mason became separated from his luggage as planes were swapped in and out.

So Mason decides to take me, Patt, and Aaron to dinner before heading home. The weather is atrocious. Sirens blaring all over Little Rock. Mason takes us to Copeland's where we sit down and finally receive our platters filled to the brim with cajun cuisine. Just as we were digging in, after not eating all day, the manager stops by our table and tells us a tornado is moving over our location. He lead us through the kitchen back to the walk in freezer. He assured us the door would not lock from the outside.  So the four of us and several other customers piled into the freezer to wait for the funnel cloud to pass over.

After all of this we finished our dinner and headed home with the radio on listening to the weather alerts.

Flashflooding on Calf Neck Road, Perryville experiencing flooding, a tornado signature on the radar 3 miles southwest of Perryville heading northwest. When these weather alerts come on the radio we are normally asking, "where's is that?" But last night all of the locations were within two miles of our house.

We did not sustain any damage, no flooding, the garden is soaked but nothing much to worry about. All the animals were okay. We still do not have power but that is not much of an inconvenience.

I am back at the airport now as I am writing this. Ronny lost 6 pounds overnight and made his weight and is shipping out from gate 3. We got to visit with him before he went back to the gate because we are here to see Aaron off. His plane leaves at 3pm. Mason is sitting with us and will take us to the pub for dinner before we head for home again. Somehow, the whole family was back together for at least a few minutes - even if it had to happen at the airport - it was nice.

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