Posted by: suek2001 | July 24, 2013

Back in the High Life..The Superstorm of 1987

It’s amazing how songs can connect me to a time and place…every time I hear them…Gold by John Stewart takes me to the Summer of ’79 in my Mom’s car as we speed toward’s Grandma’s house….or Cowboy’s  Delight by John Denver transports me to my Aunt’s car as we drive to her barn to see her horse….

Back In the High Life by Steve Winwood(with James Taylor on back up) does the same thing for me…It was July 23rd, 1987. I was staying with my Grandmother and Aunt for the summer in Minneapolis. The day started out like a normal sunny day but storms were forecast for the day. My Aunt had put in a long day at the office so that left my Grandma and I to eat dinner by ourselves…

As we ate dinner, we noticed the rains were coming in and the skies growing dark. This was around 6pm or so….In the summer in Minneapolis, the sun was out ’till after 9pm on most nights…So, to have it go to almost nighttime at 6pm was really freaky. I told Grandma that she should go watch the news while I did dishes. I loved doing dishes by myself as I got to listen to my Grandma’s walkman….

The kitchen was a small kitchen with moderately sized windows. It overlooked the backyard which was a lush green garden of flowers and tall trees….and those trees were bending to the windsin very odd shapes…

The storms approached as thunder roared and lightning flashed….All along, I kept at doing dishes…..listening to KS95..The song playing at that moment was “Back in the Highlife” by Steve Winwood. I recall Dave Dahl, the meteorologist, kept interrupting the song with weather updates…road closures…tornado sightings….After about the fourth interruption, I gave up trying to hear my favorite song…and when lightning flashed into the kitchen..I quickly finished the dishes…and ran to find Grandma. By the time, I got the headphones off, I heard those freaky tornado sirens…

I helped her round up the four cats..although Cloudy(my Grandma had a thing for naming cats after weather) got spooked and hid in the false ceiling of the basement…By then, my Aunt had called and let us know she was out at the barn and the rains were horrid and she would be out there awhile before the roads opened due to weather. We told her to hang tight and wait ’till it all cleared…figuring the storm would clear out in an hour or so…

It didn’t..the power went off briefly..and the house was plunged into darkness at 7pm at night…I just remember the relentless rains and wind…and those sirens going all night..as Grandma and I I kept watch in the basment over the cats we could see.

The storm hung over the Twin Cities for a good ten hours….the meteorologists determined it was  a ‘training” storm…meaning the nasty weather kept developing over the same area over and over…leading to lots of flooding and wind damage..one person was killed as they pumped out their basment and a wall caved in on them..

Luckily, my Aunt made it home around Midnight…Grandma and I made it through the storm and were in bed when it finally calmed down….

I wrote an extra credit paper on the storm for my science class that fall and it helped me get a B in the class…

I think back to the night and that must have been how I began my fascination with weather..I am scared and fascinated by storms now….I also realize that God has mercy on me that night…There I was listening to the radio with my hands in dishwater while lightning flashed all around me.. I count that as the stupidest thing I ever did…I almost died so I can hear the song “Back in the Highlife Again”….I love the song but my life wasn’t worth it…

Both my Aunt and Grandma are gone now, the house has been sold and the kitchen remodled..so all that’s left of that night for me..are memories and that ominous sounding synth on “Back in the High Life”…

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