Pat Shingleton: "Flying Checks and the Roller..."
On April 11, 1991 a canceled check was sucked up by tornado in Stockton, Kansas. It was carried 223 miles to Robert Melcher’s farm near Winnetoon, Nebraska. Years ago, John Knox, an associate professor of geography at the University of Georgia, conducted research on how debris is carried by twisters to better understand the intricacies of this weather phenomenon. Knox and his students categorized items by weight such as a Hackleburg, Alabama high school cheer leading jacket that flew 66 miles to Elkmont, Alabama, during a tornado outbreak. On April 27, 2011, more than 120 tornadoes caused 300 deaths across the South and retrieved items were compared to the direction of the storms. Regardless of weight, researchers determined that most of the debris fell slightly left of the storm’s track. I reminisced recently after smelling fresh, cut grass. It reminded me of our residence in Western Pennsylvania. Until our mom's death, her property was maintained with a Spring and Fall leaf clean-up and regular cutting through the spring and summer. Most lawns in that section of the country incur damage from the winter weather and her property can be damaged due to access to her back door. I vividly remember her mentioning, "Patrick, there's lots of 'ruts' in the yard but we can get out the 'roller' to mend those." Imagine a 3-foot-long cement tube, 2 feet in diameter. Stick a pipe in it, fill it with concrete, attach a metal brace to the pipe, encased cement. Finish the construction by attaching a 5 foot 2 by 4 to the brace with a horizontal handle to push and pull the roller. This was constructed in the 1920s and was always propped against our garage and used by our father, grandfather, and us.... to "roll the yard." The roller worked and caused numerous hernias.