Pat Shingleton: "Pants on the Ground and Returning Trees..."
We referred to our mother’s cousin as “Uncle Sam” Biggins and enjoyed visits to his farm. I still picture him with a load of tobacco in his cheek, walking bowlegged to his barn to climb a tractor or bridle a horse.
Often I visit with young lads that remind me of Uncle Sam. I inquire if the “position” of their britches made them a tad cooler. A few noted that wearing jeans, south of the waist, did provide some cooling.
With a hand on his belt, I questioned one fellow as to the difficulty in strolling “bowlegged” during the heat of the day. He said he maneuvered a little slower as I assumed less energy exertion made him a little cooler. The Associated Press noted that on May 25, 1955 an intense tornado struck Udall, Kansas. The twister killed 77, leveled the city and remains the deadliest tornado in the state’s history.
Jerrold Hoffman was a survivor of the storm and championed an effort to aid another Kansas town that was also ravaged. In May 2008, another tornado killed 10 and destroyed Greensburg destroying most of the town’s buildings; uprooting and killing 2,000 trees. What started as a one-day project by the 72-year-old Hoffman, has turned into a tree-planting project.
He solicited residents, and retirees to assist in circling the city with trees. He notes that it took many years for Udall to have full, healthy trees following their storm.
Today the town has returned to its original picturesque status.