Monday, October 17, 2011

Red out

10/17/11 Monday

I’ve seen blackouts, and endured whiteouts up north when the snow blew so hard you couldn’t see five feet in front of you. I think I’ll call what I just drove through on the way home from the prison a red out. While we were at the prison teaching the “Quest for Authentic Manhood” class a storm blew in. We heard a rumbling sound that almost sounded like thunder, except it was constant. Looking out the prison window we saw a red sky full of blowing sand. Everything got dark as it thickened and soon the guard came in to shut down the class. All the inmates were ordered back to their cells and the prison was put on lockdown. I knew it was a serious storm then. We headed back out through security and made the very sandy dash to our vehicles. I had to use both hands to get the door to my truck closed against the wind.

Sitting in the truck I called Cherie as it rocked back and forth in the intense wind. “Is it blowing there yet?” I asked. “Of course it’s blowing” she replied, because the wind always blows out there, so I explained about the storm that was heading her way. She went out and checked for things that might blow away and I headed home.

It was a long drive home. Visibility at times was so bad I couldn’t see the end of the hood on the truck. Part of the drive was spent going five miles an hour as I strained to see the white line that marked the side of the road. Whenever possible I would go faster but it was a little scary. Lots of oil field tanker trucks were on the road, as they always are out here, but they were moving slowly with hazard lights flashing. Despite being intimately familiar with the road home I had to creep up to where I knew the stop sign was because it wasn’t visible till I was feet away. Cherie had all the lights in the house on because she knew I would have a hard time finding the house. I still had to creep along the side of the road to try and find our driveway and almost drove past it.

Boy, is it good to be home. Even walking from the truck to the front door, a journey of about 20 feet, had me covered with a layer of sand. I took a washcloth and wiped as much of it off as I could but I’ll have to take a shower. Sand is everywhere, in my eyes, teeth, and when I blew my nose I thought I had a serious nosebleed till I identified it as sand.

It’s always good to see the guys at the prison. And they generally are glad to see me too. I was greeted warmly when I walked in and some pulled me off to the side to ask advice or talk about issues they were dealing with.

That’s all for now. I’m tired and looking forward to some sleep.

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