Monday, February 6, 2012

Reflections countdown... bat in CD's house

Last February I counted down the days until March 1st by posting one overlooked photo each day. Most in the weather community are aware by now that the world of storm chasing lost an amazing person on Saturday evening, when Andy Gabrielson was killed in a head on collision on the Oklahoma Turnpike. When I first read the text message informing me that he had been killed I had the initial moment of "no, that certainly can't be right." followed by a huge wave of sadness upon realizing that the dude really was gone, and how different things would be this spring. I began texting one of my closest friends in storm chasing, and really more of a brother, Colin Davis, about the situation. Ultimately, what the accident made me do was spend the rest of the night reflecting on all the great times I spent with my friends while on the chase. Every day really is a miracle, and you should take advantage of every moment that you get to spend with your loved ones.

I thought an interesting way to expand on the entire reflection idea was to actually go back and write about some of these more memorable moments. So, for every day until we finally hit March, I'll be posting a stupid little story that has stuck with me over the years. Essentially I'm telling you to enjoy reading three weeks worth of inside jokes.

On August 17 2004, I rode along with Colin Davis, Scott Kampas, and Dennis DeBourbon on a marginal day in NW Illinois. We were almost suckered into Iowa but held local and eventually chased a couple of supercells that produced decent lowerings but never came overly close to producing a tornado. After dark, more thunderstorms began popping up so once we returned to Colin's place in Canton we got the cameras back out to film the light show. We were informed upon heading into the house that a bat had entered the place. This was the second bat in a week for them, actually. I of course, got the camera back out and began filming the bat swooping around the kitchen before it bolted for the doorway I was standing in and put me on my back. Colin was standing in the next doorway and had the bat swoop around him a couple of times before flying up the stairs to the second floor.

After crouching on the floor with the bat flying laps for another minute or so the bat finally flew into the bathroom where Colin was able to trap it. One of my all-time favorite dialogue exchanges happens now between Colin and Denny. Dennis was rambling about needing to come up with a plan and that we were just moving it around the house. He began telling us to get a battle plan or let us play with it all night, and then replied with "because I don't like bats" when asked why he doesn't help with the plan. Colin then mumbles something else back about him just letting us work on it, before getting "Oh yeah, sounds like you've got a great plan" from Denny, to which he replies "Oh yeah, better than yours, 'I don't like bats!'" I wish I had the video available on a format where I could throw it online or something, because I know the 'you had to be there' aspect of the story doesn't help, and me conveying it thru text isn't helping any.

Eventually, we were able to get the bathroom window open and coaxed it to fly out while I filmed from behind the toilet.

Anyway, I can already tell that this idea is going to be a lot of me laughing as I type old stories, while you decide to stop reading this blog until I get back to posting legitimate storm chasing posts.

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