It was around lunch time and I was running an errand with Co-Worker Bill to pick up flowers for Secretary's Day at Fresh Market on Airport. The sky was already turning ugly shades of gray and dark blue and neither of us wanted to be on Airport Road longer than necessary in the coming storms due to the history of the road and tornadoes. We arrived at the flower-shop corner of the store about an hour earlier than expected but the lady behind the counter was more than understanding. It would take another 20 minutes or so for her to finish so we wandered around the store a little. That's when I saw (and tweeted) the Sausage Pig. I think this is the first example of "meta" food I've ever seen. It's both obvious and unexpected. It's crazy, man.
Just as I really starting to enjoy the many facets of the Sausage Pig we heard some noise from the front of the store. Workers were gather around the automated sliding doors and there was some excited shouts and motion. The wind was picking up and in the parking lot little manic dust devils were rampaging through the landscaping, tossing mulch and loose leaves across the asphalt. It was only mildly alarming until the wind sent a garbage can skidding down the sidewalk and then the workers were shutting and locking the doors and pulling a few folks off the sidewalk and back into the store.
And that's how I became acquainted with the “employees only” back room of Fresh Market. It looked pretty much like all the behind-the-scenes back areas of I've ever been in, except a little cleaner and full of bread. The manager unlocked the walk-in refrigerator and it became apparent that the ten or so other customers, just as many workers, Co-Worker Bill and I would soon be stuffed into the walk-in like so many garlic loafs. The manager herded us closer to the open door as he and a subordinate pulled more karts of baked goods out. I glanced around at the other people, weighing my options in regards to whom I would rather be pressed up against in the fridge.
But it never came to that and we were soon released back into the world. Here's the view as we headed back to work.
A few hours and as many calls home later and I was on the road again, racing ahead of the second cluster of angry orange and yellow patches on the Doppler radar. I made it back to the wife and kids as the rain started to bombard the house. We were out of power, the internet was down, but the phone was still working. We spent the rest of the day with the purple light from the storm clouds dimly lighting the house until the sun set and had to use candles and flashlights to dodge the furniture.
Esther and I sat in the car with radio on to keep ourselves updated on the weather. As we listened we heard the names of the towns were people we know and love live and we hoped they were safe. It seemed like every place we had ever visited, every spot we had taken mini-vacations or had any connection to was in the direct path of trouble; our entire range of normal travel from Birmingham to Murfreesboro. Eventually the final storm cell passed, the voices on the radio gave the all clear and we went to bed entirely too early in our too-quiet house.