It’s a rare event for blizzard conditions to exist anywhere in Oklahoma, but they did on the evening of December 24, 2009. Here’s some images and data from the event.
I am ‘stoked’.
I am as wired with adrenaline and anticipatory excitement as a 6 year old kid on Christmas Eve.
It’s a nervous kind of excitement, and I experience it only a few times in my life. This will be the 33rd time to be exact.
I’m going to see KISS play the BOK Arena in Tulsa tonight. This will be my 34th KISS concert since November, 26, 1977.
In years past, I traveled to countless cities to see them on various tours; Oklahoma City, Dallas, Fort Worth, Wichita, Topeka, Little Rock, and more. But this has been a long time coming. KISS has not played Tulsa since the Hot In The Shade tour of the spring of 1990. Nineteen and a half years is a long time to wait for your favorite band to return to your hometown. I’m not looking at a 600 mile roundtrip that has to be made in one day due to time and work restraints. So, I’m stoked…thrilled…and will be experiencing the showmanship of the world’s greatest rock band with my daughter tonight. This will be her third KISS concert (actually, five if you count the two my wife attended with me while she was still pregnant with her) and she’s stoked too. The special part is not only seeing KISS and Gene Simmons in particular, but sharing with her a music phenomenon that has meant so much to me since 1976. One of the coolest thing about a KISS concert is the unity of all the people that attend. We all know what we’re there for & all share the same excitement and anticipation. We all know we’re a sort of “outsiders” group of rock fans, yet the band we’ve come to see is probably one of the most influential rock bands in all music. A great night lies ahead…and I’ll have my princess beside me to share the experience.
It seemed like just another school day in the eighth grade at Nimitz Jr. High on December 5, 1975. I had the usual run of classes & teachers that I liked, and others that were simply tolerated. It was basically a run-of-the-mill day until I got into my science class. Of course, being in science class interested me anyway but what really caught my eye were the number of towering cumulus I could see outside. Otherwise known (in Latin, where most cloud names originated) as cumulus congestus. For early December, this was unusual. After getting home from school, I grabbed my trusty transistor radio, my Oklahoma county map that I used to document storms, warnings, etc. on with colored pencils, my binoculars, and that Kodak 110 Instamatic camera I took so many of my first cloud photos with. I headed out into the backyard and waited. The storms seemed to be building off to my east. Before long, I heard something that caught me totally by surprise. A Tornado Warning had been issued for Tulsa county. At that time, radar was not always reliable in detecting the ‘hook echo’ indicating a tornadic storm. Also, it was the norm for a tornado warning to be issued only after a tornado had been confirmed to be ‘one the ground.’ I knew that my view to the northeast would be unobstructed from my bedroom so I ran upstairs and looked out. Several miles to the northeast I could see the off-white ghostly color of the upper portion of the tornado. At that time it was probably close to entering the mature stage of it’s lifecycle. Did my camera work? No. Film jammed or something and I didn’t get a photo. But for at least three minutes I had a clear view of my first tornado. Needless to say, I was transfixed and fascinated. Fortunately, there we no fatalities, but around 35 injuries resulted from the tornado. Two days later, I went to the area to look at the damage and was amazed at what I saw. Those photos still exist and, though of poor quality compared to today’s cameras, they’re some of my most treasured photos. It was an amazing and unexpected experience, especially to have occurred twenty days before Christmas! Perhaps the most difficult realization is how quickly the years have passed. Thirty-four years. Where did the time go? And, in the process of becoming a ‘responsible, mature adult’, what happened to the wide-eyed awe and wonder I used to possess? I think it’s there somewhere, buried under the burdens of my current state of existence. But at least I have the memories of that day…and can do my best to resurrect the feelings of wonder about the universe we live in.