... in the distance? Are our 40 days and 40 nights done with yet? A few days of sunshine are in the forecast, according to this morning's National Weather Service forecast, but the weather map --- hanging on until 7 a.m. from overnight --- had Iowa as fully covered in as big a patchwork quilt of bad weather as I've seen: Severe thunderstorm watches (down here), tornado watches farther north, flash flood warnings, flash flood watches and flood warnings over at least 80 percent of the state and "hazardous weather outlooks" elsewhere.
With temperatures in the 90s and humidity levels at dizzying heights I finally holed up inside late yesterday afternoon with the air conditioning running full blast --- and didn't enjoy the experience. It'll be good to be out under the sun again.
While farmers have a good deal to legitimately complain about, the rest of us really don't. So what if the lawn is out of control and the weeds are running rampant? That can be dealt with in fairly short order. Others elsewhere haven't been so lucky. I've been looking at some photos forwarded by a cousin who is a native of Billings, Montana, hit by a tornado Sunday. Montana has been experiencing summer storms of an intensity unusual there, so it's just an odd year all over.
Riding west as a passenger Monday evening in a downpour after a South Central Chapter meeting at Trinity Church in Ottumwa, we watched the rolling black western clouds part in second-coming style over the hills beyond and sun backed by bright blue edged in white break through. Quite a sight. But I didn't see a dove with an olive leaf in its beak fly through the gap, so guess we'll just have to wait and see.
I've for the most part finished the roster of Lucas County's World War II dead, started a couple of months ago, and will be updating fairly soon the post that contains that information, then rechecking the data and eventually putting it in final form here and elsewhere The final toll right now stands at 50, although not all of these soldiers, sailors and Marines died in combat. A few died in accidents or other non-combat causes --- one at Coney Island amusement park the day before he was to begin advanced training; another of appendicitis at Yocom Hospital here in Chariton while home on furlough just after basic.
But in those days more than 60 years ago of gold stars and daily reckoning, any death while in military service was honored, so this new list follows that precedent. There also are others who could be added to the list because they were born here or attended school here and I'm still thinking about some of those.
I'll move on from here gradually through World War I, where the total loss was not as great, and to the Civil War, where the losses were far greater.
The remains of the latest Iowan to die in Afghanistan, in this case of non-combat causes, came home to Cresco earlier this week. Altogether more than 70 young Iowans have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001, but none so far from Lucas County. I wish I could come up with something wise and perceptive to say about all of this, but I can't.