The Sand Storm
“THE SAND STORM”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
Our daughter, Kay, was about three months old when Clara and I decided it was time to show her off to her maternal relatives who lived way out in west Texas, namely Lamesa and Plainview. That is quite a long trek from San Augustine, especially with a three month old baby. Nevertheless, it seemed the right thing to do at the time.
I had recently purchased a small foreign car, a Vauxhall, which squeezed out thirty-five miles per gallon. Although it was small, it was dependable and thrifty. We had room for the three of us, plus a car bed, and some luggage. Clara lived the first five years of her life around Plainview and was knowledgeable about the terrain and weather. I had never been out to the flatlands before. So, in the fall of 1959 we began our journey out west. I had often heard a saying that is true, “The sun has risen and the sun has set, and here I am in Texas yet.”
The trip was uneventful until the weather began to drastically change before we got to Snyder, Texas. Within an hour the sun was hidden behind a cloud of red dust, and the wind began blowing hard enough to make my small car difficult to keep between the white lines on the highway. I became concerned. Clara advised me that we were getting into a sand storm, that they did not last long, and just keep on trucking. Well, what did I know about sand storms?
The wind mixed with sand got worse. I worried that the paint job on my new blue car would be damaged, ever heard of sand blasting? Then, I was concerned that the sand would get into my engine somehow. “Honey, shouldn’t we pull off under some cover somewhere and wait this out?”, I wondered out loud. She assured me that west Texas sand storms did not last long, and it would be over in a short time.
We found a closed service station in Snyder, so I pulled the car under the canopy and decided to wait the storm out. We fed Kay, watched the sand building up like small dunes on the road, and waited. After an hour or so, it appeared that the wind was subsiding. “See, I told you that it would blow over”, Clara reminded me. So, we decided to get back on the road. Unfortunately, the wind got back on the road as well.
We finally made it to her aunt’s house in Lamesa. The storm was still raging as we found refuge in her house. “How long do these storms generally last?”, I inquired of the natives. “Some of them last for several days”, Clara’s aunt responded. She proved to be right. The next morning the storm was still with us. It finally stopped after two days and nights leaving sand everywhere. “Welcome to west Texas”, my newly found relatives chided. “It’s fine, I suppose, however I prefer the tall pine trees, rolling hills, lakes, and tornadoes over the flat, treeless, plains of this part of Texas”, I responded.
However, I still do not trust Clara’s weather forecasting, especially the sand storms.