A farewell to Isaac. Nearly.

fishing dock at saracen lake pine bluff arkansas

The last vestiges (I thought at the time) of tropical depression Isaac are leaving town. The angry clouds on the horizon are his. Shot from the fishing dock of Saracen Lake, our downtown impoundment in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Isaac fooled us. He came back for a curtain call later that night.

We finally got some rain here in LA (lower Arkansas). Seems like we have had domino-sequence dry spells for the last two summers. In 2012, we never quite overcame the rainfall deficit we experienced in 2011, adding insult to injury.

view of storm outside window link to corndancer

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It was so dry, the state was considering a water pistol buy-back scheme. Before we go too much further, check out the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot com where this story started.

Then along comes Isaac inching his way from south Louisiana to the LA homeland. The original tracking put the “eye” just about over us. On the way, Isaac changed his mind and skewed west, a classic case of good news and bad news.

That put us on the east side of the donut, the roughest side of the storm. The counter-clockwise rotation of the storm sucks fresh moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and dumps it inland, mainly on the east side of the storm rotation. The good news is, you are finally going to get some rain.

Rural road covered with water

Saturday afternoon, September 1, I headed out looking for aftereffects of Isaac. I did not find much that was notable except perhaps for Clint Henderson Road, north of Humphrey, Arkansas. There were several stretches where water covered the road, all of which I negotiated in the faithful pickup. The road section above was the longest, but not the deepest. This section was six to eight inches deep. The deepest section I’m estimating was right at axle deep.

The bad news is it’s coming to you three ways: hard, fast, and continuous. And in the process you are going to take a drubbing. Fortunately by the time Isaac crossed into LA, he was a tropical depression rather than a tropical storm or a hurricane. That’s little consolation to someone who has three inches of water in his den. On the bright side, he still has a den.

Saturday afternoon, I was laboring under the delusion that Isaac was gone for good. I was driving around looking for Isaac aftereffects and did not find many. I did notice that most of the afternoon was marked with a stiff easterly wind. That should have been a clue.

ripe corn in stiff breeze

There was a stiff breeze from the east most of Saturday afternoon, as evidenced by the horizontal leaves and bending stalks of this harvest-ready corn in a field east of Altheimer, Arkansas. The wind was a harbinger of things to come.

This old Grapette sign adorns the north side of the now unoccupied Leake building in what’s left of downtown Altheimer, Arkansas. The old sign has been on my list for a while and I figured today was the day. Grapette was about the best tasting “cole-drank” ever made in my humble opinion. It originated in Camden, Arkansas. For far too long after the brand fell on hard times, the drink was not available. In recent years, Wal-Mart bought the recipe and rights to the name and now sells it in their stores.

The Leake building in Altheimer, Arkansas

This is the Leake building upon which you will find the Grapette sign. The building dates back to 1917. The last business in the structure was Rusty’s Package Store. “Package Store” is a term widely used in LA and throughout Arkansas to soft peddle the term “liquor store” to the general public, some of which “don’t believe in likker.”  Rusty’s last package left the store a long time ago.

Later that night, Isaac did an encore — with us being on the tail end of a storm line reaching from LA to northern Illinois and Indiana. He dumped hail and rain and hit us with some strong winds. Isaac, one of Mother Nature’s children, had the last laugh. But then, Her family always does.

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind