On February 7, 2008--a scant ten months after the Colonel and his lady (the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda) planted their flag on the last place they will ever live in this world--a tornado tore through the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere. It destroyed homes, rearranged the landscape, and scattered neighbors belongings along the two mile stretch of country road at the end of which the Colonel's vast holdings sit. While the Colonel's home was spared all but relatively superficial damage, many of his tools and belongings that had been strategically placed in the last place he used them turned up missing.
Over the next weeks and months, the Colonel patrolled the grounds of his vast holdings picking up litter and finding many items tossed hither and yon by the twister. The Colonel found the wheel to his wheelbarrow down near Lake Brenda. But, alas, no barrow.
The Colonel plotted the supposed trajectory of the airborne wheelbarrow from its last known resting place adjacent to the last place it was used, drawing a line connecting the last known resting place adjacent to the last place it was used and the position of the found wheel. Allowing for wind shift and the Coriolis effect, the Colonel then plotted a cone of probability under which the wheelessbarrow would have precipitated from the twister's winds. The placid surface area of Lake Brenda occupies the vast majority of the area under the cone of wheelessbarrow precipitation probability. The ever-widening area within the cone of wheelessbarrow precipitation probability down range of the far side of Lake Brenda was grid-searched without result--excepting multiple scratches incurred during a thorough investigation of a large and labyrinthine briar patch.
The Colonel, summoning synaptic connections not used since the first year of the Reagan Administration, therefore deduced, after lengthy calculations rivalling that used to plot Apollo 13's free return lunar orbital burn, that the wheelessbarrow precipitated into the deeper, out-of-sight reaches of Lake Brenda. The Colonel considered putting out to sea in his boat and dragging the lake for the errant wheelessbarrow. Then, the Colonel remembered that this is Mississippi. Seeing someone dragging bodies of water around here makes the sheet and pillow case crowd a tad edgy.
So, the Colonel gave up on ever recovering the barrow and reuniting it with its wheel.
Last July, as the daily high temps soared well north of the century mark on Herr Fahrenheit's scale, it ceased raining here at the shallow northern end of deep southern nowhere. For the past three months it has been drier than a forgotten pot roast. Daily, the surface level of Lake Brenda dropped visibly, exposing greater and greater swaths of shoreline and making the sheet and pillow case crowd hereabouts increasingly edgy.
And then this week there was, poking above the surface of Lake Brenda like the nub of the Lady of the Lake's Excalibur-sliced arm, a form that looked for all the world like the handle of a wheelbarrow. The Colonel donned his chest waders and waded out to investigate. It wasn't the Lady of the Lake's Excaliburless arm.
Unfortunately, the ravages of tornadic precipitation and multi-year immersion left the wheelessbarrow irreparable. It will, sadly for it, given the horrible experiences it endured, live out the rest of its life as either a rustic planter or a fish shelter.
Some things that tornado did will never be undone.