Karl Terry: Recent hail battering no comparison to ’84 storm

By Karl Terry
Guest Columnist

Like many others in my neighborhood,  it looks like I’ll be getting a new roof, thanks to our recent hailstorm.

In case my insurance agent is reading this, I want him to know this is the first roof claim I’ve had in 30 years. But it doesn’t matter, 30 years ago I had a different home, a different agent and lived in a different town.

The storm the other day got pretty noisy before it was over, with really hard hailstones bouncing off windows and hammering vent pipes, but it was nothing compared to the storm we went through in 1984 in Tucumcari.

It came in late spring on a warm evening. We knew a storm was brewing but we had no idea what we were in for that day. Our first clue was a phone call from my wife’s mother who reported they were getting really big hail at their house half a mile southwest of us.

I stepped out on the front porch with the cordless phone and reported that our sidewalk was bone dry. About that time I began to hear banging noises on the next block over and an eerie roar in the distance.

About that time also a hail stone the size of a baseball sizzled through the cedar tree in our front yard sounding like a Scotty Beevers’ fastball applied to a baseball with a slightly torn cover. (Scotty was a childhood friend who hung out with me because I was the only one he could get to catch his infamous high-kick fastball.)

I think I almost said a bad word while on the phone there with my mother-in-law as I quickly ducked inside the house and watched the storm pass.

It didn’t last long, but when it was over, there was no doubt we would be getting a new roof. Hail stones that split cedar shingles are serious business.

The insurance adjuster cut me a check and said I was on my own. I had a plan to pay for some much-needed insulation for that 1940s-era home. I would get my buddy, who did roofing with his dad in the summer, to come over and help me replace the roof. I would save enough to buy the insulation.

My buddy told me tearing the wood shingles off that house might be quite a bit of work but he showed me how to get started and told me he would come back and we would knock it out in a weekend if I could get most of the tear-off done.

I thought of myself as pretty young and healthy about that time but that roof ate my sack lunch. The old house had a high steep roof and those wood shingles were slick as glass but I eventually conquered the fear and was able to carry shingle bundles up the ladder and on to the top.

We finished the job on the second weekend and saved enough for the insulation. I believe that same roof is on that house today. Before I was done I had added roofing to the list of things I would never do again.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: karlterry@yucca.net

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