Mar 8, 2007
Do they give tornadoes names as they do tropical storms? We'd like to propose the name Tappin for the tornado that we recently dodged in Alabama.
"Tappin the Land Turtle" is an African-American fable about a turtle whose family was hungry because times were so hard. But he noticed that the uppity eagle had plenty of food for his babies. So he asked the eagle about this, and enlisted the eagle's help in finding more food. But when he incurred the eagle's displeasure, he ended up on a magical adventure that brought him even more abundance than he'd anticipated.
It's a tale that goes back to the days of slavery and incorporates several reminders of that era: the hunger, the separation of "higher" and "lower" classes (the turtle and the eagle) and the dream of a life of plenty, symbolized bt the cornucopia-like dipper. In some versions of the story, Tappin returns to the Sea King and receives an enchanted cowhide, which, as it turns out, whips everyone (like the overseer on a plantation) and causes the markings on Tappin's shell, like those on every turtle thereafter.
We thought about this story because we were rather like a turtle ourselves when the tornado whipped through. We'd just performed a couple of shows in Ozark, AL., and heard that severe storms were on the way. Keeping abreast of the developments by listening to the radio, we realized that the twister would bypass us, but we could get hit by hail. So we took refuge under the canopy of a car wash--our own turtle shell. (But we weren't the only ones who got this idea.)
We were thoroughly impressed by the work done by the staff of local radio station KMX, who handled the crisis calmly and efficiently, providing up-to-the-minute information and putting in some very long hours. Visit the station's website for the local take on the disaster, and some information about how you can contribute to relief efforts.
We also talk about Dr. George Washington Carver, a former slave who settled in Alabama and became one of the world's great scientists, despite not even obtaining a high school education until his twenties. How many products did Dr. Carver derive from the peanut? The answer may astonish you!
And be the first to hear the news about an upcoming Roller Coaster Tycoon project that Zephyr is working on for the web site.
Dennis (Eagle/King), Kimberly (Narrator) and Zephyr (Tappin) Goza