Saturday, February 23, 2008

Not in Kansas anymore

Don't you hate those "this is why I haven't posted in forever" blog posts? Well, this is one of those posts, more or less.

It was the week of Super Tuesday that derailed me — a week of high drama on many fronts (and I don't mean the Survivor Fans vs. Favorites premiere). I was dispatched to Oxford, Miss., for the week to cover a double-murder trial that had been moved from a neighboring county — plenty of drama in and of itself, but the week proved to be a whirlwind — literally — of other big news.

No offense to the Oxonians, but my foremost thought whenever I am in the town where I attended "Ole Miss" back in the early to mid-'90s is usually, "When can I leave?" And on Super Tuesday, after a full day on a stiff court bench, I had no intention of venturing out and missing coverage of a presidential race that is perhaps the most interesting I'll see in my lifetime.

But nothing much went as planned that week. As promised, storms were brewing as I arrived back at the luxurious Days Inn, and, as I began pecking out the day's trial news on my laptop, the tornado sirens began to blare. While I never saw more than darkly threatening skies above my picturesque view of a covered swimming pool, an EF-3 tornado was blowing through just north of town, upending some people's lives while I contemplated what I might have for dinner. Other tornados hit Memphis and Jackson in Tennessee, and an EF-1 tornado passed just a few miles west of my home base in Corinth, Miss. (you can see the storm tracks here; look towards the bottom for Oxford and toward the right for Corinth). It was a crazy night of switching back and forth between hysterical Super Tornado and Super Tuesday coverage and a frenzy of phone calls with family and friends.

I left Oxford on Friday with an improbably hung jury (11-1) and a weariness that has only begun to lift in the past week or so. Stepping away from the blog for a few weeks has probably been a good thing, anyway. I don't know where Toto is, but I'm ready to roll again.

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