Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snowstorm Q and the JJ's Tragedy

I  have nearly pristine memories of certain snowstorms past, particularly the Blizzards of '93 and '94 in my West Virginia hometown.  Those two humdingers constituted true "Snowmageddons" to me, especially the perfect ice/snow 1994 monster.  Snowstorm Q here in KC brought a foot of snow but doesn't quite measure up, but there are familiar elements from those whiteout days of yore: thunder-snow; a state of emergency, the developing semi-truck graveyards on the interstates.  The Blizzard of '94 in West Virginia created jaw-dropping scenarios of tree-lined roads resembling great, glistening ice caverns, endless power outages and historic flooding.  Snowstorm Q is a mess for sure, but probably seems a bit extra shocking to us in KC after our balmy 2012 winter and thus-far mild winter this year.
If anything, this storm seems a heavy, gray extension of a challenging, somber week for Kansas City after the tragedy that occurred a couple of days ago.  JJ's, a beloved restaurant in the Country Club Plaza, was destroyed by a shocking gas explosion.  One person is dead, 16 were injured, the explosion is still under investigation and a favorite KC restaurant is leveled.  The actions of so many were quite heroic, from the restaurant employees who ushered their patrons out before the explosion to the firemen who arrived quickly on the scene and worked tirelessly to ensure the fire didn't spread.  JJ's was a destination restaurant known and loved by many KC residents for its Zagat-rated cuisine and Wine Spectator-awarded wine list.  I had not yet been, but JJ's was on my long list of places that I looked forward to visiting.  We have friends who lunched earlier at JJs on that same fateful day and one of the seriously injured is one of the owners of the Atlas in Excelsior Springs and is known by many residents there.  The one person who died is believed to be a JJ's server, who was also a founder of an LGBT support group at UMKC.  It has been heartbreaking to see the images of that horrific fire unfold.

My own anxiety has been a blanket as thick and deep as today's snow of late, but tragedies like this are yet another unfortunate wake-up call to remind me to count my blessings and keep my loved ones close.  I had a medical procedure scheduled for today but that was canceled due to the winter storm, so Keith and I got to have a rare snow day.  I'm thankful to be home with him; safe and warm during this snowstorm.  There's a crackling fire in the fireplace and Keith has whipped up a comforting lunch of tomato soup and grilled cheese with gouda and cheddar.  I'm sipping a cup of Willow Spring Mercantile's Hazelnut Cream coffee with a dollop of cousin Jill's awesome homemade vanilla sugar while reading an interview with the JJ's owner who is promising to rebuild. I'm grateful for all of my family and friends and that they are also safe and warm.  Stay safe out there, folks.

 My thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by the tragic fire at JJ's.


Anonymous said...

Snowmageddon '94. I remember it all too well. First time I ever saw thundersnow and I was awestruck. It was beautiful but the damage incurred by those two back to back storms was frightening. My thoughts and prayers go out to the owners, staff and loyal patrons of JJ's and especially to the family of the deceased. I cannot imagine what that family of co workers must be feeling right now. What I do know (mostly via personal recollections and stories from you and my friends in KC) is that you folk are made of tough stuff out there. Its that midwest never say die, never give up attitude that will pull everyone through both this heinous beast of a storm and the tragedy at JJ's once again. Stay warm. Stay safe. And know that all of you have an entire state many miles east of you sending as much positivity as we can muster. We been there, done that and we are with ya. ~ Kristy

Confounded Cook said...

Thank you, Tofu. You are true blue.

Sarah said...

Great post! Jim and I are having a similar day - comfort food, the fireplace going, trying a new recipe (greek yogurt herbed biscuits!) along with old standbys (my venison chili) and watching the dogs play in the snow. We agree that this storm, while definitely a traffic-snarler, wasn't insurmountable; were you living in KC for the ice storm of 2002? While travel wasn't impossible (in fact it was just warm enough the roads weren't bad), many of my friends and coworkers were without power for a week plus. We went about 36 hours. I stayed with coworkers (slumber party, no work!) then my uncle.

Confounded Cook said...

Thank you, Sarah. We actually moved here in 2003, so have as of yet not experienced one of KC's historic ice storms. I've heard many stories. And, please...share the recipe for those greek yogurt biscuits..they sound delicious!

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