Since I was a kid growing up in Martin County, I have been excited to hear stories about hail. Hail is really the closest thing to snow down in these parts. I remember once, in the 1970s, when our family lived at 109 Edgewood Drive, in Stuart, it hailed and we kids ran outside and collected it in our sweaty palms dumping it into Tupperware that ended up in the freezer. Those hail pieces sat in there for years, and every now and then we would climb on a squeaky high chair, when mom wasn’t looking, and take the cold frozen memory out, just to revel. Amazing! As a kid, I never knew what else to do with the hail, and in time, I’m sure my mother removed it to make room for ice cream.
As I got older and my mother’s local history books were being published. I was struck by one photograph of the 1934 Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart overflowing with hail -looking like, yes,- like a snowstorm had come!
In this photo by Frances Carlberg King in “Stuart on the St. Lucie: A Pictorial History” by Sandra Henderson Thurlow, hail covers the old Roosevelt Bridge on Feb. 10, 1934. A hailstorm covered Stuart with ice, creating street scenes that some say looked like “someplace up North.”
Hail, though it can be destructive is a novelty, one to be appreciated, even celebrated.
Just last Sunday, April 19, 2020, month two coronavirus containment, it stormed wildly and hailed in south Sewall’s Point. The noise on our metal roof was deafening! Right after, I ran out and collected the hail pieces just like I had when I was a kid. The air was so chilly! My bare feet were cold against the deck and wet earth. Somehow, the whole thing was exhilarating!
When I brought my hail inside, I quickly put the bowl in the freezer and looked for my husband, Ed.
“Ed! Come look! I collected some hail!”
There was silence for a bit, and then I heard him slowly ask, “what are you going to do with it Jacqui ?” Ed grew up in Chicago so ice is not so unusual.
“I have a surprise!”
That evening after dinner, I said, “I recommend we do something special with this hail. I think we should make real cocktails with it, you know, like the kinds from the 1950s? And then, we are going to toast Mother Nature.”
Ed laughed and we did just that, “for the hail of it!”