Friday, October 29, 2010

Mules Run Over River Road

River Road beat Muleshoe last year, so there might have been a score to settle, but I don’t think that is why the score was so lopsided-Mules 72, River Road 16. The Mules were by far the better team. We invaded the end zone first, and it was not until the fourth quarter that the Wildcats  managed to run one in and make their two-point conversion. They had been throwing some nice, long passes all night but never seemed to be able to get any points out of them.  Later they managed one more touchdown, but weren’t successful with another two points.

Muleshoe, on the other hand,  just scored their little hearts out. We made nice touchdowns but couldn’t buy extra points until the second quarter, missing five attempts.  After that we managed to make it six times.

We pretty much dominated the game. Eric Orozco scored first, followed by Joey Ramirez, Cooper Washington twice in a row, Juan Sanchez twice in a row, Saul Elizalde, Ryan DeLeon, Eric Orozco again, Juan Sanchez again, and Ray Martinez. The scoring went like this: first quarter score 12-0; second quarter  32-0; third quarter 51-0; fourth quarter 72-16. And even if all their names didn’t make my write-up this week, the whole team did a great job. Washington quarterbacked till the fourth quarter, and Beau Avila finished up the game in that position.

The game was over long before the buzzer sounded, but when Isaias Guerra intercepted one last pass with 33 seconds left, we let the play clock run out. To their credit, even though they looked a bit sloppy with their shirttails flopping in the breeze, River Road showed some class and didn’t give up until that last 33 seconds and saw it to the end, unlike that team we played last week.

After the game there weren’t many fans left to hear the same school song played by both bands. River Road didn’t come with too many fans, and too many Muleshoe fans left after half time and then really left during the fourth quarter. The wind made it seem colder than the 57 degrees it really was, and I guess since the game was not in jeopardy at that point, the cold won out and people left. But Coach Wood-with the Mohawk haircut the team was allowed to give him after last week’s victory cleanly shaved off- he and his Mules were pumped to the very end.

Next Friday is the extended road trip to Childress for the last regular season game. Hope to see you there.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Joe Bob Stevenson 1944-2010


Joe Bob Stevenson took us all by surprise when he rode off into the sunset October 7. He had gone through by-pass surgery and we all thought everything was going to be all right.  But it wasn’t. I could tell you all the information from his obituary again, but then, if you wanted that, you would just read the obituary. What I would rather tell you is Joe Bob stories, two of which I have already told about in earlier blog posts, in the elevator story -(Don’t you get bored just riding an elevator all day?- High Rise Condo or Grain Elevator? October 16, 2009) and the one about double names (Mr. Bob, here is that information you asked for.-What’s Your Given Name? December 16, 2009.

I remember my first impression of Joe Bob when we first moved here in 1980. We would go to the Muleshoe Country Club for an evening out sometimes, and in would come this quiet, starched, neat as a pin cowboy. He would order a drink and then sit down to an on-going conversation, listening more than talking, adding a comment here and there. And then as quietly as he had come in, he would silently slip away and travel to Clovis, as I later found out,  to court Sheila and eventually marry her.

Joe Bob worked as a bookkeeper for King Feedyard and King Grain for more than 25 years. The office was always a meeting place for farmers and friends, but when the weather would misbehave or the crops were in the there was nothing pressing to do, they would wind up there for a “board meeting.” Joe Bob would preside over the gathering: out would come the company bottle of Crown Royal, the board members would get comfortable,  and the local news would be passed around. Men don’t gossip, of course, they just call it news, and that along with funny stories and the latest jokes would be savored along with the drinks.

When Max’s sons hit the teen years and the sowing of their wild oats was in progress, Kevin, Brett, and Lance would manage to show up from time to time and weasel a little gas out of the company pump which was all well and good. But on occasion a bottle of Crown Royal would disappear out of   the case, too. Joe Bob would have to tell them, “Fellas, the gas we can cover; it’s only a dollar a gallon, but that Crown Royal costs $80 a gallon.” I don’t think that ever stopped them, though.

Joe Bob and I shared a love of horses, but we didn’t share a love of cheese. For me, a day without cheese is a day without sunshine. For Job Bob, cheese was just a nuisance. He would order a hamburger and then get peeved when the wait person would always ask if he wanted cheese on that. He would tilt his head and grit his teeth and say, “If I had wanted a cheeseburger, I would have ordered a cheeseburger.” When I called  recently to ask them over to help us try out a new recipe, his response to me was, “What are we having, cheese and what?” and then just chuckled.  And-no surprise to Joe Bob-cheese was in the recipe…

The best cheese story, though, is the one that goes way back to his bachelor days when he and several others were still sowing their wild oats and spent many a Saturday night making their way home in the wee small hours from Clovis after a night of honky-tonking. This particular night they were in need of solid food in their tummies and stopped at a convenience store for something to snack on. The group made the mistake of sending Joe Bob into the store. He rummaged around a bit and finally started making his way to the check-out counter when they realized what this non-cheese eater picked out for them. “Oh, NO- He’s buying Velveeta!” I don’t know about you, but Velveeta would not be my snacking cheese of choice, especially after partying all night. But they made it home to tell the story, so I guess they made it do.

I’m sure there are other Joe Bob stories; anyone who knew him has one. But I will leave you with one more glimpse into his quiet humor. We had a super bowl party last year and one of the gimmicks was to watch an ad, I forget for which company, with 3-D glasses, which I dutifully located. So when the time for the ad came, we all donned the glasses and looked like throwbacks from the 1950s and got absolutely nothing exceptional out of the ad. What we did get a kick out of, however, was looking at Joe Bob sitting very seriously with his 3-D glasses waiting for something spectacular to happen. It was fun.


We would have all gone to see the new movie about Secretariat together. Joe Bob and I would have enjoyed it more than our spouses, but we would all have had a good time.

Godspeed, Joe Bob.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Pleasure of Payback: Muleshoe 43-Littlefield 8

The air was crisp and clear; the moon was full; the stands were packed; the teams were anxious. Tonight would be a classic example of Texas high school football at its best: two small West Texas towns that have been football rivals forever,  playing for what should be the deciding game in the race for district champ with two games left in the regular season.

Coach David Wood said it would be the spread against old school-the running game that Littlefield has used for, gosh, the last thirty or forty years. The spread won. And won big. And could have won even bigger except that the Littlefield coach chose to let the clock run out for the last 1:22 of the game, literally let the clock run down; both teams just stood there and waited for the scoreboard to show zeros.

We score early in the first quarter when Cooper Washington runs the ball in, and it was obvious the Mules are pumped. Soon after, however, Littlefield scores but doesn’t connect on the two-point conversion attempt, so the score is 7-6. But that’s okay because on the play right after the kick-off Isaac Baca runs 80 yards for another touchdown. But then the Mules two-point attempt  is blocked, Littlefield manages to grab the ball and sure enough, runs it all the way to the end zone. They only get two points for their trouble, but they also get the ball back as we have to kick to them again, like with a safety. The score is now Mules 13, Wildcats 8.

The second quarter is exciting because Isaac Baca makes another touchdown, an interception by Eric Orozco is turned into a TD by Ryan DeLeon, and the score is 27-8. Saul Elizalde makes yet another good interception, but the quarter ends before they can turn that one into a score.

Early in the third quarter Eric Orozco makes another interception and Cooper Washington carries it in for the touchdown, the point after is missed and the score is 33-8. Littlefield's next possession is ended when we hold them on fourth down and follow that with Eric Orozco making a great catch which is turned into another touchdown by Jr. Baca. Juan Sanchez grabs a Littlefield fumble after that and by now the Littlefield stands are beginning to thin out.

The fourth quarter starts with the Mules missing a chance to make a touchdown but they do get off a good field goal, and the score is now 43-8. Notice the Littlefield score is still just 8 points… and behind us Roland Ambriz, Joe Ambriz, Sergio Leal, and Francisco Ybarra are lovin’ it, hoping for one more touchdown to settle the score for all the abuse they took from Littlefield when they were frustrated fighting Mules in the past. But even when that didn’t happen, they were all smiles at the final whistle.

But everyone was lovin’ it. The standing room only fans along the fence were joined by the fans in the stands who also stood for most of the game. Everyone stayed for the school song. People roamed around on the track and the field with  silly grins on their faces. No one-other than the Littlefield side-seemed in any hurry to leave the scene of glory.

So, the boys are back. And they must stay back to make sure they win the next two games. It’s not over till the last buzzer sounds, even if right now it seems like it’s a done deal. River Road comes to town next Friday. You might want to be there to watch the Mighty Mules work their magic again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Muleshoe Knows How to Stuff a Bus

The Muleshoe Food Pantry was running out of food. The South Plains Food Pantry, which helped supply commodities and other items to our food pantry, was also running low and could not meet some of our needs. So Donna Jay, who is in charge of our food pantry, took her concerns to Chad Lovell, manager of the Muleshoe United grocery store. He suggested a food drive. Donna was not looking forward to that because sometimes food drives, while helpful, turn into added work for her. "People use the collection barrels for trash cans. I have to clean the cans, throw away chewed gum and trash, sort the cans, and it turns into a big mess."

Donna Jay

Chad replied, "You need to think big. You're thinking cans, Donna. You need to think cases," and with that the plan emerged that United would supply cases of canned goods and pallets of flour and sugar at a reduced rate for people to buy and donate to the cause.

The plan was to locate the food drive at the United store and make it an event. And if Donna needed to think big, the next question was, what to collect the food in. Cases don't fit into barrels or even big boxes. They decided on a school bus, especially since the kids at the schools would be competing to see who could collect the most food. When they asked Carl Krug at the bus barn which bus he would be willing for them to use, there was no question in his mind. Without hesitation, he insisted  they use the activity bus, the biggest bus in the whole fleet.

And that's just what they did. April Smith, Valerie McCamish, Tracy Been, and Kimberly Woolbright coordinated  at the schools with the Community and Schools program, churches pitched in to collect flour and sugar, Curtis and Kari Preston and Cathy Carr worked with 4-H, and other organizations were encouraged to enter the competiton and see who could come up with the most cases, loose cans, bags of flour and sugar.

On the appointed day, October 9th, the bus was parked right in front of the United entrance, shopping carts were turned upside down to block traffic, food was stacked on pallets, signs were posted, and Stuff the Bus! began at 7:45 that morning.

Cody and mom Donna Jay

I went down to take pictures mid-morning and found the bus already pretty full of groceries and Donna Jay, son Cody, Diane Thornton, and others were busy loading food into the bus. I went back that afternoon and found Jim and Lynn Daniel, April, Cody, Pam Atwood, Chad Lovell, and others hard at work. It was beginning to be hard to see out the bus windows. Flour and sugar completely filled the space in front of the rear doors, the floor space in front of each seat was full as were most of the seats themselves. It was quite a sight.

Cody Jay, Donna Jay, Lynn Daniel, Pam Atwood, April Smith,
Jim Daniel, kids Kutter, Kyleigh, and Colby Daniel.

When they stopped loading at 6 p.m. and weighed the bus, it was discovered they had collected 15,375 pounds of staples for the food bank. Several varsity football players and coaches arrived to help unload at the food pantry and by 6:45, they all took a satisfied, tired, contented breath, and knew the day had been a success.

Sunday Donna went back to the store armed with monetary donations that had also been made and proceeded to purchase more food, 12,000 pounds more, and started picking up sugar and flour from the churches, and before it was all over, a total of 30,000 pounds of food made its way into the food pantry.

Donna has been in charge of the Muleshoe Food Pantry for about the last two years, falling into the job when she asked Kay Mardis how she could help. Kay had been in charge for many years and felt like the time had come to pass it on to someone else, so when Donna offered, Kay knew her prayers had been answered. And Donna has been more than happy to carry on the tradition. This food bank was started in May of 1998 by Kay Graves and Linda Low who saw a need to be filled, and the generous people of Muleshoe have kept it going. Donna told me she was more than happy to do the labor part, working closely with  Chris Mardis, who does most of the paperwork, and April Smith who helps coordinate things. Things like a food pantry can't be successful without the help of many, however, and Donna credits Chad and his assistant store managed Ray Ybarra with the idea in the first place and all their hard work afterward to make stuffing the bus a reality.

"I'm not real good at coming up with ideas, but I'll go with your ideas," Donna laughed, and her willingness to follow through paid off. Kay Mardis, however, says Donna seems to come up with food from unlikely places on her own,  like the time Donna and her mother bought and hauled food to the food pantry from a New Mexico store that was going out of business.

The food drive may be over-for now-but the work of the food pantry is continuous. Eight different groups handle the weekly chores. Wednesdays the food is divided and sacked; Saturdays the sacks are distributed among the 200 local families served by the pantry. Donna goes in twice a week to clean and restock shelves and once a week meets the truck from the South Plains Food Bank to receive what they contribute.

The people of this community are a giving bunch and they pretty much outdid themselves with this undertaking. Trinne Jackson from the South Plains Food Bank was so impressed she has invited Donna to speak at their summer conference on how to organize such a successful endeavor. I have a feeling Donna will want to take a carload of those people who helped make it such a success with her so they can be recognized and to share their ideas.

I asked Donna how long all this food would last. Along with the average local donations and the South Plains Food Bank, she estimated it might last about a year. So don't be surprised if about this same time next October, a big black and white bus is blocking your path to the grocery store again. Who knows? Next year it may be a railroad car container, or a small yacht, or a cattle trailer, or a cotton module trailer, or...

Note: Since posting this article, I have since learned that Donna Jay has been named a Hunger Hero by the South Plains Food Bank and will be honored at the Mayor's Hunger Heroes luncheon in Lubbock this Friday, October 22.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Muleshoe 54, Friona 19

I don't know if everyone was home watching the Rangers get beat by the Yankees or what, but far too many  reserved seats were empty tonight. And the Mules could have used fan support. It was a night of ups and downs, wonderful plays followed by mediocre tackles followed by Friona touchdowns.

We were off to a slow start-again-but Saul Elizalde hits one of the high points of the night when he kicks a heck of a 60-yard punt. Then with 6:21 left in the quarter,  Jr. Baca scores on an exciting 36 yard run, followed at 3:01 by a 68-yard touchdown run by Isaias Guerra. The score is now 14-0.

The second quarter saw Joey Ramirez and Rico Alacon make the score 28-0. And suddenly it is half-time.

Our band looked and sounded good, but I will have to say that even though the Friona football team trailed the whole game, their band looked really nice in their red and white with black accents, and they sounded good, too.

The third quarter saw more ups and downs, starting with our fumble that Friona recovers and our poor tackling that allows them to come up with a touchdown, so at 10:33 the score is 28-7. At 9:06 we respond with our own touchdown, and the score is 34-7. This is all followed by a series of Friona passes and what Muleshoe thinks are unfair pass interference calls, a Friona catch out of bounds that results in no touchdown for them, another incomplete pass, and we finally get the ball on our six-yard line. Isaac Baca supplies another high point of the game with an 85-yard touchdown run and the score is 40-7. With 1:54 left in the quarter little brother Jr. Baca scores on a 52-yard run: 47-7. But with 29 seconds left, Friona scores, so now it is 47-13. The quarter ends with a fun run by Isaac Baca surrounded by a wall of Muleshoe protectors, and he alsmost makes it to the end zone.

Beau Avila does make it to the end zone at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and it is now 54-13. Because we are still suffering from poor tackling, Friona manages to get another TD but fails on the two-point conversion attempt, and the game ends Mule 54, Friona 19.

So this brings us to the crucial game with Littlefield next Friday. Monday morning quarterbacking is always the easiest coaching job around, and I'm sure many folks have already qualified for the job after this game, but if you really want to help, show up in Littlefield Friday night to make lots of positive, supportive noise.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hellen's Mule

This September when the bustin' loose mule made its way onto the new turf football field and the floor of the entrance to the high school, cast in stone, as the saying goes, Krystal Angeley Bennett knew it was time to tell the world who came up with that mule. So she set the wheels in motion to do just that. But setting the wheels in motion is not the story; the history of the mule is.

It all started years ago with a casual comment to Mike Richarson when he and Hellen Adrian were both teachers at Watson Junior High. Hellen commented that she wasn't particularly crazy about the two bland, commonly used mule logos around at the time, to which Mr. Richardson suggested she do something about that, being an artist and art teacher and all. So that was on her mind when she, as their  sponsor,  accompanied the varsity cheerleaders to cheerleading camp at Eastern New Mexico University in the summer of 1987, and they passed a mural depicting a Portales High School ran busting through a brick wall. The girls were taken with the concept and Krystal asked Mrs. Adrian if she could come up with a mule busting through the bricks instead of the ram. Three days later she presented the girls with a mule breaking through a brick wall, and Mule Mania Bustin' Loose was born.

The girls gained permission from Irvin St. Clair to paint the new logo on the American Boulevard side of the St. Clair building with the understanding that the next owner would have the right to paint over it. Mrs. Adrian then presented Krystal Angeley Bennett, Lisa Noble Gunstream, Lisa Triana, Amber Green, Amy Harrison Lackey, Selina Gonzales Graves, Monica Pacheco Gonzales, Debbie Brown Schulze, and Wendy Green  Patton with a paint-by-the-numbers diagram she had created. Then in the middle of the night, so it would be nice and dark and the diagram would show up better,  they set up a projector, strung out extensions cords and kept backing up to get far enough away to make the mule large enough. They wound up in the middle of the highway! But since the sidewalks roll up pretty early in Muleshoe, that wasn't a problem. The girls and Hellen traced the pattern and within two weeks the mule busting through the bricks was finished.

That mule greeted visitors and residents for many years before it was painted over, and for the past 23 years the mule has appeared on t-shirts, programs, ads, signs, flags, mail boxes, been painted on other walls, embedded in the floors of our school buildings, on the walls of our gyms, and has appeared so many other places that it is hard to think of the Muleshoe Mules without visualizing that mule kicking up a ruckus.

Gene Sheets, Hellen, Krystal Bennett

Hellen was surprised during half-time at the homecoming game this past Friday, October 8, when a brief history of the mule was read and Superintendent Gene Sheets presented her with a framed picture of that mule as he now graces the center of the field.

Hellen and her husband Lonnie

Hellen shared the mule unselfishly and willingly and never considered copyrighting the design. She never expected monetary reward or recognition; it has been her gift to the community. And for that we are grateful. Thank you Ms. A, for sharing your time and talents with us and for spreading Mule Mania far and wide.

P.S.- Well, I forgot about those of you who never saw the original mule, and we couldn't find a picture of it, so I need to tell you that it had written in big bold letters MULE MANIA on the left side of the mule and BUSTIN' LOOSE on the right side.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mules Celebrate Homecoming 2010 With a Win

The Mules managed to find their mojo and beat the Slaton Tigers 54-7 last night. Things didn't start off well, however, as we fumbled on our first possession and the first quarter ended scoreless, 0-0.

Soon into the second quarter we did score, making it 7-0 and not long after that scored again, 14-0. Our next possession came off an interception which the Mules were able to turn into a touchdown, but missed the point after, so  now it's 20-0. Cooper Washington intercepted another pass and suddenly the score is 27-0. With four seconds left Cooper scores again, this time on a 9-yard run, and we go into half-time at 34-0.

Juan Sanchez starts the third quarter with an 83-yard run to make it 41-0, followed by another quick touchdown and missed PAT for a score of 47-0.

Slaton manages to slip one past us in the fourth quarter to make the score 47-7, but we follow up with Isaac Baca scoring on the kick-off to make it 54-7. Beau Avila goes in at quarterback with 5:38 left in the game. The clock is allowed to run down toward the end of the quarter, leaving the final score 54-7.

But this was homecoming, right, so I tried to document the festivities with a few pictures. Thursday night was the bonfire, of course, and even though I missed the lighting of it and fireworks to follow, I did find it still burning some time afterward, symbolizing the Mules undying, burning desire to beat Slaton. Friday was the big homecoming pep rally, always a major production at MHS, and this year was no different. The Sophomores won the float contest, the cheerleaders had a skit, the band played, the flag girls performed, a speech was made, the queen candidates were introduced, and oh, yeah, the players were introduced and paraded in.

Queen candidates Shayla Carpenter, Devnie Orozco, Samantha Reyna, Andrea Solano, and Jennifer Vasquez were introduced before the game and Jennifer was crowned queen. At half-time Hellen Adrian was honored-and surprised-by being recognized as the creator of the kicking mule logo that graces the center of the football field and is considered to be the standard logo for the Muleshoe Mules and Muleshoe in general.

So it was a full and successful night for many things Muleshoe. Next week the Mules take on the Friona Chieftains at Benny Douglas Stadium. The Mules will benefit from your support-especially the loyalty of staying till the end of the game, whether they are way ahead or behind.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Kitty the Lap Cat

Kitty came to us by way of Bill's mother, Eloise, who, for a time, lived at the Harmon Elliott Senior Citizens Complex here in Muleshoe. This scrawny, dirty little cat showed up at her apartment, just matted hair and bones, very hungry and very scared. Eloise managed to catch her, named her Kitty Cat, and proceeded to spend a small fortune trying to find a cat food she would eat. I mean, this cat makes 9-Lives' Morris look like a glutton. We always shook our heads and rolled our eyes at the line of saucers Eloise had lined up with dried out canned cat food on them. Now we understand: Miss Finicky was turning up her nose at all that Eloise put out for her to eat. Now we go through the same routine, and with equally frustrating results. She will finally give in and eat something,  but she weighs all of four pounds, no matter how much she finally does eat when we find something she actually likes-and will beg and meow for. The thing is, she will eat a flavor once or twice, then decide she is tired of it and want something else. She eats dry food when no one is looking.

Kitty came to live with us when Eloise had to move to the nursing home. She hid in our closet for three weeks before she felt safe enough to venture out when we were around. I have read theories that suggest a cat's personality is revealed by its body type and shape. According the this theory, Kitty is a round cat, or a circle, because she has a round body (even if she isn't fat-the fluffy hair, you know), round flat face, and rounded ears. Circles are emotionally sensitive, affectionate, not comfortable around strangers, dislike chaos, and would just as soon plant themselves in a lap as anything else; be a throw pillow with legs, is the way the theory puts it.  And guess what? The descrption fits her perfectly.

When Kitty is not parked in front of her food saucer turning up her nose at our latest offering, she is following me around waiting for me to sit down so she can jump in my lap, just like the theories suggest. Early in the mornings she hops up on the bed, makes her way to my chest and proceeds to make bread on my neck. Since she had been declawed when she appeared, her kneading my neck feels kind of nice, like a mini-massage. She has a soft, almost inaudible purr when she is content, and always keeps the area warm wherever she decides to settle down.

I don't know why an expensive pedigreed cat like Kitty would have become a stray, and despite her penchant for refusing food, I will have to say it has been a pleasant experience having her around. Those big blue eyes speak volumes, going from righteous indignation to eagerness for attention and everything in between. And in between lap sessions, even without her claws she has also caught a few mice who manage to make their way into the house in the wintertime looking for warmth. Yes, we have mice occasionally; our house is built in the middle of a pasture, for heaven's sake. It happens.

But if you decide on a round cat, it will have long hair, and if it has long hair, be prepared to clean up hairballs. It is the nature of the beast. But it is worth it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bushland Breaks the Spell

I don't even know where to start with this one. Well, the score, I guess. Bushland 27; Muleshoe 20. Definitely not one of the Mules' better efforts. It was painful and frustrating for us as fans; I can't imagine how unpleasant it was for the players. This game broke the Mules' regular season 30-game winning streak and gave Bushland their first win in four meetings with Muleshoe. It was a game of interceptions, turnovers, penalties, fumbles, and most of them were ours. In fact, it's a wonder the score wasn't even more lopsided in Bushland's favor because we spent more time shooting ourselves in the foot than playing good football. Thanks to the third and fourth quarters, which were interminably long, this was a three-hour game, and then we had to drive home in two hours of gloom.

I took notes the whole game, but I can't get very motivated to relate them to you. The first quarter ended with us behind 0-7. We scored early in the second quarter but missed the point after, so it was 6-7 in Bushland's favor, a situation the Mules have seldom found themselves in. Then Bushland quickly makes it 6-14. We manage to score but miss the two-point conversion, so now we are still behind, 12-14. We finally score in the third quarter to put us ahead 20-14, but manage to lose the ball again and Bushland capitalizes on it, and the score is 20-21. Bushland has possession of the ball for most of the last 6 minutes of the fourth quarter and score again to make it 20-27. We show a ray of hope that we would march down the field with 1:43 left, but we blow that too with yet another interception, and the game is over.

It just seemed like Bushland wanted to win this one more than we did. This game was not indicative of the talent on Muleshoe's team. So, don't lose faith. Next week is homecoming against Slaton. Be there. They will need to know we are not fair-weather fans.