Yesterday, we returned from a wonderful get-together with 62 of our extended family in Tupelo. However, while we were there, we also saw firsthand the terrible tornado damage the town suffered this spring. We were shocked! Our old neighborhood was a mess with hundreds of huge oaks uprooted, tall pines broken off, roofs everywhere covered with blue tarps, and several churches, hotels, and restaurants severely damaged. One place really caught our eye!
Our young friends, Jane and Karl Hansberger, own the franchise to Steak Escape, a small restaurant on Gloster Street. It was completely demolished! Before leaving town this week, we dropped by Baskin Robbins, the other store the Hansbergers operate, to see how our friends were doing. We were so thankful to find them both okay, but Karl told us a harrowing story.
About 2:40 on Monday afternoon, April 28, no customers were in Steak Escape, but Karl and one of his employees were still working. Suddenly, darkness enveloped them, and he heard and saw an electric transformer out front explode. They ducked into the men’s restroom in the back of the store. The walls around them were shaking and bulging, he said, and when the roar stopped, he had to shove the door hard to push it open.
The rest of the place was gone! Karl’s car outside had all the windows blown out, and it was covered with dents from the flying debris. Somehow, he managed to drive it out to Baskin Robbins at the mall to let Jane know he was okay.
The Baskin Robbins store wasn’t hurt, but they were without electricity for four days, so they lost all their refrigerated items, including dozens of Mother’s Day cakes they had already baked. It was quite a blow for the two of them! Fortunately, insurance covered most of their losses, but they are still dealing with the paper work. They don’t plan to renew their Steak Escape franchise. They’ll just work at Baskin Robbins. They do have a great business there. In fact, they said they’d baked almost 400 cakes for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day since the tornado!
Jane was a high school student at Belden in Lee County when Robin was principal there in the 1970s, and Robin was like a mentor to her. The two have remained close friends, and Jane continues to send him a birthday card every year. She calls Robin her “adopted dad.”
Now we hope our “adopted daughter” and her husband will have a safe and happy summer!