Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Night To Remember

No, not that one.

After writing an admittedly dull and commonplace entry last week, I was casting around for something a bit more interesting. How about a discussion of the little goats in the garage (yes, the garage) and their feeding habits? How about a forward look at plans for the vegetable garden?

Then Mother Nature threw a subject in front of me. Literally threw it.

Thursday, April 9 started out reasonably normally for northern Illinois. It was muggy. I told some friends on Facebook that, as I cleaned out a flowerbed, it felt like gardening on the seashore. I could even smell the ocean. It was in the mid-60s, having been only in the 40s the day before. Weird weather. A storm was predicted for the end of the day; it was shaping up to be a big one.
That evening, as John and I sat over the last bit of dinner, our phone alarms went off. That happens from time to time; usually warnings about heavy rain or snowfall, maybe a tornado watch. This was a warning, and it said, "Seek shelter now." Maybe you've seen this, which helps tell the difference.
In any case, that warning was unusual. So, being good, obedient folk, we...went out onto our deck. We wanted to see what was going on. It was dusk, and very dark from the storm rolling in, so it was difficult to see. But I suspected, from the amount of lightning, and the shape of the clouds, and the sound of continually rolling thunder, that the tornado which had been on the ground some 50 miles south of us was making its way thorough. John thought I was being silly; he thought it was just a really bad thunderstorm. Nevertheless, we spent some time in that basement that night. Power was out for about an hour, and water seeped into our basement. Our son and his wife, who have no basement, showed up at our door. We even let Mary's dog up onto the sofa; I had found her cowering in the far back of our basement, and wanted her to feel safe.
The storm passed, and we went to bed. High winds continued through the night, and it got pretty cold.
As is typical after a terrible storm, morning came clear, and fair.
In the morning, after chores, I walked around the yard a bit, looking for any damage. I found some. We lost a dead tree, and the tops of two others. A piece of the roof of our horse shed has disappeared, along with a large piece of the roof of the kids' old treehouse. I would share photos, but the cable from my camera has gone missing, and photos are trapped in my camera!
I headed into the house, and grabbed a cup of coffee. Looking out the back window, I saw a piece of debris I'd missed. Thinking it was just a piece of board, I headed out anyway, to pick it up. I found a memory.
This painting had a name on the back, and the note "1st period." I could tell it was a school project, and figured it blew in from somewhere. I was afraid it had blown in from someone's destroyed house. John, ever calm, said it was probably just garbage day somewhere, and it had blown out of the trash. I posted the picture on Facebook and my sister found a man with that name living in Rochelle, a small town about 35 miles from us, as the crow (or tornado) flies. (Although it would seem this tornado did not fly like a crow, moving back and forth in its path. But, I digress.)
Rochelle and a neighboring town, Fairdale, received the brunt of the storm. Two ladies were killed in Fairdale, which, essentially, doesn't exist anymore. Rochelle was also hit hard, although full reports on damage are not yet complete for either town. Its been a sobering end to the week.
I looked him up and found his place of business. I called and left a message. Minutes later, he texted me. With some deletions for privacy, this is how our conversation went.
I've been told I should contact news outlets about this, my little brush with fame. Its just as much fun to look at this little painting sitting in my dining room, and think about the trip it had. At least 35 miles, not including rotation, before it fell here. It has a bit of damage, and was waterlogged, but its in essentially one piece. I do think it would be fun to meet up with Matt for a coffee, give it back, and talk about the storm. I may find myself down that way, helping with cleanup, too. We shall see.
I do know that I'll be more respectful in the future of those warning notices on my phone. I'll head to the basement sooner, watch more carefully, and keep emergency supplies stocked downstairs. (We already did that, in case you wonder.)
I should ask him, too, if he's missing a special edition copy of Star Wars. It showed up about a mile north of us, in the yard of a friend of Mary's.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loved to read this , Melody. You're a good neighbor, even if the neighbor on the other end is 50 miles away and a tornado brings you together. :)