First off I am writing this on a new computer, and fighting with Windows 10. At the moment it is not just winning, it is kicking my ass. Be forewarned. Next thank you John Howland for your post and kind words. Not sure about all the honors however, and you are still not getting that 20 bucks…
Finally I wanted to share a little of what happened to us on December 26, and will try to get back to detecting from here on. Incidentally, my detectors were found under the rubble and seem to be working fine. Thank you Whites….
TWAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS…
Fay and I moved to Texas 28 years ago, and we soon became familiar with Lone Star weather…. hot, dry summers, and always the potential for nasty storms. We were living in tornado alley. Early on I used to love watching late afternoon storms when the sky would turn black, the wind would start blowing, and jagged lightening streaked the sky. I am not a big fan anymore.
We got used to severe storm watches and warnings, and every so often the local sirens would go off, indicating a tornado had been sighted or had touched down somewhere in the area. Our immediate response was to grab the dogs, a flashlight and head to our clothes closet, where we kept a transistor radio. For 28 years these sirens always stopped, and we would go on with our routine. December 26th was different. This time it was the real deal.
We hunkered down in the closet, the lights flickered, went out, we heard a low rumble, felt a vacuum of sorts (like the walls were closing in on us) and ten seconds later it was over. We opened the closet door and looked up at the sky. Hard to explain the emotions and feelings…..
We tried to get out via the living room, but it was filled with all kinds of debris. The wall where the fireplace used to be was gone. We couldn’t see that well but we knew there was glass all over and we were carrying the dogs. It was also eerily quiet….. After a few minutes we heard voices asking if anyone was inside. Two men entered with their flashlights, and began lifting a lot of the debris so that we could get out the back door. They carried our dogs, led us to safety, and we will forever be indebted to them.
After we exited we went out on the street to survey the neighborhood. It looked like a war zone – devastation everywhere. The two story house across the street was nothing but a pile of bricks and rubble (three teenage boys somehow made it out with minor cuts and scratches). The house behind that collapsed, trapping a gentleman who passed away just this week after multiple surgeries.
Fay and I wanted to go back into our house to retrieve our wallets/purse but the odor of gas was everywhere and we were told to move away. We called our daughter Molly and she and my son-in-law Anthony came to our aid, taking us to their home a few blocks away. I was somewhat in shock and found it hard to converse with family friends who called. We spent the night at Molly’s, hardly sleeping and the next day we were able to see just how wide spread the damage was and it was mind boggling.
The following days were spent trying to salvage whatever we could, with friends and neighbors helping. The number of groups who came to assist was amazing. One morning we showed up to see four or five gentlemen with chain saws, cutting up our downed oak tree and placing it on the curb so the city could pick it up later. Help also came in the form of businesses and churches bringing hot meals, snacks, as well as packing boxes, plastic bins and clothing. We were humbled and proud of our community.
As I write this we are still living with our daughter, but hoping to move into a rental house on Monday, the 25th. We now have to decide to rebuild or buy. Not sure I can mentally deal with all the potential problems associated with building. I could go on and on with our experience but will stop here, and offer the following:
- Take photos of your home, inside and outside….every room, from every angle. Then put them on a disc, give to a friend to keep, or put it out there in cyberspace.
- Write down and keep serial numbers and receipts for electronics, cameras and musical instruments. Likewise give a copy to someone else to keep.
- Review your insurance policy, and consider increasing you coverage. The insurance company told us that today it would cost 70 thousand more to build a house like ours.
- Find a safe room, preferably in the middle of the house. A closet saved our lives.
- Do not take storm warnings lightly. I used to, but never will again.
10 responses to “Twas the Night After Christmas…”
A riveting and evocative post, Dick.
I hope 2016 is kinder to you and Fay.
Me too. Thanks John.
Thank you for the update on the tragedy. Best wishes to you and Fay going forward into 2016!
Dick, you are right we all take things for granted. Thanks you for the pointers of what to have before stuff happens. I still can’t fully imagine what you and Fay have lived through. Thank God for your good sense and that closet!
It’s also good to know that your neighbors were there to lend assistance when it is really needed.
Tony, really…. Don’t think something like that can’t happen to you. I did, and learned a lesson.
I still cannot fathom. I’ve seen the devastation in Kansas but never as close as you and Fay did.
Steve, not one of those moments I care to revisit, but one I will always remember.
So glad to have helped you and Fay in some way! Amazing the outpouring from people to the gofundme account! Still praying for you, and if you do decide to build, please dig for a concrete shelter and install one below the house this time!
Dave what you and Robert started blew me away. So indebted to everyone… As for the shelter thing, I suspect a lot of folks here in this area are considering one. Honestly though if we had one outside we would not have had time to get to it. It moved in that quick.