We found out about the Tornado while at Niagara Falls. That was Tuesday night, June 24th. We were going to drive straight through, but when we checked the weather, the whole middle part of the US was under thunderstorm and tornado watches.
There fore, we decided to just drive during the day as to not be in possible storms in the dark.
We saw the falls which were spectacular, but I think dampened by what we had just learned. Everyone just wanted to get to the motel and relax.
We left the next morning and headed west. We did stop in Kirtland, Ohio for a brief look at some historical sites and then on south to Newark, Ohio where Fito's sister lives.
That drive through Ohio was absolutely beautiful. We were not on the interstate and passed through quaint villages, small and large farms, beautiful countryside. Personally, I have yet to see any place that I have been that is not beautiful. There are many kinds of beauty.
She had cooked Posole, a Mexican Pork-Corn soup and it was soooo good after eating out and in the car for days. We had a great, but short visit and then headed home in the morning. We were on the road by 8:30 am.
We drove home through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and then Oklahoma. It stormed on and off. In Indiana and Illinois, the fields were saturated with water. The streams and rivers were over full and swollen. I heard on the radio that they hadn't even planted their spring crops because the fields were too wet.
And where we live, we are in the middle of a drought! If only they could send some of that rain to us.
As we drove through Missouri, I picked up a radio station from Joplin, Missouri (which recently was hit by an F-5 tornado and many, many homes were destroyed).
I listened to that station for more than an hour and was in tears most of the time. It was so heart-warming. People were calling in from surrounding communities and were offering their homes; they would say, " This is so and so. We live in --. We can take in a family. It doesn't matter if they have pets or children. Call --."
Churches, organizations, and groups had set up places where people could go for shelter, meals, food stuffs, clothing, and so on. They would say, " At ---, they have appliances," "Or so and so has furniture." " This group has meals for the workers." "The shelter still has room for 23 more people."
There were businesses helping, too. One lumber yard had 1000 tarps for free. People just had to go pick them up. A movie theater was having dollar day so people could go and forget for a moment. The admission, popcorn, and drinks were all one dollar.
It was so encouraging to hear all the offers of help and then we arrived home to find the same here.
We got home Thursday night at 12:30 am and wet to bed around 1:30 am. Friday morning, Fito and I woke up early to go outside and document all the damage and take pictures before the volunteers were coming to clean.
We had 5 young adults from our church who showed up from seeing it on Matthew's Face book page. Then in the afternoon, a Mennonite Harvesting crew came to help us. There were 16 men from two harvesting companies. They travel through the US harvesting wheat each year and were in the area, but did not have a job that day, so they volunteered to help and were sent to our neighborhood.
What a blessing! You cannot imagine how much work they accomplished in one day. They helped us and four more neighbors. We all had numerous trees that had been up-rooted, cracked, splintered, torn apart. And these were tall oaks, locusts, some with massive limbs and trunks.
We had one massive tree come down on the front part of Fito's workshop and horse shed. Two had fallen on the chicken coop. Another on the back of the tool shed, and yet another on the storage shed. They were lying on the fencing and wiring and it was difficult to maneuver and get to them with all the panels, chicken wire, and animals.
No-- we did not lose any animals, although, that is a miracle, especially, Thunder, our miniature horse. When that Oak fell, the roof of the horse shed collapsed and he was safe in a small pocket of space.
Those workers used ropes and pulleys to lift the trunks and branches and cut piece by piece until they were able to get the biggest tree off the shed.
We fed them that night. I made a Spanish Turkey, rice, and beans, veggies, and homemade applesauce. I did not realize there were sixteen when I invited them to eat, but I had gone to the neighbors to see what needed to be done and found another crew. I also had my family of 13. The turkey was a large one, but I was still worried if there would be enough food.
But as always (as with the fish and loaves) there was plenty. We even had turkey left over. Fito said several of them went back for seconds. I also made slushies and made sure everyone's cup stayed full.
I always amazes me that God always does that. It doesn't seem to matter how many people I invite...I always have enough food.
Saturday morning, about 50 people from our church showed up to work. There were another group of church members that went to other areas. Our group was able to help us move the big logs that had been cut on Friday, take the crushed wall and roof off the shed, and begin to move our stuff into a different shed.
There was debris everywhere, and groups of people picked up branches, metal, insulation, plastic, trash, etc. Everything has to be hauled to the street and divided into two piles; one of debris and one of brush. The city crews have been working 15 hour days cleaning up.
We fed Saturday's crew, hamburgers and hot dogs. One lady brought homemade cinnamon rolls and orange juice for them in the morning. Another lady volunteered to help prepare lunch. One friend brought a tractor to help move the heavy logs.
In the late afternoon after the others had gone, some of our Spanish church friends showed up after their work and helped us get the tree off the chicken wire. They then helped patch the wire and then they and Fito went fishing and I went to go sit in a neighbor's pool.
Sunday was church and it was so relaxing to just be with my nursery boys and girls and read books and blow bubbles. I made Pupusas and we had some company over.
Later, I had gone in to take a nap, when the phone rang, it was Susan. whom I am writing an ESL writing book with. No nap. I spent the next 5 hours working on proofing and going over the final details of the book.
We hope to be able to have the book ready for the printer this week.