Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Thank You Jesus!

We are all safe and sound! What a day and night it was yesterday! Yesterday morning started at about 4 am for me, when lightening began streaking the sky but there were no rumbles accompanying it until about 7 am. When we got up, we still needed full lights on.

Hugo was on the road and had been since 2:30 when he and our 9 year old son, Teddy, left for Virginia to pick up merchandise. By the time I had returned home from my errands, the sun was in full force and the humidity was high. I suspected that the warnings that kept singing across the radio interrupting my favorite talk show, Rush Limbaugh, were very true. A rather large storm was heading our way.

The afternoon wore on, and as I typed on my computer by the window I eventually noticed dark clouds on the horizon. Before I knew it, it was 6:30 and was rapidly growing dark despite the time change. By seven pm it was as black as midnight except for the pink sunset that was barely visible through the ominous clouds that were piled one on top the other. A sudden gust of wind struck the house causing it to shudder and the windows to rattle. I quickly saved a draft of my blog and got up to check on the merchandise outside.

As I stepped out of the garage, rain began to pelt me. Hugo, accompanied by Miguel, suddenly appeared. We all grabbed the tarp that had already blown partially off of one mountain of equipment. We placed items on top of the corners that were even heavier than what we were already using as anchors. Noah and Gabriela joined us and we all dashed over to a large piece of machinery that had also lost its tarp. We dodged triwalls as the wind picked them up and tossed them across the drive, their contents spewing at us and flying away into the back field. We stared in dismay as bags of paper cups lifted into the air and then joined the debris that was soaring through the yard.

Hugo and I both turned our faces to the angry sky and then looked at each other. What we saw left shivers down my spine and convinced us both that we were about to be hit by a tornado. As I joined the others around the large piece machinery I grabbed a tarp and I was knocked right off my feet. I did not notice the pain from it until later. I bent over and knelt on the ground as I struggled to hold a tarp in place while Miguel and Noah laboured to place a pallet over it to keep it down. I was peppered by dirt and small rocks as I clung to the tarp so I ducked my head down and closed my eyes, trying unsuccessfully to keep the dirt out of them. The others, facing me, were being hit by small sticks and other bits of debris in the back.

Suddenly the machine lurched towards me, causing Hugo to yell at us to give up. Only feet apart, and we had to yell at each other to be heard.

We made a dash for the house where Nathaniel was screaming in terror and the other children pale, as they stared at a huge metal tub blow away and Hugo's 24 foot truck rock in the wind. The plastic and blanket covering the broken window blew off and Hugo had to rush to put it back together as Miguel and I debated whether to bring the dogs in, or leave them in their dens on the porch. We threw chairs and toys in the house in hopes of preventing them from blowing through the glass doors.

While trying to calm the children, I grabbed a phone and called our neighbours who live in a small mobile home. They gratefully accepted my invitation to join us here. Thankfully they would only need to drive across the back field to get here. As Nathaniel continued to quake in fear, I asked him to help me make a pot of coffee for Mr. Edgerton in hopes that the distraction would help stop his shaking. He was truly terrified. I sat him on the counter and he helped me count tablespoons of coffee and then sat sentinel of the coffee pot with strict instructions to call me when it was ready. I thought if his attention was drawn elsewhere he might stop shaking.

As the coffee purred and dripped, the wind began to calm down and before it had quite finished brewing the Edgertons called and said they thought that the worse was passed and they would stay put. A good idea, if the storm had indeed passed, as the winds were still strong enough to cause branches be torn from the trees that lined the field.

Hugo left his scanner on in the kitchen as I quietly began supper preparations - grilled cheese sandwiches, chips and olives. The odour of the freshly brewed coffee somehow cheered me. Once supper was finally ready, the younger kids were more or less calm again. While we ate, we marveled at how quickly the storm had passed! Later we learned that the gusts of wind in our section of the county had been recorded to hit 63 miles an hour, just slightly below a category one hurricane. We were so grateful that the tornado that seemed so imminent had not come to pass. Thank you Jesus!

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