Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 10th - Tornadoes

Following our visit to the cemetary, I stopped by my Grandma's house. Then, passed through McLoud to visit my high school friend and to meet her new precious baby girl. While I was there I missed a few calls from Joshua frantically trying to get ahold of me to tell me I had about 30 minutes to get to where I was going. I let immediately thinking I could get to my Aunt's house to drop off Hayden for an overnight stay since the older two kid's were going to stay the night with my parents. Woohoo! Free night, except not really!

The tornado sirens were going off as I was approaching Choctaw Rd. exit on I-40. I exited as I watched cars and semi's take cover at the Love's and Texaco gas stations. I had a white Honda on my tail the whole way to my parents house. I walked in the house to find them unaware that the sirens were going off. They then turned on the T.V. to see where the tornadoes were heading. We lost our T.V. signal when it started hailing. My Dad and I ran outside to park our cars under the car port all the while we were getting pelted by golf ball sized hail.
WE did find a bucket and piece of wood to put over our heads so we could run back to the house. When I say house, I mean a manufactured home. A nice one, but still not a place to take cover when during a tornado. The kid's loved watching us scrambled to get the cars parked and we not showing signs of severe distress. They were playing with my parents dogs. I asked my Dad if he had a weather radio. He said he did, but he hadn't ever used it. So, I turned on the regular radio to station 104.1. As I did they said, "There is a tornado heading NE of Draper Lake." I will give you one guess as to where we were located. That's right! Directly in it's path.

The radio cut out while my Dad phoned the neighbors to see if we could seek shelter at their house. I walked out on the front porch and could see another patch of heavy rain approaching and could hear a continuous thunderous sound for about a minute solid. The neighbors were home. I tried the radio again. It said, "It is now at 104th and Choctaw Rd."

Holy smokes...I said, "Dad, we have to go now." I told Corban that he needed to be brave and use his fast, strong legs to run to the neighbors because I could only carry two kids. I grabbed Hayden and Landice and thankfully the diaper bag too because he pooped 2 times while we were there. I covered them with a blanket to protect them from the rain and hail and we sprinted at least 100 yards over to the neighbors. I don't really remember feeling like it was hard to carry the kid's. I do remember that at one point Landice completely let go off me to try to put her blanket back on while saying, "Mommy, my blanket. Hurry, cover me or the tornado will get me." It was not said in a frantic manor, more like a hint of adventure. Mom carried the dogs in blankets and my Dad scooped up Corban and carried him the rest of the way. We were greeted by our childhood neighbor's smiling face holding the door open for us. We quickly said, "Hi!" and ran into their laundry room. We chatted a bit until we realized we were safe and could get a signal to see the damage on T.V. While we were in the laundry room Landice kept saying, "Do not be afraid, for I am with you" to my parent's puppy. So precious!

To see the wreckage done to the gas stations that we often frequented growing up was sad. To see mobile homes completely lifted off the ground and relocated in a crumpled heap made us realize how fortunate we were to find a safe place to be. To see how quickly live's and homes can be destroyed makes me so happy that our eternal home will be nothing like this.

We stayed at the neighbors for the next few hours just visiting and watching the news. Linda, the mom of the house, had delicious homemade Artisan Bread and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies made before we got there. She very graciously made us some homemade MAc & Cheese with some green beans. This took me back a few decades to when I was a kid. We would play at their country style cottage home and she would feed us Mac & cheese with hot dogs.

What a rare treat for my kid's to get to experience a full circle moment. My kid's got to experience the lattice's covered with roses, the brick walkways, feeding Coy fish, kitty cats, & goldfish. Swinging from the same rope swing I did as a child. While I got to enjoy a conversation with a person that I a lot more in common with than I did 15 years ago. I was able to share with her fond memories I had from visits as a kid like her Hair bow making parties or how she was constantly on the sewing machine. She had over 100 mini-bags in the making for an inner city mission project going that day. This woman never stops with her blessings. It was nice to hear her say that we have done well in raising our kid's so far and I think they loved getting to see a grown up version me. What a treasure!

We finally went back to my parent's home around 8:30ish. I headed for home only to have to turn around 3 times because roads were blocked due to downed power lines, trees, and wreckage in all directions and paths I could take to the surrounding major highways. Every officer I would stop and ask could only tell me to try another route, but they couldn't promise it would be accessible.
I finally ended up going down 104th to Peebly to get onto I-40. There was virtually no traffic until we came across an overturned semi just before the destroyed Love's at the Choctaw exit.
By this time, it was dark and covered with a thick fog and strange smell settling over the ground. East bound traffic went on for miles as many were trying to get to their homes and love ones. I arrived at my Aunt's house at 9:30 toting a sleeping, poopy toddler, one tired Momma, and an empty gas light on.
I shared a few details of our day and headed to get gas and milk. I arrived home at 10:20pm. Joshua was so relieved to see me home finally. He had been stressed out the whole time knowing he could do nothing for us, but pray and try to keep us up to date via texts when we were without a T. V. signal.

What an adventure we had. I am sure my kid's won't remember much about this day, so I thought I would document it fully for them to read later.


Wa Wa Waughs said...

Wow. That was some adventure that turned out to be a blessing!

Somehow missed the Ryan post - glad you can do something positive on his day!

Alyssa said...

Goodness girl! What a day! Glad you are all safe!

Samantha said...

Glad that you guys are ok however what an adventure for the kids.

Newberry said...

That is SO scary, Elizabeth! I'm so thankful you guys are okay. I'm sure Josh was beside himself!