It's just a minute before 9 p.m. on May 4th 2013. 13 days left until we have our daughter's wedding here. We aren't watching the non-stop reporting on local channels warning us of the severe weather in our area.
The wind had picked up enough to make me aware of the need to move away from my office windows and I was just about to do that when I heard David coming down the stairs. As he came through the kitchen door he says, "Nikki just texted us; we are under a tornado warning". As I closed my laptop and stood up from my chair I questioned " a watch or a warning?" "A warning". He went on to say that Nikki said it was right above us; I threw my laptop on the kitchen table saying "that means there IS a tornado David; where is Hunter?" and I raced up the stairs as David went to get flashlights.
As I hit the top, I'm yelling to Hunter "Get out of the shower, TORNADO" while simultaneously there are crashes from his bedroom as photos are falling off the walls. I, rather stupidly I realize now, ran into his bedroom to see the damage. King is racing out from the game room at the same time. I hear Hunter open the bathroom door and the three of us race down the stairs. Three steps from the bottom, the power goes out. David hands me a flashlight and then one to Hunter as we pass him on our way to the Harry Potter Cupboard under the stairs.
King, the valiant tripawd, beats me to the door and as I open it, he races all the way in and lies down in the very back of the narrow cupboard. (When telling Nikki about her former pet's beating us in, she said, "well of course he did. He was thinking "disabled first"!) I make Hunter get in next as I'm moving TV trays and other objects into the dining room and telling David and Callie (our yellow lab) to get in the cupboard.
Over the next minute or so (which let me tell you felt like about half an hour) I'm alternating between reassuring Hunter that if we had to be in any house in the world during a tornado, this 100 year old farmhouse was the one to be in and that I'd seen houses with only a staircase and a bathtub still in place while living in the mid west states, with telling David "the windows IMPLODE in a tornado" as he went from window to window downstairs trying to see what was happening. Poor Callie, true to her Lab nature, went from me standing in the cupboard's doorway, to David trying to get him to get in there too.
The hail hit next. I have never in my life heard hail like that. I knew then that this was the real thing. Nearer the window, David could hear the "train". Our three cats were all inside, something that is very rare around here; the youngest began howling as the three of them made their way into the archway between the dining room and living room. I texted friends asking for prayers.
David put a hand on the window in the living room and felt it moving. He then went to the back of the house and looked out the mudroom window and saw the Holly Tree come down and take out our Well House. He suddenly truly realized that he needed to get somewhere safe. Our farmhouse is surrounded by 100 plus year old trees, anyone of which could hit the house.
As he came back into the Dining room, we heard several large bangs. More trees coming down. We suspected the barn was down.
Then it was over. No power. No water. No starlight or moonlight. We'd made it. We let Nikki and other family know we were safe. And then we started to assess the damage. David went to check on our old Farmer across the street. I got out my camera and used the flash to see what I could without venturing outside.
Soon, we heard trucks as the Farmers all came out to check on everybody; they were moving debris from the roads as they went along. Power Co. trucks were here within a few minutes. I lit our oil lamps and calmed all the inside pets while silently whispering a good bye to our chickens and praying that no more trees would come down on the men who were out checking on everybody.