I'm still the campaign manager for Ralph
but I wanted to do a different post for today. I still urge you to check out Ralph's site and see his fireside chat. If that doesn't win you over, then I just don't know what will!! You can go to Best of Blogger
and cast your vote daily through April 6, for Ralph C.
Today's headline says "Storms Batter 8 States, Leave 23 Dead"
My heart goes out to those people.
Today is a date that I always remember because on this date in 1974 our home was destroyed by a tornado. I was 19 years old. Yep, revealing my age here, but that's okay.
This is the history of that year: One of the worst tornado outbreaks ever recorded occurred in April of 1974. In a huge area covering 13 states and two Canadian provinces, 148 tornadoes touched down in a stormy 24-hour period, killing 309 and injuring 5300.
11 states were declared disaster areas. In the most active 6-hour period, over 20 reports per hour of tornadoes were received.
We lived in Madison County, KY. I was not home at the time. It's a very long story if I told everything about that night, so I won't go into it all. At that time I thought tornado's only happened in KS to folks like Dorothy and Toto. We had never had one before and I just never really gave them much thought. However that night all the conditions were right for horrible storms over a very wide area. I knew we had had a bad storm because it hailed and the wind blew so hard where I was, at a friend's house, that it screamed through the storm windows and I could not even close the front door even though there was a storm door already closed! I found out later that the tornado passed within 1/2 mile of where I was. However when I went home I went the other way and still didn't know we had had a tornado. When I got about 3 miles from home I saw someone in the road and it was my brother and nephew. They were waving me down and had walked out that far. My brother told me what happened and I just could not image it in my mind. He said that they had gotten into the storm cellar and Mom and Dad were okay. He wanted to go to check on his wife who was working 2nd shift at Westinghouse. Once we got back out on the main road I had to drive around power lines and uprooted trees where it had crossed the road. It killed 4 people in our area, 2 of which we knew. We ended up walking back in that night and the lightening was constant like those little veins of lightening all over. The church we attended was about a quarter of a mile from our house and I could see it was still standing when the lightening flashed. We walked down there and stayed the rest of the night. I spent that night praying for the most part. We were all wet and Dad wanted to go back to the house and find some blankets but I begged him not to leave so he didn't. Me, Mom, Dad, my brother and his girlfriend (his wife of many years now), spent the night there. My oldest brother, his son, and wife returned to their home which was not damaged. My other brother lived in VA at that time.
At daybreak we walked back up and I just couldn't believe the damage. Things it takes years to build are destroyed in a few seconds. We lived in a huge 2 story log home with 3 chimneys, so it was extra strong. The kitchen, living room, and one bedroom were pretty much okay except for windows blown out, etc. The barn and the tobacco stripping room were gone. The smokehouse walls were gone but the floor stayed intact and the cellar was under there. The dogs survived. We figured they had gotten into the enclosed back porch which stayed intact. Dad's pet turkey died when the walls of the smokehouse fell on him. Dad always regretted that he didn't think to bring him in the cellar with them, since he had been right there as close as he could get. Chickens were scattered and many killed and some hurt so bad that they had to be killed. Many of them roosted in the plum trees in the yard. The tractor which was parked in the barn and had a heavy plow hooked to it survived with just a bent up steering wheel and other dents. It had blown the barn down on it and then off it. I had a pony and a horse. The pony was down in the field and he was okay other than being stiff and he had a lot of knots on him but no open wounds. My Dad's car was over in the hollow behind the house and it was totalled. My brother's car was upside down on top of a blown over tree. He was able to salvage it and it was okay other than dents. Later that day my Dad took off walking and he came back with my horse. He said he found him way back on the neighbors land and he was down in a low place and probably had been blown in there. One side of him was total mud. He had a big hunk out of his nose. One eye was messed up, but he got over everything and was okay. He was so stiff he could hardly walk for days though. I often wondered what it would have been like to see the storm through his eyes!
At first I was very angry with God. I couldn't imagine how he could do that to us. I realized later how foolish that thought was. We were alive and no one had been hurt in my family! What a blessing that was. Material things don't mean a thing when you get right down to it. We come into the world with nothing and that's what we'll leave with. My anger turned into gratitude that it had not been worse than it was for us, and it didn't even compare to people who had lost loved ones. No comparison at all.
My Dad had planned to retire that year and had already bought another home, so we had a place to go to, we just had to move earlier than planned. We moved and the first thing my Dad did was build a storm cellar.