sunflowery's Diaryland Diary


We Made It But Are Shaken

Well, Bob and I made it to my parent's home just fine around 11pm last night.

As we drove down the hwy just a few scant miles from my folk's house, we were turned back by a police blockade. At first we thought a bad accident had occured, but as we drove forward, we saw more police, some fire trucks, electric department trucks and we noticed trees down in the road. It was dark, so we couldn't really see what had happened. Right before we got to my folk's house, we saw a PDQ and noticed new vans in their driveway. We pulled in and I hopped out to ask the PDQ employee what had happened. She said a tornado had torn through around 6:30pm. Yikes! We had had the radio on all the way down and had heard nothing about severe weather. In fact, we saw nary a rain drop the whole 5 hour drive. Weird.

This morning mom and I drove to her church in order to check out the facilities before the party tomorrow. Their church is on a hill that overlooks the neighborhood the tornado tore through. Lots of people were there just standing and staring. Church people were handing out coffee and water. Women were in the kitchen making food for the relief effort. It was somewhat comforting. Their church was a city on a hill.

After a while we left to run errands for the party. I wanted to stay and help the relief effort, but we had things to do and it seemed under control.

As we drove, we passed the spot on the highway where the tornado crossed over. Mom got teary as we came across a family going through all their stuff. They were trying to assess the damage and it looked bad. Their house was a pile of rubble and there wasn't a whole tree left in their lot. It was mighty sobering to see in the daylight what we missed while driving in the dark last night.

Mom and I got everything on the list and did pretty well. Except I forgot coffee. I do have to go out tomorrow to get some stuff, so I will pick up coffee at that time.

We got back to town and went back to church. The news crews had increased and the rubble had somewhat diminished.

We got home and I picked up Bob to take him to one of my favorite spots in Madison.

He got teary as we passed the tornado site and he saw the people picking up the pieces of their lives.

We went to the UW Madison Memorial Union. First stop, Babcock Hall for the best ice cream in the world. Next stop, the union terrace for live music and the greatest view in the world. We hung out there for about 45 minutes and then swung back for home.

I went a different way in order to avoid the rush hour traffic and gawker slow downs on the Hwy heading into Stoughton. We drove by the South end of town where one of the Lutheran churches had burned on Wednesday and assessed the damage there. So much sadness in my parent's little town in one week.

My brother is staying here tonight and it's weird. Mom made a comment on how both her kids are under the same family roof for the first time in years. Yes, that's true and it feels good. Family. Love. Friends. This is what is important right now.

Here is the link to the photos me and my brother took of the tornado, fire and subsequent damage. My brother said some guy from Germany took the tornado photos with his camera phone. Huff took the photos that start with the DSC prefix. I took the rest.

Tomorrow is the big party. Celebrating the love of my parents with family and friends who love them is the best medicine right now.

Thanks for reading!

9:14 p.m. - Friday, Aug. 19, 2005


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