“Mom, the phone is for you, ” Julia said handing it to me.
It was Dad. Calmly he asked, “Did you hear about the tornado? It is a couple minutes out, headed our direction.”
We had all been in the living room, ready for our evening devotions. In the calmest voice I could muster I said, “Children come, we’d better go downstairs.”
Fear erupted and questions tumbled as we headed downstairs. I double checked to make sure I had all six children. “What would be the most important items to take with me?” I asked myself. “My journals — and those are all downstairs.”
We went for the canning room which is the most underground part of the basement.
“Mom, should we go under the shelves?” someone asked.
I sized it up. They are super strong metal shelves that would undoubtedly be a good place for additional shelter, but then if it’s not necessary, wouldn’t it only add to the drama?
By now Dad, who was still on the phone was saying, “The way it looks, the tornado is heading on north of us.” I repeated the info to the children who were now crying and clinging to me.
After the initial danger was past Dad told me, “We’ll be there.” Hanging up the phone I told the children, “Let’s sing a song.”
There in the canning room, all huddled together, we lifted our voices to our Maker as we sang, “We Praise Thee Oh God.”
My mind flashed to 20 years ago when I was a girl; the twin towers had crashed, that evening after dark we listened on the phone to police officers singing “Amazing Grace.” I’ll never forget the comfort of those officers singing on that scary night.
The next storm was coming on when Josh and Joyce, their family and Owen joined us in the so-called safety of our basement since they did not have a cellar to go in. We were delighted to have them here, it added an extra security for everyone.
While we waited for the storm to pass we had stories and simply enjoyed time together. By 11 p.m., the three youngest boys were all asleep and everyone was ready to head home. Etched in my mind is the relief of climbing into my bed. Could it be — it’s still here?!
With a prayer in my heart for any who may be hurt or have damage done to their homes we all fell asleep.
The following morning we received bits of news from here and on damage done six miles north. I was aching to spread my wings, to go see where I could fill in to give a hand. I looked at my children, surely they were still my primary responsibility. The day was cool and windy, not ideal for little ones to be out and about.
By mid-forenoon, I joined Joyce and her children on a drive to get a glimpse of what had taken place.
My heart rent as I took in the scenes: houses torn in two, clothes in the closets blowing in the breeze, garages caved in, the small Palestine airport flat. I was in a vehicle with our four youngest children, I felt so helpless; time and again I would remind myself to pray, just pray from the depth of my being. This traumatic situation would be sure to bring much pain and much acceptance for many in the days to come as they would grieve the loss of their homes and the death of loved ones who passed due to the storm.
To you dear readers in Sullivan, Indiana, who are facing loss, I would love to come help you in any way I can. Do feel free to drop a note in the mail so I know where you are, and I will do all I can to be there. Our church people are also available to help with cleanup or rebuilding.
Even sitting down to eat is a luxury all its own. How much these families would love to just sit down around the kitchen table once more, relishing the simple wonder of common everyday life!
Here is a recipe for Italian Grilled Chicken, we love this recipe, it is so full of flavor!
Italian Grilled Chicken
1 cup oil
⅓ cup vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1. Mix well and pour over 2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs.
2. Marinade for a couple hours or for optimal flavor soak for several days.
3. Grill chicken, you know your chicken is cooked when the thermometer reads 180°F (82°C) for a whole chicken, or 165°F (74°C) for chicken cuts
4. Serve with a side of veggies.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427