Dan was a logger, so rain didn’t bother him much. He was aware of the danger of lightening, and if it persisted he’d take cover. But the rain usually left everything smelling fresh, cooling things off, so it was a welcome gift.
He had been working hard evenings and weekends to rebuild an old house. After he and Cindy were married and they continued remodeling the house. Now, Four years later they were about to celebrate the finished product.
Just last week he had moved the bathroom where the kitchen had been. The new addition he had added to the backside of the house was the kitchen so the most logical place for the bathroom was where the old kitchen had been. The plumbing was already there and it would give easy access from the other rooms. That placed the bath right in the middle of the house.
Cindy had been home about two weeks, after having their third child and the family was sitting in the living room enjoying the new baby when it started to rain.
“It’s ok Bethany, God will watch over us. He sends rain to help us.” Cindy assured her little four-year-old.
Donnie, his two year old, snuggled real close on Dan’s lap. The sky grew very dark and everything became very quiet.
“ Honey I think we are going to try out our new tub and play a game in it with all the kids.” Dan spoke nodding to the window as he hurried them into the bathroom.
The wind was picking up as Dan placed Cindy in shower/tub, placing pillows around her. He then lifted the other two children in, one on each side of her. He placed the baby in her car seat by the faucet at Cindy’s feet . Grabbing the crib mattress for his back, he leaned over the tub with his family.
The wind was blowing so hard it popped out the front window in the living room but all they could see was turquoise green, through the crack in the door and hear the loud freight train sound.
Only eight seconds, their home was splinters. Dan began to dig out from under rubble not knowing where he was. He began hollering, “Oh God, where is my family.”
Donnie, began to cry and try to get out of the tub. The four of them were entombed under the utility wall, . It was being held up by the washer and dryer on one side, and a freezer on another.
Cindy was holding their daughter , to try to keep her from being crushed against the side of the back shower wall, and hanging onto her son by the other hand. Her babies’ car seat was at her feet, turned on it’s side pinning her legs to the tub. Her baby wasn’t making a sound and all Cindy could see was her tiny feet. She was not making a sound.
Dan heard the kids screaming, Following the sound he began to dig them out from under the wall. Lifting Donnie out then the Bethany, he then tried to free the car seat. The whole time dreading what he might find.
. “Honey you can’t move it, my legs are crushed beneath it, Cindy informed him.
Dan then tried to unfasten the strap in order to lift the baby out, when he did the strap grazed her chin and she began to cry. Tears of relief streamed down Cindy’s face.
Placing their baby in the arms of her four year old sister he said, “ Bethany, can you be a helper and hold your little sister for daddy? I am going to get Mommy out OK?”
Bethany nodded and stood perfectly still caring for her tiny sister.
By now the darkness of night had fallen and they were only guessing what to do next. Dan had been wearing his Carhart utility coveralls that day while working under the house doing the plumbing. He remembered he had used a flashlight. Thank God it was still in his back pocket.
All of them were barefoot, but they noticed the new carpet, from where the living room had been, was flipped lying upside down. It covered most of the debris around them. Dan carried the eldest, with the light he guiding the way. Cindy carried the other two as they walked out barefoot.
When they reached the vehicle they found them setting where the house had been , and that an entire tree was sticking out of her suburban, going in through the front glass and out the back.
Dan’s truck had all of the windows shattered but still had the keys it. As he tried it .the engine started. They piled into it and headed to the neighbor’s house. Stopping many times to move electric wires, logs and other debris, they finally arrived. He let Cindy and the children out then headed for his grandparent’s house. It too had been destroyed. His grandmother was on oxygen, so he quickly helped her into the truck then got his grandfather, who had altezhemers, and took them to the same house.
Later Dan found out that it was an f4 tornado. It had sucked all of the oil out of his truck and they had driven it without any oil in the engine. During the next week hundreds of people visited the sight. Not one could believe anyone could have walked away from the sight alive. Someone found the tub; it was in five different pieces. Dan and all his family knew that only God had sustained them.
The children still talk about that night. They do not want to go on a “tormato roll-a-coaster again.”
For awhile Donnie would not get a bath in any ones tub, and he still asks you, “ please, don’t sut the door.” They just don’t like the dark!
They know God took care of them, Bethany says, “so God gave daddy a flashlight.”
God says, “… In him is no darkness”