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The Calm After The Storm
by Mary Alice Bowles
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As remnants of Hurricane Ike began to frenzy through southern Indiana, the congregation of the Church of God of Crothersville was in great performance worshiping God in a loud orderly fashion.

The lights began to flicker on and off as Grandad and I finished up our course of: “Thank you Lord for your blessings on me”! The Spirit of the Lord blessed so greatly that we did not notice the atmosphere just outside the stained glass windows.

Closing his sermon the pastor said, “I am getting some heavy duty text messages from home, seems like the weather is horrible out there. I hope none of you all are scared”.

He dismissed the church and we all headed for the door only after hugging one another, shaking hands and saying, “Love you, see you later on tonight”.

I opened the church house doors to leave and the wind caught me and whipped me around and took the door backwards out of my hand. I did not think much about all that wind because I was too busy trying to keep my dress down to my knees instead of it flying over my head.

I did notice that the sun was shining, but the wind just kept on blowing. Honestly, I could write a book on the weather conditions of that Sunday Sabbath of September, 14, 2008.

We left the parking lot and headed up the street and I felt just like I was in a slow motion movie. I saw stuff flying everywhere. People were out in their yards just looking up and all around. They looked like they were in trances.

I think without a shadow of a doubt that Sunday was an event of a life time for me, basically because I had never seen anything like it before and believe me, I have seen a lot of weather conditions in my long lived life.

Up the road a little ways, my husband came to a screeching halt in the middle of the street and I was yelling at him, “honey, is something wrong”? “What’s wrong, what’s wrong”?

He never did answer me, just got out and ran behind the truck and to the side of the road toward some kind of an object laying in the road. Suddenly, I saw something black take flight and fly higher and higher toward a two story building high up in the blue sky of a vine covered wall.

He got back in the truck and I said, “Honey, what was that”? He said, “It was just a little bat that had been blown from the nest and I wanted to save it”! I panicked big time as I said, “Now honey, don’t you know that those little tiny bats still bite”? He did not say a word, just headed on toward home.

The familiar signs of home loomed up in front of us; we opened the truck doors and were thrown through the yard and into the front door. We settled in the kitchen and listened to the wind howl and whistle outside our window.

My granddaughter and her boy friend were right behind us, they came running in, telling us all about their adventures on the way home from church, about downed power lines and just escaping with their lives. I said, “Oh Lord, honey, I thank God you are safe and sound”.

My granddaughter Tinisha said, “What’s for dinner mamaw”? I said, “I don’t rightly know, hang on a minute and let me check the fridge”.

I got the pots and pans out preparing to make sloppy Joes with side orders of Mac and cheese. All of sudden, “click”, we were in the dark. Oh well, so much for that little luncheon. Tinisha stared at me and I stared right back as we were standing there in the middle of that kitchen starved to death. She said, “how about, let’s order pizza.” I said, “Ok, sounds like a good idea to me”. She placed the order to a local pizza parlor and they said it would be about an hour and a half wait, so we said, “ok”. We considered it was the only choice we had.

We all gathered on the front porch to watch the sun shine and the wind blow, that is everyone except granddad who was seated in his favorite kitchen rocker, never bothering to move or comment, just sitting there taking it easy.

There were a few clouds in the sky, but the sun would always peek through just enough to warm the outer surface. I guess I was just too illiterate of hurricane weather to really know the truth about everything, but I learned all about it later. I will know better next time, and I am praying we will never see anything like that again.

As the winds begin to blow at high noon from Hurricane Ike and the sun kept on shining, it fueled the wind with heat. The higher level winds took on an unusual twist. They dipped to ground levels instead of staying higher resulting in awesome strength along the Ohio River Valley farm lands and cities. As the winds shook up all of southern Indiana, it was clocked in at 81 miles per hour. Meteorically speaking that is hurricane force.

The porch kept us safe as we watched all our neighbors standing outside in their yards discussing the weather. The scene looked like a fifties scene with everyone putting their input in on the subject, the main subject of course, being the wind. They finally figured out there was nothing they could do, so they dispersed and went into their prospective houses.

I sat in our porch rocker and watched the hummingbird feeder sway from side to side, I also watched as those little tiny darlings came in to eat, just like nothing was going on. This happy little green flying creature only weighs in at about 3.25 grams. Can you imagine that little bird surviving eighty miles an hour winds? I can see God smiling as he takes care of a little thing like a hummingbird.

We sat outside and waited for the pizza delivery, getting hungrier by the minute. I got up and went inside to get a cold drink and no sooner had I stepped inside the house, I heard Tinisha screaming at the top of her lungs, “Mamaw, please hurry, come quick”. I ran back outside and there was a big tree laying on the ground flattened by the wind just barely missing my neighbor’s house across the street.

Tinisha said, “Mamaw, I heard this popping sound like the popping of a fire in the fireplace, then I saw that tree just buckled by the force of the wind”! It was like a tooth pick being flipped through the air toward the garbage can”. I looked at the tree and then I said, “Oh Lord, help us”!

A few minutes later we heard the fire engines and the police go whizzing by, we jumped up and ran toward the road, down the road about 400 feet a huge tree had blown across the road taking some kind of power lines with it.

I ran inside the house and told Grandad to please move from the kitchen rocker to the front of the house, because a big big tree stood almost directly outside that kitchen window. He said, “It is going to be ok, I think I will go to bed and take a little nap”.

We were still waiting for the pizza man about three hours later; the wind was still whipping around and taking first one tree and then another out. Our question was, “which one will it take down next”?

Right around 5 0’ clock that evening, I was standing in the back kitchen door watching what was left of my back yard, not even thinking about another tree falling and suddenly one was coming right at me. I screamed at the top of my lungs as it came within 10 inches of my face and then fell to the ground. Praise God again.

The neighbor directly behind me had a tree downed lying across her garage and smothering her cars. I just thank God that none of those people were harmed. We did not lose one person to death in our little neighborhood. Isn’t God good? Yes He Is!

The pizza man never did show up and we were still hungry. I went in, woke Grandad up and told him that he had to light the grill that we were all starving to death. We wandered outside, stepping across all the debris and rubbish until we found the grill.

The wind had died down just a little bit, but the grill would not stay lit. We pulled it over next to the wall of the barn and the extra burner finally stayed on. I threw the hamburger on the burner in the skillet and waited to make the Mac and Cheese next. We finally got to eat sometime between what was left of daylight and dusk.

As we were sitting in our kitchen that night watching the lantern light flicker in our kitchen, I felt so blessed just to be breathing the air of the living. We had no electricity, no television, no radio and of all things, no computer.

Something started happening that I will never forget as long as I live. I heard one of the teenagers say, “let’s go to Wal-Mart and get a game board”. Our nearest Wal-Mart was in another town and they said that they would have electric at 7 0’clock. At the appropriate time they all piled in cars and went shopping for game boards.

It was late at night and the game was still going, As the lantern shot its’ friendly light toward the walls and ceilings, laughter echoed the house as grandad joined the game and knew every answer until they finally accused him of cheating. What a riot!

There was very little electricity in the whole of Southern Indiana, therefore, most of Southern Indiana was shut down. The favorite thing that the children heard was, “No school”.

On Monday morning there was still no electricity. I awoke to thoughts of another time in another place some fifty years before and sweet memories flooded my soul like yesterdays wind storm. I could actually smell the yesterdays as the children gathered in the neighborhood and played games in the yard. The friendly bark of a pup invaded my spirit as my mind floated toward peace of life where dogs and boys were best friends and one did not take a step without a pup running by your side.

I had a wonderful two days out in the sunshine of Monday and Tuesday, cleaning twigs, moving logs, and whistling little tunes. Our nights were spent playing board games in our kitchen by lantern light.

More and more of my teenage grandchildren and their friends gathered in our little kitchen to play board games, drink Kool-Aid and eat sweet and sour Smarties.

The laughing sound of America filled the air, the old America that is where happiness started in the home and exploded all over the neighborhood. For three days and two nights, I was actually in a little bit of heaven where the Word says to love God, and love your neighbor.

Neighbors gathered and finished cleaning our yard up while we were at church on Wednesday night. I had done everything except sawing the logs and I wasn’t capable of all that sawing. What a thrill it was when we got home from church Wednesday night and got a phone call from a neighbor who said, “Go out back and look at your yard”!

I would like to add a tag on to this little story. While we were at church Wednesday night, the pastor said, “Can you believe that the lights never did go out in this little church”? We had people walking down the street just to peek in the front window of the door to see the lights still on”. Some of the town’s people are talking about us and saying, “There is something special going on in that little church”.

I also heard today that ours wasn’t the only church in town that still had electric.


© Mary Alice Bowles

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