The tornado noise was deafening as the Craft family ran for the storm cellar.
“Hurry! Don't look back!” Ann Craft knew that taking a split second to look at the funnel cloud would make a difference in whether they got to safety or not. “Jim, I need help getting the door open. Hurry!” Ann struggled to lift the door by herself. Angel, her 4 year old was trying to help, but no Jim.
She raised the door and got herself and Angel in the cellar before she turned to look for Jim.
Jim had disobeyed her and was looking at the funnel cloud as it came closer. Ann's voice was whipped away on the wind as she yelled for him to come. The wind whipped the door away as she took Angel to the back of the cellar and prayed. Her 10 year old son was out in the storm without any protection.
“Jesus, please protect Jim. Put angels all around him.” Ann prayed non stop. As she hugged Angel to her she felt the wind tugging at them. She had wrapped her legs around a shelf pillar and try as it might, the wind could not pull them out of the cellar.
Angel was weeping quietly, saying “Jesus” between sobs. She was wrapped tightly around her Mom, Arms and legs squeezing tightly.
“Momma, will Jim be okay?” She sobbed. “Why didn't he mind you Mommy?”
“I don't know Angel, Pray!”
Later, Ann felt it was okay to leave the cellar.
“Be careful, keep hold of my hand. Angel, you must mind me in this.”
“Yes, Mommy, I will.” Angel was hoping very hard that Jim, her much adored older brother was standing out there somewhere waiting for them, safe and sound.
Ann's eyes went to the spot where she had last seen Jim. There was nothing there but a piece of twisted metal. She ran over and lifted it up, hoping that Jim was safe under it. Nothing.
“Jim!” She screamed, “Jim, answer me!” She frantically searched the yard with her eyes as her feet carried her to what was left of the house.
“Jim, where are you?” She sobbed. “Angel, stay close.” They searched every room, calling his name every minute. Nothing.
Ann collapsed on the couch with Angel after she had looked outside one more time. “Angel, I don't know where Jim is. We need to walk to Uncle Ted's and see if he is there.” Uncle Ted was the closest neighbor, about ½ mile away. “He can help start a search party, IF, his place is still there. Get this dry shirt on, your room was intact. I think its the only one … “ Ann was rambling, talking to keep her sanity.
“Ann, Hey Ann!” It sounded like Ted!
“Yes, I'm here, in the house.” She ran out to meet Ted. There was 2 other neighbors with him.
as she hugged Ted she began. “Angel and I are Okay, but Jim is gone.” She related the events of the past hour to the men. “He just vanished. I have looked everywhere, I told Him not to look back. Where could he be? Is he still alive?” She was becoming hysterical.
“Ann, calm down, We have no idea where he is. The tornado lifted over our places, we're safe.
Let's get you over to the house with Doris and the kids, then us guys will look for Jim. Come on now.”
Ann was sobbing quietly, “I just know he is hurt somewhere and we need to find him! Hurry!”
“We are hurrying as fast as we can.” Ted said “We're praying every step, we'll find him.” Ted was feeling anguish too, but didn't want Ann to get more upset.
Ted's home was in sight now, “help” Ann heard it faintly. They all stopped in their tracks to listen.
“Help.” The faint noise came again.
“Where are You?” Ted yelled.
“ Here, in the oak tree.”
“Jim, Is that You?”
Ted wasted no time climbing to Jim whose belt loop was caught on a limb. “I looked back, Uncle Ted. I'm Sorry! Mom, I'm not hurt, I'm sorry I didn't mind you. Mom, Jesus picked me up and put me here.
He said I would be allright.”
“Thank You, Jesus.” Ann cried as he hugged him.
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