My apologies for missing last week’s post. The Man, The Boy and The Girl all had a round of bronchitis-like symptoms, we now believe to be related to tornado clean-up. In fact, they have a name for it. It’s called, “Tornado Cough”. It made an already busy week all the more stressful. Fortunately all are on the mend, though the cold weather that has settled in seems to have aggravated their symptoms and at times this house sounding something like a sanatorium.
Three weeks post tornado and the clean up continues, as it will for a long time to come, I’m sure. I still cry every time I drive down the main thoroughfare of my fair town. It’s still hard to process it all. I’ve started having tornado nightmares now too. I find this odd. But, there were far more good moments in the week passed.
We had a 4-H meeting on Thursday and we were lay eyes on, and exchanges hugs and tears with both of our families who were affected by the tornado. My incredible 4-H kids collected around $1,000 in gift cards for them and we were able to present the gift cards and a plate of cookies for each of them. It felt good to help them, but it felt GREAT to see them and know they were OK.
I was also able to go to the U of I Extension office and help sort through $4,000 more in gift cards for affected 4-H families in 3 counties! These cards came from beautiful, wonderful caring 4-Her’s and friends of 4-H all over the state and as far away as Texas! I was able to help sort these among the 7 families affected and then got the privilege of delivering 3 of those packages to the people they were intended for. I felt like one of Santa’s elves!
The Man and I went to our favorite breakfast place, Cummin’s Family Restaurant, which narrowly escaped the tornado. I saw a picture of the beast right behind it on facebook. As you stand in the parking lot now, you can see, the broken trees and roofs and just beyond that, the destruction of the Georgetown Apartments. Once again, the joy of laying eyes upon the staff meant everything to me. Seeing them all wearing their Washington Strong t-shirts was also pretty wonderful.
In fact, we did our very best to support many of our local businesses. I went to my favorite second hand store and we shopped the square. In the coming week, we plan to order pizza from Firehouse Pizza before the choir concert! While it’s difficult at times to think about shopping, supporting our local businesses is more important than ever before. it is estimated that our town will see about a 48% drop in it’s tax base with families moving out of town while they wait to rebuild.
We were finally able to see The Girl and her theatre friends bring their production of Shrek to the stage! This production was supposed to open the week the tornado hit. Through the cooperation and support of the many entities who pitched in they were able to see this production through, and we are thankful. It was healing for both the kids and the parents. An amazing production, by amazing kids and just one more step toward healing.
At the production connected with yet another family, a former 4-H family, who had lost their home and everything above ground. Their attitude of gratitude was something to see. They had their lives, their pets, and their hopes and before Christmas would be moving into an apartment in Washington. Mom told me their daughter has decided she would prefer to be called a “Tornado participant” rather than a victim. That made me smile. She’s a smart cookie, and so very right. Willingly or not, she is a participant!
A lot of hugs and happy tears have peppered my week and each one places a patch on my heart. It’s still very clear that we will be at this for a long while. Slowly but surely people are finding places to live for the time being or until. It is good to see them move forward, but it is a slow process and some days, they say, it is as if they are moving through Jell-O.
Writing has helped me work through my feelings these past weeks, though I still struggle with whether or not I’m “entitled” to have these feelings. As I work on sorting all of that out, the positive events of the week prompted me to write the following piece. Silly I suppose, but I enjoy arranging words and playing with phrases.
When we face difficult times
All of us stand together
Shoulder to shoulder,
Hand in hand.
In the face of it all
Nothing will stop us from
Giving our all
Not now, not ever.
The coming week has more activity in store, more people to see and while it is emotionally and physically draining, I’m looking forward to seeing more tornado participants and listening to their stories. This week brings a choir concert and the Madrigal’s dinner, both events I look forward to every year, but most especially this year. The Boy will be completing his first semester of college this week as well!
Perhaps the most exciting thing we have to look forward to this week (we hope it’s this week anyway) is welcoming our 3rd grandchild into this world! We do not know whether it is a boy or a girl, but we do know what a welcome change of pace it will be to have a new baby join the family! We will have much to celebrate this week!
So, as we enter this week of fun and surprises, here’s what’s on Momma T’s table this week:
Sunday – Since no one seemed to be able to get out of bed before noon, breakfast became sandwiches for lunch. 🙂
Saturday – Chipped Beef on Toast
Sunday – Sandwiches
Monday – Leftover chicken and a salad
Tuesday – Leftover Spaghetti, Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Wednesday – Stuffed Sweet Potato
Thursday – Grilled Peanut Butter, Bananas and milk
Friday – “Farmer’s Lunch” Cheese, Salami, Olives, Pickles, Hard Boiled Egg , and Crusty bread with olive oil
Sunday – Spaghetti
Monday – Oven-baked Meatball subs and salad
Tuesday – Parmesan Dumpling Beef Stew and bread
Wednesday – Green Beans, Ham and Potato Dinner
Thursday – Pizza from Firehouse Pizza!
Friday – Baked Potato Bar
Saturday – Madrigal Dinner!
May your week be filled with joy and pleasant surprises. May you reflect on the things that heal your heart and may you find ways to support those around you, whatever they may going through. May the blessings be poured out heavily around YOUR table this week.