Yesterday was a nervous time for those of us living in northern Illinois. For some, to the far west and northwest of Chicago, it was a life-altering disaster. Tornados traced a long path of damage across the state from Rochelle almost to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Storms had been popping up all over northern Illinois, and most of us were glued to the radar all day to see if something more serious than lightning, hail, and downpours was headed our way. I did an outside walkaround a bit ago, and the Maxx home seems to have escaped unscathed.
Most of the tornado(s) path was farmland, but Rochelle sustained heavy damage and half the small town of Fairdale was leveled. Amazingly, I've heard of only one human fatality. A farmer lost a couple dozen cattle. That could change as they sift through the wreckage. I'm sure that the surviving residents would appreciate your prayers. If you're of other faiths and non-faiths, good vibes and/or positive spells work too.
I've been to Rochelle, for one of Junior's wrestling meets a number of years ago. If I'm remembering correctly, their gym has purple plastic bucket seats instead of bleachers. Complete with cupholders and armrests like you'd find in a big league stadium or arena. I understand the Home of the Hubs is still standing, and was used as an emergency refuge last night. There are a lot of warehouses in town, as its a major intermodal hub.
There's a diaper angle to this as well. Last night I wondered briefly how I'd feel if my diaper stash were strewn across the neighborhood. I didn't do anything about that, but I did move my external hard drive to my basement fire safe. I expect that would survive just about anything, with all my critical data, photos, and music collection intact. Yeah, its watertight.
News reports in the light of day brought me to further introspection on disasters like this.
There's a complete loss of privacy and personal space. All your stuff is at least temporarily unavailable to you, if not destroyed or distributed all over town. Neighbors, even network TV audiences are peeping into your personal life. That was brought home by the TV coverage this morning. Camera crew in the street, pointing their weapon at a large house. Damaged, but still upright. A tall, thin, man with a footlong gray beard emerged, his disjointed scarecrow-like stride carrying him to the road past the crew. He extends a middle finger as he continues out of view. The camera pans back to the house, focusing on bright green spraypainted letters on the wall "Live monkey, second floor". My mind explodes with possible stories about what goes on in that house. People who don't play well with others often move to rural places where there aren't so many...others. I stop when I consider that "there but for the grace of God..."
Apparently emergency teams spraypainted a number of houses when they came across animals they didn't have the time or means to deal with. "Live dog, first floor", I imagine Junior's dog in that situation. Wisely, he left her with me for the day in advance of the storms so she wouldn't be home alone. She's big and scary looking, part pit bull, but largely a lapdog who's skittish about storms and strangers. How would she react to a stranger in a hard hat and raincoat bursting in after she's been scared witless by wind, rain, and lightning? Would she attack... or would she hide in silence until a bulldozer finished the job?
I guess I better stop before this gets moved to the story section....