Tuesday, December 8, 2009


One year ago today was an exciting day. It was a Friday. We had just gotten our certificate of occupancy at the shop and we declared it to be our first official day open for business. We had a good day. It wasn't as if people flocked to the door. No one but us really knew we were open. After the day ended we went home. We put the kids to bed and then after a while I went to bed. Shiloh woke me up at about 11:00 saying that there was a storm coming and there were very high winds. He wanted to go check on the shop to make sure we didn't have any windows busted out. I said OK then I went back to sleep. He woke me up again around 1:30 having just got home. He motioned for me to get up and come into the living room. He had the digital camera and started showing me photos of the shop. He said there had been a tornado. What he found when he got to the shop was a mess. He arrived literally seconds after the tornado had passed and pulled up to see things still falling from the sky. The propane tank had been rolled and was spewing propane everywhere.

We have some neighbors in the back of the shop who live in a trailer house he ran to see if they were OK. They were just coming out to see what had happened. The tornado had run directly over their house. They woke up to the sound of all their windows popping out simultaneously. Their sheds were leveled. Everything in their yard uprooted and broken. But the trailer house was only shifted slightly off the foundation. They found their trailer two miles away in a field the next morning. The fire department pulled up very quickly and gave Shiloh a ride the long way around back to the front of the shop in case the propane tank should explode. They soon capped it off. The tornado had sucked five out of seven garage doors out of the shop. We had just gotten new doors. It blew pieces of everything into our newly stuccoed walls outside. Cow patties swirled about over our concrete poured only three days before.

It blew car parts and tools to places we still don't know of. Newly fixed cars were now back to where they had been days before. We ended up with a hay bale in our yard from across the street.

And the ring that goes around it in our newly built arch out front.

Our fence that took hours of labor in the sweltering sun was pushed down on all three sides. The dumpster rolled a few times. But out of all the damage somehow it just wasn't devastating. We started to see little blessings that made us sigh and say I'm so glad that didn't mess up or get broken. Out of all the debris flying around not one single window got broken. Not even the glass on our irreplaceable antique front door. The office was completely in tact as were the break room and parts office. All the tiny pieces on the shelves in the parts room didn't move. Our brand new furniture was still OK. Our apartment upstairs only suffered bent ceiling tiles from the air being sucked out so rapidly. The vet next door lost their sign in a hundred pieces with some of those pieces ending up in our walls.

However their lettering with a bible verse that is made from those letters you can change often didn't budge. It's kind of far in this photo and you can't read it but you can see where the permanent sign was above the lettering.

We had one vintage truck in the shop that was just freshly painted. It had been an ongoing project for a long time. It was parked in the paint booth in order to take some pictures and didn't have a scratch on it.

People helped out. Our friend who drives a tow truck came and lifted the fence off Shiloh's truck.

Our friend who supplies us with paint lent us his employees and brought us food.

Even thought it seemed that we would have to start all over it didn't seem like a tragedy. Only something exciting that we could look at and try to figure out the good that would come. I believe that there is lots of good. Maybe we will never know all of it. Maybe somewhere way in the future we will see what it is. But today one year later we are almost recovered. Only the fence remains to be put back. And you can bet it will be the strongest fence Sherman has ever seen.