0

Story Submitted by: Bonnie23

I learned this Mother's Day the strength of bond in a quilt. I live in south Georgia and my Mother's Day began by going to our favorite family restaurant for breakfast. Earlier than normal as there was threat of severe thunderstorms in our area by mid morning. Back at home we were monitoring the weather from our local (60 mi. away) tv station. Our meteorologist was bringing constant live updates and had spotted a supercell capable of a tornado about 12 mi west of our shop and it is about 3 mi. west of our home. Within minutes the clouds grew darker and darker and the rain began to pour. BAM, our cable and internet goes off the air. We immediately knew there was trouble! The equipment for cable and internet for our county was housed in the Industrial Park 650 feet from our shop. We own a Marine Sales and Service business. Minutes after and the cable still off the air, my husband got a call from a friend that lives near our business. "Come to your shop, a tornado just blew it away!" He rushed out not knowing what to expect and preparing for the worst. Or so he thought! He certainly was not prepared! I stayed behind to wait for the weather to settle off, because we have 4 dogs that live with us and are terrified of thunder and lightning! I shouldn't leave them, but I couldn't stay. I grabbed a jacket and started out with my husband on the phone saying "Please understand, there is nothing left of our building and boats are everywhere! Preparing for the worst, or so I thought! I certainly was not! Still raining and lightning popping in the area, I stared in utter disbelief! Where our shop stood on Saturday, a sparkling, clean concrete slab was left! As far as you could see there was devastation! A building between our shop the the cable substation was a rehabilitation center and had 20 to 30 people inside. Their building destroyed, but still there. With no warning of the coming storm, they had gathered in the center of the building for a church service. All of their lives were spared with a couple of broken arms and minor cuts and scrapes. I began to pace. Walking though engines with most missing parts nowhere to be found, boats cracked and turned upside down, and with the exception of a very few tools most things from our building reduced to unrecognizable rubble! Beams that required bucket and boom trucks to raise into place were bent double and tossed hundreds of feet into an open field. Power lines twisted hundreds if not a thousand times. Two of my quilts were in my office inside the building as well as some bolts of fabric. Still in shock and walking the path of the storm searching for anything to salvage. Picking up tools, fabrics that was unwound from the bolts and some still all wrapped up. I saw what appeared to be another boat off in the distance across a dirt road in the newly created trail from the storm. The National Weather Service later measured this boat to be over 2000 yards from our shop. I made my way to the area to see if I could recognize anything there. As I scanned the area, I saw what appeared to be another bolt of fabric. Still raining I bogged though ankle deep water and discovered it was one of my quilts! Wrapped around the tree and twisted in briers, but I gently pulled it to safety! The queen size quilt, soaking wet and looked like it had been dragged through a mud pit was in one piece! Quilt in arms and against my white T Shirt and a black jacket, blue jeans with water dripping out of them and water sloshing out of my shoes. I headed straight for my truck. Between shock and adrenaline, I carried that quilt nearly 1 mile without breaking stride - straight to the bed of our truck. As friends arrived and joined the salvage effort, the other quilt was found under some debris in the same state as the other. Near the second quilt was more bolts of fabric. I called a friend to pick up the quilts to be rinsed before the hot sun set the dirt and grime in permanently. I haven't gotten them back yet, but they survived with a few small tears and a couple of stains that may not come out. I washed some of the fabric last night and am washing more as I write tonight (or morning). It is truly amazing to me that the fury of this storm ripped apart over 8000 pound boats, yet I still have my quilts and hopefully can salvage enough fabric to make a "Tornado Quilt". I suppose the same strong bond that binds quilters, shares the same magic in their quilts!