Monday, September 05, 2005

here's why i'm thinking about it


in 1974, my family lived in beavercreek, which is a neighboring city to xenia, straight across on i-35.

there was a railroad track that ran behind our back yard, so we were used to hearing locomotives all the time at that house.

but the day of that storm, i remember being huddled in a utility closet with my mother and my sister (who was 4). i peeked out, and i could see across the kitchen and out a sliding glass door to a patio out back.

hailstones the size of baseballs were hitting the patio and bouncing about 2 feet in the air.

and the sound of that tornado, even being 8 miles away, was like no sound i'd ever heard before. nor one that i would ever want to hear again.

at the time, my father was vice-president of a large construction company in vandalia. as soon as the storm had passed, the company's management immediately mobilized equipment, trucks, and manpower, all headed for xenia.

one big problem for any rescue effort (as i'm sure it is in the katrina-ravaged areas) is the initial access to the damaged area.

in xenia, with trees everywhere, power lines down, cars strewn about, and demolished buildings spilled over onto adjacent streets, it was nigh impossible for the rescue crews to reach folks. but worst of all, the primary entrance to xenia was blocked by railroad cars that had been tossed by the tornado.

my father's company had bulldozers in place and ready to go, all set to clear the way for the rescue workers.

and then they were told, unequivocally, that they could not move, touch, or even breathe on anything until the insurance adjusters for the railroad companies arrived and completed their assessments.

which was hours and hours.

note: thanks in advance to mr. homer g. ramby, from whom i obviously "borrowed" the pic above. i would have linked straight to the pic on his website, but figured he'd appreciate a mention, as opposed to a bandwidth-leeching link.

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