Sunday, March 27, 2011


click photos for enlargement

It had been pouring rain for three hours last Thursday night.  I was emailing friends in Pennsylvania and catching up on the news in the Pittsburgh area.  As I was about to shut the computer off, an email popped up on the screen sent by a close friend who lives North of me in the Lake Norris area.  It said a tornado is passing Knoxville and coming directly at you.  Huh!  I no sooner read the note when the front door to the habitat blew open and high wind with very heavy rain blew straight into the room.  All the dogs, including Douglas, ran to my side.  Then the lights went out.  I searched for a flashlight and found it, with difficulty, still packed in with the camping equipment.  The wind became fierce.  I remember thinking to myself; "there goes my little boat and trailer."  Within seconds the infamous freight train sound became audible.  I always wondered about experiencing a tornado and now I got my chance.
The fact that it was night time increased my concern as I couldn't look out a window and determine danger like a daytime event would allow.

The train seemed to pass over top this building.  Rain and wind instantly stopped and then resumed about a minute later.  I rushed outside to find that my boat and trailer were turned sideways in the parking lot.
I gave a sigh of relief at that discovery.  With the power being out;  there was nothing to do but go to bed.  The next morning I drove from town to Route 411 and turned left toward Maryville.  The tornado indeed did pass right over this building and came down to earth a little over two blocks down the street and proceeded to cross a pasture field wiping out a barn and removing the roof from the home.

The devastation could be seen from that route.  Entire houses were picked up off the ground and broken to pieces;  the pieces thrown in all directions littering the farm land.  I couldn't linger in the area long as the sheriff's department kept traffic moving along.

Some buildings lay in a neat pile of scrap wood and twisted, crumpled up metal roofs.  Toilets, kitchen sinks and furniture of all types lay about in fields and along the highway.

Cars and trucks were upside down and I saw one truck laying on its side on top a collapsed house.  The boat factory was all but destroyed;  the entire front of the building pealed off as if a giant can opener were used on it.

Boats were laying in disarray about the property. The tornado that did this damage had 160 mile per hour winds.  Can you imagine what a big tornado would do?  Good Grief!

The twenty telephone poles were replaced quickly the day after the incident.  My thoughts were; "Great Scott;  I am more fortunate than previously thought."  I can say now that I've experienced a tornado first hand and never wish to do so again.

I am writing this little entry while at the old state park where the ruins are.  The dogs are all home.  I had two pain free days in a row this week.  I thought at last I was gaining an upper hand on this sciatica problem.

Last night was a pain filled night.  The torturous agony would not stop no matter what I did.  I could not even lay down in bed or on the floor without intense pain.

I tried and tried but the pain in my right thigh prevented any possibility of sleep.  Walking was next to impossible also.
 I sat at the computer and read the "Life and Times of Davy Crockett" on line.  I had to sleep somehow.
The camp mattress was thrown on the floor with a sleeping bag on top.  Try as I would I could not sit or position myself to lay upon it without excruciating pain and agony.  I couldn't even get down to where the mattress was on the floor, the pain was so intense.
Tears actually filled my eyes as I screamed with each jab of pain.  I would have to make the computer chair work somehow.  I could sit.

I was able to fabricate a sort of horizontal facsimile of a bed out of the computer chair, a picnic cooler and a table.

With much effort I situated myself upon the mess and fell asleep.  The pain was still there in the morning.
I needed to see something different than the inside of this building.  Even the dogs were beginning to get on my nerves.  One of the puppies chewed up one of my favorite hats while I was gone this morning in search of a walking cane.  I wasn't happy to see my hat torn apart laying in the yard.
Thank heaven it wasn't my good, favorite Tilley hat.  That would have caused a state of war around here.
All the dogs sat looking at me with innocent faces.  But, I know it was the puppies.  I know it.  And, they know I know.
 It was good to get away from the habitat and out of town.  I went to the old state park and stayed in the truck, watching the landscape and trying to assume a calm peaceful state of being.  The pain is constant today and it's hard not to be on edge.

The blog entries may not contain the usual adventures for awhile but, I will keep it going.  I appreciate all the "well wishes" from readers who check in routinely.  For now;  I'll see what the rest of the day holds in store.  Thanks for reading my blog.  I appreciate it.      One thing for sure;  no matter how bad I feel, there are those who are worse off then me.