|Photo credit: Kim Shellam|
It all started with a call from my mother telling me my dad needed to have a heart valve replaced. I couldn't possibly allow her to go through that alone, so my brother and I agreed I would go to Florida and help out this week. Little did I know that Mother Nature would have other plans.
We had been gardening like fools the past three weekends, getting them situated for the summer. It's a blessing to have a warm, early spring here in Texas, to get the plants rooted before the hellishly hot summer arrives.
Everything was just gorgeous.
With the garden ready for summer, we hopped in a rental car and headed toward Florida. Before I left, I had warned my sons that there may be severe storms later in the day and to watch the radar on their phones before they left school and work to come home.
We were to stop the first night in Daphne, Alabama, and along about Hattiesburg, Mississippi, my phone started to sound alerts of a storm. I pulled up my WFAA weather app and saw the radar. The storm was in Denton so I sent texts to my sons to watch the weather. My oldest got home from UT Dallas shortly after that and my youngest called me to let me know he was already home since he had to work in Fort Worth earlier in the day. As we were on the phone, I suggested he turn on the television to see what the weatherman had to say. Evidently the storm was coming fast and my son mentioned something about golfball- and egg-sized hail. I told him to shut all the blinds in the house, put his shoes on, and get the dogs in the pantry, which is what we always do when there is a hail storm coming.
Nobody expected what happened next.
As the storm hit, my sons were yelling to get the dogs in the pantry, both of them finally made it in there. I heard utter chaos, pounding of the hail and my oldest saying windows were shattering. Then I heard there was a leak in the roof and the phone went dead. Suffice to say, I was panicked. I sent a text to my sister-in-law who lives not too far away and told her my sons were dealing with shattered windows and a roof leak. She quickly wrote back that my brother-in-law was on his way and would stop for supplies first.
This is what they had to deal with:
It was 15 minutes of sheer hell. On Monday, April 11, 2016 at about 6:15 p.m., the little town of Wylie, Texas was absolutely devastated. Thousands of homes sustained damage, including my own.
Suffice to say, I was on the phone again quickly with my sons and sat through the storm with them the best I could. When it was over, my two wonderful sons jumped into action. My son's girlfriend's family came over to help cleanup, despite having their own damage to deal with. My brother-in-law arrived with supplies and they plastic sheeted the windows. They swept up the glass inside and did their best to dry the floors. They headed to the local Home Depot and stood in a line that snaked around the building, waiting to buy plywood.
Neighbors helped neighbors as they spent the better part of the evening sawing and hammering. At 2:00 a.m. they finally went to sleep with the sounds of circular saws and hammering around the neighborhood. The next morning they woke at 6:00 a.m. to the sound of helicopters circling overhead. The media vultures had arrived.
From Mississippi, the hubster and I called my mother to let her know about the epic hail storm. I called my brother and asked if he could fly to Florida because I had to return home. Thankfully he was able to get a flight, and my 86 year-old father went through successful heart surgery today.
We arrived home last night to find we entered what looked like a war zone.
Homes all boarded up, cars looking like aluminum foil was crunched up and then spread out again, and rubbish everywhere.
My own house looked like this:
Suffice to say, my garden and all that hard work ended up looking like this:
I had 2 feet shaved off of all my rose bushes, the trees were shaved off on the north side, and glass and pieces of vinyl siding are everywhere.
Here are some before and after shots of what was my beautiful garden.