The Tornado Story

11:08 a.m., Thursday, May 22, 2008 completely unbeknown to us, a tornado warning was issued for Ft. Lupton and to the northwest. At about that time, John decided Grandson Josh, granddaughter Sarah and he and Janice needed to go see grandson, Arvid and Mel’s house, south of Kersey.  At 11:30 Mel called Jerry and said she could not contact Arvid, and would he call and see if he could contact him, as she was being contained in the grocery store in Greeley under a tornado warning.  Jerry was able to get in touch with Arvid.  He said all of them were going to Kersey to eat, and he would call Mel.  Peggy was in Greeley on the west side at the library and was ushered into a safe room under a tornado warning.  At noon Ryan Scallon,  John and Janice’s next door neighbor, called Jerry to find out where they were, because he was in their house, and could find the dogs, but not John and Janice.  Jerry told him he just talked to them, and they were in Kersey.  When asked why, Ryan said a tornado had hit the farm hard and he was worried about them.  At the same time the Kersey bunch were watching on the restaurant’s TV that Windsor had been hit by a tornado.  When Peggy was released, she decided to see what had happened in Windsor but was stopped by emergency vehicles and turned north. . Thank goodness for cell phones; plans were made to rendezvous at the tree farm as soon as possible.

Our farm, along with the six houses/farms in our area were badly hit.  Big trees were down, blocking our driveway.  We had to park on the highway and be careful of downed power lines.  We stood in the backyard looking at our neighbor’s big apple tree and half of our Russian Olive on our deck.  Our labradoodle, DJ, came through the shattered door window wondering how to get through the mess to us.

The next thing Janice was aware of, was a chain saw running.  In the mess that had once been their shops, Jerry had found the chain saw and gas, and was beginning to saw up the trees.  One door, to the sun room was accessible.  Janice noticed that Peggy, and her daughter in law, Mel were on their hands and knees picking up shattered glass so we could somewhat walk in the house. 

Thursday through Monday, Labor Day weekend, hundreds of folks appeared from nowhere, friends of John and Janice, Jerry and Peggy, and Arvid and Mel and Andy and Paula along with Paul, Josh, Sarah, Andy and Paula themselves showed up piling limbs, logs, trash, John’s tools, lawn mowers, air compressor, etc. etc. etc. to be stored in the garage or dumped on our back forty.  In the house the gals began filling buckets with water, gathering ladders, started washing the dirt and leaf plastered walls, and continued vacuuming glass from floors, carpets, furniture-everywhere.  Everything on the walls, in the cupboards, on the tables in the living/game room was hauled into the kitchen to be washed. (See our section on “Thank You”) Windsor Christmas Tree Farm will never be the same again.