Friday, April 22, 2016

Episode 28 - February 4, 1999 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace

Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
February 1999

This series of posts on each Friday, moving forward during 2016 will continue the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace,” which ended as 1997 began.

Earlier, we have seen the community move from January 1997 through January 1999. We now pick up our story on February 4th of 1999, continuing in episodic serial format…

Episode 28 - Thursday, Feb. 4th - Lori, at the Construction Co offices - late evening

[From Episode 27:

Immediately after the next thunderclap, the phone rings…]

Gary picked up the phone and listened: It’s for you, Lori.

Lori [After listening a few moments]: Stay where you are, I’ll be right there.
[To the men] That was Maria, at the Inn. She said there was a very loud roar, then it sounded like the roof blew off. She is afraid to look. I told her we’d be right over.

Gary: Trace, you take the Ram. Those floodlights are still on it. I’ll take the half-ton, with the ladders. Lori, watch out for debris on the roads… that wind has been pretty vicious. We’re right behind you.

Approaching the turn onto Highway 24, Lori cannot believe her eyes, as she slows nearly to a stop. The familiar scene of Virginia’s farmhouse on the far right corner is now a pile of twisted lumber, it appears. Lori slowly makes the turn, avoiding some tree branches in the road, and proceeds cautiously toward the Homeplace County Inn, just a half-mile further down the road.

Turning in the drive, as the car lights sweep across the Inn, everything looks reasonably normal, except for tree branches strewn across the yard. She parks, notices there are no lights on, and starts to go inside to talk to Maria. The lights of the two trucks following her, with her friends, approach the yard as she approaches the front door.

There are no lights on in the Inn, but Maria approaches her, holding the battery-powered lantern they always keep within arms reach behind the main desk.

Maria: It seemed to end as fast as it started. After I called you, it has been deathly quiet. I am so happy to see you. Thanks for coming quickly.

Lori: Thank goodness you are all right. The construction guys are right behind me. They’ll be able to tell us what happened. [Lori could see their powerful flashlights flashing back and forth, outside] It may have been a tornado. Virginia Hollingsworth’s farmhouse down the road was destroyed. We’re really lucky you are alive.

Maria: I’m fine. Just scared. Nothing really happened down here. But the noise up above was awful. You said to call, so I just called you, and waited to see what happened next. Nothing did. That was almost more scary!

Lori: Oh, you poor thing. Thank you for calling, and being brave. Let’s walk out front, and see if they have found anything yet. [They slowly make their way back out front]

Gary [on his way back to his truck to get the first ladder]: The far corner of the roof on the second floor is gone. Blown away. Looks perhaps like you just caught the edge of a twister. Did you see Virginia’s place?

Lori: I sure did. It made me really scared to come over here.

Gary: You have some severe damage, but in a fairly confined area, it appears, on first inspection. Trace is setting up the floodlights, back there, and we’ll get the ladders out and do a closer look. You may just be very lucky, if you know what I mean.

Lori: Oh my, yes. The whole place could look like Virginia’s, with Maria trapped inside.

Gary: Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Go back inside, and relax, as much as you can. Stay out of this drizzle. Try calling about the electricity… it is probably out all over. I’ll go help Trace.

As they turned to do that, a Deputy Sheriff's car pulled into the driveway…

[To be continued, next Friday]

"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."

Dr. Bill  ;-)


  1. Wow, now that was some drama!!! Nice work Bill! I hung on every word to the end! Thanks

    1. Some will recognize this as a toned down versions of the "3 Threats" novel I decided not to write. My characters told me this version was better, more what they wanted to see... I appreciate each of your comments, very much! ;-)

  2. The one reason I would hesitate to ever lived in the midwest...tornadoes. My parents home of Charles City was leveled by a tornado back in the 60's.....bad stuff!

    1. Doesn't happen often, but it can be devastating, for sure!! ;-) Sorry to hear you had a first-hand experience! ;-)