Well, the process of picking house plans has begun. Mother is looking through books. I am looking through books. Thinking about solar power? Expensive though…it would be nice. We shall see.
I have been looking at several tornado shelters and panic rooms.
The one above is out of Oklahoma. StormSafeRoom is the manufacturer. Looks like a good one. The area I am moving to is no stranger to tornadoes. The farm itself has been hit more than once directly. An F4 passed with 1 mile a few years ago. Numerous tornadoes have come close to the farm. I think we should error on the side of caution when it comes to the tornado protection.
On another note – speaking of tornadoes – it appears that severe weather will be possible on Friday and into Saturday morning across our region. Several tornadoes will be possible. It is still a bit early to nail down specifics.
Nobody should ever have to bury a child. Burying a godchilds son reminds me of how suddenly life can change. Reminding me that life does not go on forever – we are not a promised a tomorrow – we are not promised a today. I have known Mike, Tabatha, and Bobby for more than 20 years now. Each of them growing up under difficult circumstances but always pushing forward – always looking to tomorrow. Today is probably the most difficult of all days for each one of them – and for Carol. There isn’t much one can say on a day like today. A cold rain falling over the cemetery, clouds covering the sun, teardrops from heaven. Quavarius was only twenty two months old – but in the short time he was on this planet he managed to make a lot of friends. Hundreds. It is beautiful how a little child can touch so many lives. The outpouring of love today was touching. It demonstrated, once again, how close people in Massac County can be when it is necessary. So many people came to pay their respects for him. He looked like a little angel with his ball cap. I am certain that he must be running through the fields of heaven tonight.
I told Carol that I have been to more funerals of children in Massac County than I have of adults. More than fifteen. Each one a special person. Each one unique and each one with a life that was cut way too short.
God bless you tonight Mike, Tabatha, Bobby, and Carol.
It appears that our counter offer on our new house, that we built in Mayfield, was accepted. We close in 9 days! This is good because this is what we are going to use to build mother’s house. So we can get started a lot sooner than expected!
Mother is looking through the houseplan books – trying to find that "perfect" plan. I think she is going to need some help. lol
I would imagine that there are few days in life like today. When a baby is born, when a loved one gets married, when a loved one returns home after years of being missing. I don’t know. I would think a day like today would be a "once in a lifetime event". I don’t know how to describe today. It was a day that I have dreamed of few years and years…it was a day that my mother has talked about for years and years. I t was a day that none of us ever dreamed would actually happen. But it did.
Today was one of the most beautiful days of my life. I will have to take some time to think through all of the emotions that I felt – the mother felt – that my sisters felt. It was wonderful. Seeing mother stand there and realize that she once again could return home. Incredible. To watch her face when she realized what was happening.
Some moments in life are priceless – today was one of those moments.
For those who missed the very first post about this – on Christmas Day (4 months ago)
The first words from mother – once she figured out that I was going to build a house on the hill – was "now I won’t be alone." I don’t think I ever realized that she thought she would be alone. I will never forget the way she said those words.
The photos below are actually video still grabs. I was so nervous and excited today that I forgot to put the card in my camera! So all of the photos I took were blank! I think I made every photographers mistake today. I didn’t check anything! Oh well!!!
Sometimes you wake in the morning to find out that dreams do come true.
Before you watch the video it would be best to read the narration below. It will take you through the "set up". Mother had no idea what was going on. We took her to the farm to dig up flowers. We hid a banner in the brush that said "welcome home mother". She found it – Dylan helped open it up. Then she slowly read what it said. At first she thought it was a joke or something. She got mad at Deena – then she asked me "you didn’t buy this did you".
Thank you to everyone that helped make today possible. It has been a long four months! This all began on December 25th! Four months later…20 years later – here we are! There are so many other people that I wished were here to see all of this. I know that some of my friends have been asking me almost weekely – "have you heard anything new about the farm" and I would have to tell them no – nothing today. I know I told Kay Comer and Gail "maybe next week" at least once a week!
Driving up the driveway – we told mother we were going to dig up some flowers. Occasionally she does that
and replants them at her house in Mayfield. I think it makes her feel like a part of the farm is with her.
Mother put my boots on because she was afraid of snakes.
I SHOULD SAY THAT WE HID A BANNER IN THE GRASS THAT SAID "WELCOME HOME MOTHER" – THE PLAN WAS FOR HER TO FIND IT AND UNROLL THE BANNER – SHE WOULD SLOWLY READ WHAT WAS ON THE BANNER.
Deena points mother to some flowers – Dylan has the shovel and is
going to dig them up.
They start to dig up some flowers…mother still doesn’t know anything
is going on.
Mother notices the white banner – left corner of the photo by her leg
She reaches for the banner and starts to pull it out of the brush.
At first she thinks it is an old window shade.
She hands it to Dylan and he starts to unroll it
She slowly starts to read it At first she says "wel" "welcome" then she
says "Welcome Home Mother" – she has a weird look on her face like
what in the world is that.
Then she realizes what it says…but still doesn’t understand
Then she gets mad because she thinks it is some kind of joke – she
tells Deena – "why did you do that"
Then she looks at me and says "you didn’t buy this did you"
Then I tell her "yes"
Then she asked me "what are we going to do build up here" and I said
"yes" Then she cried some more. Then she said "you are not
going to build her also" and I said "yes I am" – then she realized that I
had bought both grandmothers old house lot and our old house lot.
The family standing with mother
I think she looks happy there!
I had to stake my claim – it felt so good!!!!
I put a flag on top of the house – seemed like a good thing to do. Victory. I am sure the Kortes and others
will see the banner and the flag and wonder what in the world is going on up at the old Dodson residents.
WE put together this mailbox…soon to be placed at the end of the long lane.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true
Some day I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?
Some day I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemondrops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me
Dione and Tommy made an offer on a house today. So that is good news for them.
Tony called at 7 p.m. and told me that we have an offer on our second new house here in Mayfield. So this is great news. We need all of this to come together at once. NOW if we could get Ashcreek sold. The good news though is that if we sell this house then we have mother’s new house paid for – the one we are building on the farm. Close to paid for at least. The plan is to not sell mothers current house – too much trouble to move her out. So this is near perfect news – IF the house sells. We are going to counter their offer. We shall see.
I will be glad once mother knows about the farm. That won’t happen until tomorrow.
Well, it has been a very busy week. Lot going on. Not all good and not all bad. It was sad to here that little Quavarius drowned in a pool on Wednesday Night. There really isn’t anything to say about that. It was shocking news and news that nobody ever expects to hear. I have not heard anything further on funeral plans. Still waiting for a phone call.
It looks like severe thunderstorms will be possible across our region later this evening and into tonight. I expect some watches and warnings before the night is over.
We are planning on telling mother about the farm on Saturday – 1 pm. It will be an amazing surprise for her. I don’t believe she knows anything about it – she doesn’t read the web site because she doesn’t come online. Hopefully Mariah hasn’t told her anything. I know they talk a lot!
To say that I am excited is putting it mildly. This is the easy part of the process though. Next will come the planning and the building. It will be a long process…that I am sure of!
Jene Hillebrand sent me this today There is certainly a lot of truth in this – I have always tried to live my life with these thoughts in mind.
Change is the natural order of the world. When something tries to stand against the force of change, it’s eventually destroyed. Cliffs are eroded, trees are uprooted, granite cracks. People can crack too. For us to grow and live–to flourish–it takes adaptation and learning. Stubborn attachment to a single set of "knowledge" or way of doing things leads to stagnation of the mind and spirit. Remember to keep an open mind to new people and new ideas. Challenge yourself to always be learning something new. Focus on the possibilities of a fresh start, instead of hanging on to old frustrations. Sails are made with cloth for a reason. When they’re stiff, winds beat against them until they tear. But if the sails are relaxed and workable, the wind can take you to places you’ve never been before
AT 1:15 PM TODAY WE ACCEPTED THE BANKS COUNTER-OFFER. WE HAVE BOUGHT BACK THE FAMILY FARM. IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO THAT WE LOST THE FARM. WE HAD TO MOVE OUT AT THE END OF MAY 1988. NOW IT BELONGS TO US AGAIN. HAVING BEEN IN THE FAMILY FOR OVER 100 YEARS – IT HAS BEEN RETURNED TO ITS OWNERS. A DREAM HAS BECOME REALITY!!!!
WE WILL TELL MOTHER THIS WEEKEND.
SO I WILL GET MY HILL! MY WEATHER VIEW! I CAN’T WAIT TO BUILD. I AM DEFINITELY GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF WINDOWS!!!!
BACKGROUND STORY – POSTED ON CHRISTMAS DAY 2007
I am hesitant to write down what happened today (Christmas Day). Mostly out of fear that this won’t work out. Perhaps I don’t want to look silly. It is an incredible story though…regardless. The ending is up for grabs. How will this story end? Is it all just a coincidence? Will a month from now it fade from memory? I don’t know. I have no idea. It is what it is. I will be as anxious as anyone to see the final outcome.
I have had dreams for months now that I bought our old family farm, located in Southern Illinois. Each night I have this same dream. The dreams are not always the same but they are similar. I buy the family farm back (it is on a big hill as some of you know), we tear down the old house, and we build a new house on it. I have told everyone in my family about these dreams. I laugh about it. Lately, though, I have become frustrated with them. The dream has become so commonplace that I wish it would stop.
I should back up a little bit and fill in some blanks…
In 1987 the bank started procedures to take our farm away from us. This was during the big "farm" crisis (for those who remember). A lot of farmers lost their farms (remember farm aide?). Our family farm had been in the family…well forever. My grandmother and her husband owned the farm. Eventually they divorced and my grandmother and my great grandfather lived there. My mom and dad built a house next to my grandmother and we grew up there. When I was 17 we had financial problems and the bank started their foreclosure procedures. In 1988 we had to move off the farm. We lost it.
I have always missed the farm. This is probably why I dream about it so much. Living on the farm was wonderful. The view was incredible. You could see forever in almost every direction! You could see every storm. Every sunset. Every sunrise. I have good and bad memories from that period in my life. Like most people I suppose. Still…at the end of the day I have always missed being on the farm. I miss being on top of my roof and watching the meteor showers. I miss the incredible views. Like I said, you can see in all directions. I miss the countryside. I miss the HUGE Oak Tree that stood next to our house. It is still there! Bigger than ever! I guess I will always be a farm boy at heart.
Last night…Christmas Eve I had a dream. The same dream over and over. I woke up so many times…tossing and turning. I couldn’t get my rest. I had a dream that I went up to the farm and found that it was for sale. I signed the papers and bought it.
I woke up this morning…several times. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of this. I finally became so frustrated that I took a shower and got in the car and drove to the farm in Massac County. I laughed half-way there and told myself that this was all foolishness and that I needed to get this out of the way and move on. Perhaps this trip would be closure. It had to be because it was driving me mad.
As I approached the farm I saw a sign on the corner of the main road entrance. It said 4-Bedroom House for sale. My heart skipped a beat. I swallowed hard. I wonder? Could it be? When I got to the farm I drove past it. Not seeing a for sale sign or anything of the sort. I went down to the neighbors…the Quints and turned around. The house for sale wasn’t ours. It was a house about a mile down the road. I stopped on the road in front of our house and peered up at it. It didn’t look like anyone was home. So I decided just to drive up to grandmothers old place (her house is gone now). I drove around and looked at the view. Sighing and missing all of the times we had up there. Thinking about all the arrowheads I used to find in the corn fields. Thinking about the four wheelers we used to ride. The sled rides down the big lane! Memories. LOTS AND LOTS OF MEMORIES!
I then stopped by our old house. It appeared that nobody was home. I stopped the car and wrote a note on a piece of old paper that I had laying in the car. The note said "Hey guys this is Beau – I have stopped by several times in the past. I was here last year to take photographs of the storm damage in the corn fields. I didn’t know if you would be interested in selling the property. If so then give me a call I might be interested." I then left my number and email address. I got out to stick it on the door of the house. I walked up to the door. On the way I noticed that the basement looked empty. I looked in the window. No furniture. So I went to the door. There was a lock box on the door. I saw something taped to the wall inside the front door. I couldn’t read it. It said "NOTICE" on it…that was the only word I could make out. I walked around the house looking for any open windows. I didn’t see any. I don’t know what I was going to do…I guess try and go in. lol
So I figured the people moved out of the house. That was fairly obvious. I left the note on the door hoping that someone would see it.
I then drove down the lane and saw a mailbox. I figured I would leave a note in the mailbox as well. I went over to the box to see if there was any mail in it. I needed a name. I wasn’t sure of the name of the person living in our old house. So I saw some mail and got the persons name. While looking in the mailbox I noticed attorney envelopes and foreclosure notices. Apparently, here in 2007, the bank is foreclosing on the property. Twenty years later…history repeats itself.
So I left them a note. All the way home I had these strange feelings. Several times I caught myself with tears in my eyes. I don’t know what to think. Is it possible that we might actually be able to get this property back? My mother would absolutely faint. She has been wanting to put a small house on the property for a long time. She has asked me about even in the last few weeks. It has been her lifelong dream to reclaim the family farm.
I don’t know how this story will end. I write it only to get it out. I have so many emotions right now. My hands are even shaking a bit. I don’t know how I feel. I am going to try and contact whoever knows what is going on. I am not sure who that is. The bank? A realtor? I will have to get Tony, my brother in law, to help me out – he is a realtor.
Sigh…is it possible that this is meant to be? I told my friend David a few weeks ago that I felt driven to move out of my house on Ashcreek. To put it up for sale. I didn’t know why. I know some people thought I was crazy for moving out of that big house! Will this all be a culmination towards something that I have wished or dreamed for for years and years? Every hill I have ever been on has been compared to our old family farm. It is what I set the standard with. I guess we will all just have to stay tuned! I will be as curious as the next person to see if this all leads to an outcome that will certainly make for a great story!
Twenty years ago this year we lost our farm on the Metropolis Courthouse Square. Twenty years ago next year we were forced out. Could it be that we will retake what was rightfully my grandmothers. On the same courthouse square we lost it? I told my grandmother once that I would one day get her farm back. It could be that that day has come.
Our family had to pack their bags and move to Metropolis. Removed from our farm during the great farm crisis of the 1980s. Thousands of farmers lost their land and homes. Now, 10 years later, we are waiting to see if we can get the farm back. May of 2008!!!!
One couldn’t have made this story up if they tried. These are the days that I doubt any of my family will forget. It looks like a very special birthday for me – and mother’s day for my mom and sisters. If only grandmother could see all of this. She would say "oh boy".
The region was struck by a 5.2 earthquake this morning. Most people felt it. I slept through it! I went to bed at 3 a.m. and missed it by an hour. Mother said it shook her awake. She turned the television on and eventually the news media started talking about it.
So, yesterday while I was out with Jack and Sue, they decided to stop by Makanda, Illinois. For those of you who are not familiar with Makanda, it is a small town located near Carbondale, Illinois. It has been a few years since I have been there. I actually used to have a friend that lived there. Most people wouldn’t know anything about Makanda except for the fact that the late Senator Paul Simon is from that area. So they are famous for that! The water tower, which Sue has a photo of (perhaps she can send me) has a smiley face on it with a bow tie. The bow tie is significant because Senator Paul Simon used to wear one – all the time.
Anyway, we stopped by Makanda yesterday for ice cream. Now, Jack and Sue had both been telling me stories about their experiences in Makanda. They described it as a little town that was stuck in the 60s. I guess I had forgotten just how "hip" Makanda was! We drove up to the "boardwalk" – that is all Makanda is made of – a small boardwalk of stores. Now, as soon as we stepped out of the car you could smell incense in the air. For those who are not familiar with the hippy movement – incense is a sure sign that one is nearby. But just to shed any little doubt on whether or not there were actually hippies around…it wasn’t long before we saw a few long haired folk roaming around. Then there were the tie dye shirts hanging in the window – and a sign for the upcoming hippy ‘fest. No doubt the main attraction for Makanda. And did I mention the picnic table covered with painted flowers? Or the trash can that someone had turned into a frog? More evidence of "happy" people.
So, we headed into the ice cream store. Once inside we noticed the aroma of coffee beans. Sure enough, right there in front of us, was a wall of coffee. Bags of imported coffee, local coffee, bags of special tea brew, all sorts of fine coffee drinking ingredients. I am not a coffee drinker myself so I couldn’t go into any more detail than that. Then there was another wall of hot sauce. ALL sorts of hot sauce. But we weren’t there for the hot sauce or coffee – we were there for the ice cream. So, we loaded up on ice cream cones, I had a double dip of strawberry for myself. Joey had vanilla. I told him that was boring. He needed to live a little…move a little closer to the edge. The ice cream was great. I would highly recommend a stop in to the Makanda Ice Cream Parlor. Now I wish I had taken a photograph of the strip there in Makanda, but I didn’t. I think I was having a lazy photography day.
We walked around for a little while. Jack, Joey, and myself ended up in one of the "progressive" stores. Jack seemed to get lost as he was the last one out. I am pretty sure he was taking a big wiff of that incense. Can’t be sure though. He was smiling upon exit. He didn’t buy a tie dye shirt though…so, at least for now, I think Sue shouldn’t worry – at least not too much.
It was a fun day. The weather was great, the company was great, the memories are great. An A+ kind of day!
So we headed up to Fern Cliff today. A relaxing day for me. The sun was nice and warm – the morning was chilly. I think Sue had a lot of fun finding flowers…she takes absolutely STUNNING photographs. I think she could easily be a professional photographer.
We had lunch at Giant City State Park. Chicken and dumplings. They have a lodge up there. So a nice day for everyone.]
I don’t have any photographs like hers but Joey had a couple of shots to post.
Most of the area escaped the most severe weather yesterday. Sixteen tornadoes were reported over the Missouri and Ohio Valley. Tornado watches covered our area for most of the day and into the evening hours. Numerous strong thunderstorms crossed western Kentucky and southern Illinois. Severe thunderstorms were reported in the Missouri Bootheel. In the end this was one of the bigger forecast busts in several years – for this area at least. The expected major tornado outbreak did not develop – thankfully. It is about time we got a break!!!!
Cooler weather through the weekend and dry weather for most of next week. I won’t complain about that!
It appears that there will be a few rounds of thunderstorms today. It does look like a significant event but perhaps not as bad as it was looking 24 hours ago.
On this mornings weather map is a deep area of low pressure centered over Texas. This low will move towards Oklahoma and Kansas through the rest of today. As this low pulls into Kansas a warm front will move through the Tri-State area. Thunderstorms will accompany this warm front. A few strong storms will be possible with its passage.
Additional thunderstorms will move in from Missouri and Arkansas later this morning and afternoon. It appears that the main severe weather threat will be with a squall line. There could be a few storms form in front of the line. Any thunderstorms that form in front of the squall line could produce tornadoes. If supercells do form in front of the squall line then we will need to watch those as they move through the region. They will be racing northeast at speeds of 50-70 mph.
The squall line itself will have the potential to produce strong and damaging winds, frequent lightning, heavy rain, and hail. A few tornadoes will be possible with the squall line.
This outbreak is not looking as bad as it did 24 hours ago.There are a couple of things that could change the forecast. If there is more sunshine today we will see an increase in instability. This will help in the development of supercells. If the squall line, that is moving through Texas tonight, holds together then I believe this will damper the threat for a major outbreak. I won’t know this until tomorrow morning (it is now 1:30 a.m.).
I would encourage everyone to listen to NOAA Weather Radio throughout today or local news media. There will likely be severe thunderstorm and tornado watches/warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
Hopefully, we have dodged a bullet as far as a major tornado outbreak. We are not out of the woods yet though. I don’t want anyone to let their guard down today. This could go either way. I will update the forecast tomorrow morning with another email.
The region should prepare for a significant severe weather outbreak. The Storm Prediction Center and the National Weather Service believes (and I agree) that the region could experience a severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak from Thursday into Friday Morning.
There will likely be several periods of thunderstorms. The first period will be with the warm front on Thursday Morning. There could be severe weather with the passage of the warm front. Large hail and high winds would be the primary threat.
More importantly will be what happens on Thursday Afternoon and into Thursday Night. It is still too far out to determine exact details, however, computer models indicate that a major outbreak of severe weather will likely impact the entire region. This will include the threat for large and damaging tornadoes. We will need to wait and see if clouds clear out on Thursday and allow more instability to build across the region. The more instability the more intense the outbreak will be. As is always the case.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed the region in a moderate risk for severe weather. This could be upgraded to high risk. The potential exists for an event similar to some of the large events over the past few years. This region seems to have these regularly now.
I would encourage everyone to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and local news media for updates on this potentially dangerous severe weather outbreak. I can’t emphasize enough the potential threat of this system. As always the details will have to be worked out on Thursday. Let’s hope it doesn’t live up to its potential.
I will have several updates between now and the beginning of the severe weather.
For the second time in less than three weeks the area received near record rainfall amounts. Massac County, Illinois recorded between 4 and 7 inches of rain. This was on top of the March 18th storm that dumped more than 8" of rain in the county. Incredible amounts. This has been one spring that most people will never forget.
Here are some photographs from Massac County, Illinois. These photos are from Big Bay.
Feeling better today. Level again. Sort of moody but nothing like the last couple of weeks. So that is good.
I went to see the new apartments, that we bought a few weeks ago, today. There are two beautiful cherry trees (like the ones I saw in Japan a few years ago) in front of the apartments. We need to trim them back a bit. Here is a photo.