Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Wind Storm To Remember!

Two nights ago, I was awakened at 3:30AM to the sound of howling winds. It wasn't really the sound that was disconcerting, but the rattling of the roof above and the jarring of the floorboards beneath that kept my heart racing. I have lived through a couple of earthquakes and tornadoes in my lifetime, but I was not prepared for the hour after hour of assault on the home that was protecting nearly everything precious to me.

Surely the storm would abate once the sun came up?! At 7:00AM, I drove my 17-year-old to school, mostly because school was still in session and I wanted to make sure he got there safely. The high school is next to a major freeway and it was eerie to see all of the semi trucks pulled off to the side of the road in an effort to remain upright. We pulled in to the school's parking lot. Everything was dark but kids were swarming around the campus so my son hopped out to join the confusion. Despite the howling winds, downed trees and power outages, life seemed to be moving forward so my youngest prepared for a day of school. His trip across town to the middle school was harrowing as they witnessed the strength of the wind. His school was also dark, and as many of the students attend classes in portables that were shaking to the beat of every wind blast, the school officials had already determined it best to turn the kids around and send them home. It wasn't much longer before they closed all the public schools in the area and the kids rejoiced in their first official weather related holiday (A BIG DEAL here as the kids complain that school's NEVER closed for weather!)

Suni lives closer to town and felt the effects of the storm more strongly. We turned the disaster into a holiday by having Suni's family over as it would be nearly 48 hours before their power was restored.

The word that came to mind as I drove around town looking over the extent of the destruction was 'somber.' I nearly cried as I drove through the Bountiful cemetery and witnessed all the 100-year-old trees that had been ripped out of the ground. Kevin's ancestors are buried in that cemetery and most of their resting spots were obliterated by the fallen trees.

Gratefully, trees can be replanted. Headstones can be replaced. In reality, we were really quite lucky. The Bountiful area has been known for intense winds over the centuries and we had gotten off relatively unscathed. A similar event in 1864 resulted in a much harsher outcome.

On February 10, 1864, the fifteen-month-old son of John Rigby became very ill. The nearest medicine was in Salt Lake City, fifteen miles from his home in Farmington. On his return home, he encountered a terrific east wind that had been blowing since noon in the Davis County area. The lower road had drifted full of snow, making it impossible to follow, so he attempted the mountain road. {We know it today as Orchard Drive.} When he reached the Heber C. Kimball. Mill at the mouth of Mill Creek Canyon {less than a block from where Suni lives} his team and wagon broke through the frozen crust of a snowdrift and was rendered useless. He unhitched the team, tramped a path for them, and then started for home, still 6 or 7 miles away. After leading them for nearly a mile and a half, he realized he was slowly freezing the death. He made it as far as the John Corbridge home in Bountiful and was put up for the night. With the winds still howling the next morning, he pressed on towards home. He found his team of horses frozen to death. One of them was frozen in a standing position.

Rueben Blazedell, then a small boy and neighbor of Rigby's, had been playing at the Corbridge's home when the storm hit so he was compelled to spend the night. Knowing that the boy's parents would be anxious, John Rigby took the boy with him. Reuben was freezing and John had to drag him and shake him to keep him alive. He found that if they dropped to the ground during the most violent of gusts and then ran as hard and fast as they could when the wind drew breath for its next attack, they were able to move in a forward motion.

When they arrived at the Centerville store, John learned some very sad news. His wife and baby had been blown into a fence and pinned there while trying to get to a neighbor's home after the roof had been blown off their cabin. They had frozen to death. He also lost two hundred head of sheep, six horses, ten cows and 4 pigs. All that was left was a calf, a colt and a black dog.

{Here's the part that shows the gumption of our forefathers and provides the true message of the story}

Although understandably bitter, John did not leave the area but stayed and started a new life.

The City Bountiful, by Leslie T. Foy, Carr Printing Co., Revised 2005. Page 54.

1 comment:

samnarene said...

What a somber story you shared, but thankfully your family survived the recent storm without problems.