Washington Illinois: A Day Cleaning Up Seven Months Later

Washington Illinois: A Day Cleaning Up Seven Months Later
Washington, after the storm

I spent the day cleaning up a small portion of  Washington Illinois. Let me refresh your memory. On 17 November of 2013, a tornado touched down and swept a significant portion of this town away. Houses were destroyed. People died. What is natural, though, is to have these disasters fade from our memory.  How often do we think of Bandeh Aceh? Or Waveland, MS? Do we even think of the Jersey shore much? Disaster fades from our memory as our prayers head skyward.

Washington, after the storm

Washington, after the storm

I met Maralyn. She has a condo now at the outskirts of town. She is soft spoken and gentle. Nearing 80, she still comes many days to her now vacant lot she has put up for sale. She is convinced that God saved her that day and pushed her down the stairs to her basement. Fortunately her basement was a walkout, otherwise she would not have been able to exit due to the debris after the storm. She comes to her property often still, reminiscent of a pale man with sandals and black socks with a metal detector. Looking for scraps of worth, looking for lost treasure. Today she found a butter knife in her yard. We bagged up a rubble stack in her yard and tossed it into the dumpster for her.

While talking with Maralyn, I mentioned that any day you wake up this side of the dirt is a good day. She paused, gave a easy grin and quietly agreed. I left her to her hunt as I returned to the drainage ditch full of asphalt shingles, toilet seats, and DVD players.

Though we packed a lunch, we were told that our lunch had been payed for. Subway. When a portion of your town disappears, there are fewer people eating lunch. Which means restaurants close. Which means fewer people are employed. Which means fewer people eat out. Which means more restaurants close.

Etc.

Donations have been made so that volunteers can eat. Locally. And keep businesses open. And keep people employed. I had a meatball sub, toasted. I bought a cookie, too.

Washington today

Washington today

The last thing I pulled from the drainage ditch was an old metal headboard, painted red. From a child's bed. As I tossed this in the dumpster, I sent a prayer skyward that this child may sleep well tonight.

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More dog training stuff soon.  May God Bless you all.

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