Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lone Tree?

While I was out temporarily trading The Big Durian for The Good Life, I spent part of my vacation helping my dad and stepmom move out of Grand Island, which I consider my home town, to Central City. They decided to move into the house that my grandma and grandpa had lived in since the  early 1990s (I forget the exact year) after dad's parents moved into the city.

We nicknamed said house "the tree house" as it was not only surrounded by a bunch of cottonwood trees, but standing in front of the entrance was a group of trees as tall as we'd ever seen at the time (see top photo). Nebraska sees its fair share of severe weather, of course, and I know people in the family wondered what it would take to bring down those trees, even if no one ever gave voice to those concerns.

Last week, we got that answer. Quoting from my dad's e-mail:
After Friday, nothing surprises me. We had winds clocked at 140 blow through here Friday at 6:05 a.m. and take out two of the big trees the house is built around. Both about 150' tall. Been cutting and hauling wood since 10 a.m. Still more to do today.  Should have the last of the central stand of trees out by end of today.  Wow!
The "leaning" tree that was caught by the 4 others to the south would have taken out the garage and both cars, had it landed. It's all "stuff," and can be fixed, so we move forward at what used to be the "tree house," but which may become the new "Lone Tree." :)
Lone Tree, if you're wondering, is what Central City used to be called. There wasn't a tornado or even a severe thunderstorm, just heavy rain and ridiculously strong straightline winds. Is that what they call a microburst? My days of wanting to be a meteorologist are long behind me.

Everyone is OK, thankfully. That corner room will need patching up, obviously, and the cleanup will take a while. Dad tells me they hauled away more than 10,000 pounds worth of timber that fell during the storm (which should put paid to the notion that trees don't grow in Central Nebraska). I forget the exact count of rings on those big trees that fell, but it was more than 70 on each.

It's going to be odd going back there in December. That house, and the surrounding trees, has a lot of memories attached to it. There are the usual family events (Thanksmas, 4th of July, reunions, etc.), but it's also where my dad got remarried (I was underdressed, shockingly enough) and it's one of the places I took Kim, the only girl I've introduced to my parents.

I guess time and gravity really do destroy us all, structures included.

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