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Chapter 1
The Tornado Hits

Buchanan (everyone called him "Buck") Jones was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma. When he was eleven years old a violent tornado hit his family's small farm. His mother hustled him into the storm cellar while his dad went to look after the horses in the barn. His mother ordered him to remain in the cellar while she went to check on why his dad had not returned.

Buck was afraid so he tried to block out the terrible noise of the storm. First, he heard a high-pitched sound like the top strings of a violin, then the terrible noise like a freight train running over the top of the storm cellar. Several times the wooden shelter door flew open, but Buck was able to grab the dangling rope and forced it closed again.

Buck sat and trembled, wishing his mother was there to snuggle up with him. After a few minutes, the noise abruptly stopped but soon resumed louder and more ferocious than ever. After what seemed hours, but actually was only a few minutes, the terrible noise subsided and Buck got up the courage to go outside. He saw that the sky was completely red with the sun struggling to shine through small openings only occasionally. The first thing he looked for was the house, but there was no house, only the rubble of boards, broken furniture, and household items strewn all over the property.

The next horrible sight coming into his view was a hundred-year-old oak tree, which once held his rope swing, snapped off a foot from the ground. The trunk of the tree covered his mother?s waist as if placed there by a sadistic giant. He rushed to her assistance but there was no movement. He knew enough to check her wrist for a pulse, but there was none. He wanted to kiss her but the blood that had spewed from her mouth repulsed him. Then he saw what was left of the barn. Most of it had been blown away, but what did remain revealed no sign of life, livestock, or human. His dad was gone, too. Buck collapsed on the ground, sobbing uncontrollably, and crying out for his Ma or Pa. For at least an hour he lay there crying, then started cursing as he had heard his dad do on occasion, ?Damn it, damn it, damn it to hell.? Knowing nothing else to do, and still in a state of shock, Buck started walking, walking and crying. He knew town was only five miles away so he would go there. He thought maybe someone in town could tell him what he should do?that is, if town was still there.

He didn't know how far he had walked when he saw a horse and rider approaching from the direction he was walking toward. "Hey boy, what are you doing out here?" the rider asked. It was Sheriff Thompson.

Tears were still streaming down his cheeks when he answered, "I don't know" I figured I would walk into town for help," Buck answered.

"Where are your Ma and Pa?"

"They're dead, killed by the storm, and the farm blowed away," Buck replied.

"Well, jump up here behind me," the sheriff said, "and we'll go take a look."

"I really don?t want to see it again." Buck said. "Could you just take me to town?"

"Sure, sure, I'll take you to town then come back and have a look by myself," Thompson said.


When they reached the outskirts of Muskogee, Thompson told Buck, "I really don?t know what to do with you, but for right now I'll take you to my house and my wife can look after you until I get back," Thompson told him.

Buck was surprised to see the town still standing and asked, "How come the town didn't get blowed away too?"

"I don?t know, boy. Just an act of God, I suppose," came the response.

Mrs. Thompson (Tina) came out of the house and took Buck into her home while her husband rode out to look over the damage by the Jones' farm. Buck was still sobbing as Tina asked him, "What happened to you, son?"

"I don?t rightly know ma'am. Pa was in the barn when the wind started to blow. Me and Ma was in the shelter, but she left to check on Pa and a tree blowed over on top of her," Buck answered. "You poor thing," Tina said. "Would you like a sandwich and milk?"

"Yes ma?am, I am kinda' hungry," Buck replied. After he ate Tina made him a bed on the sofa. He slept, but restlessly. When Tina went to check on him she saw his arms and legs twitching, and she heard him still sobbing. When Tina heard Ted returning she went outside to talk to him.
 

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