They say you’re just supposed to start writing on this thing so here goes….
As I sit here in the silences the thoughts of my day begin to whirl around inside my head. One in particular seems to stand out. My heart is heavy with the thoughts of my Uncle Dick Caruthers. I sat in his hospital room thinking of how sad it is that I didn’t get to know him better. Looking at his tired face and the eyes that are so much like my Dad. Hearing him laugh and the nose…oh that Caruthers nose…the trademark of the family as Julie says… Tammy is showing him pictures of the old homestead he lived on as a child. We converse on how Uncle Wayne has changed in the past year. How his age hadn’t shown until now. How frail he looks along with Aunt Shirley. Uncle Dick was always a big man when he was young and could toss a car if he had to.. but now I begin to see just how frail he has gotten himself….he’s a trooper though. Surviving eight heart attacks and cancer on top of that.
I’m not close to him as most would think and that is and was not my choice but that’s a whole different story…He turns to me and says.’We’ve come a long way since that old farm haven’t we?’
The first memory I have of him is at the age of five years old. We lived in Ness City Kansas on ‘The Farm’…him and my soon to be Aunt Frona with little Tammy came for a visit. I remember we all sat down for dinner when the rain came….then the thunder. Yep this was a full blown Kansas storm!
When family came to visit the women were in the kitchen the men would gather outside around the cars or work shed while the children played outside. It’s funny how you remember things you’ve thought you forgot until you start writing it down.
You could smell the rain and hear the thunder rolling around up in Gods country….the lighting flickering in the distance like fireworks in the sky. As night settled in the storm moved closer and closer to the house. The wind whipping the trees outside our dining room as the rain beat down on the window panes. One loud CRACK and there went the lights….screams of fear came from all of us children as we ran for cover! Then it happened….another CRACK and the house shook like the man himself had just reached down and said..I’ll take this one.’ We sat there in the dark waiting and listening…then the smell..it was a odd kinda smell.
Dad gets up and walks towards the dining room through the kitchen and as he opened the back door leading to the mud room there it was…..he turns and hollers at my mother to call the fire department. Mother gathers up children and out the front door we go. Aunt Frona right on her heels….as we are standing there watching the back of our house burn Aunt Frona realizes she doesn’t see our little cousin Tammy. There’s panic in the air as she starts back into the house to find her. Mother thought Frona had her and Frona thought Mother had her. As Aunt Frona hits the front door Uncle Dick comes around the corner of the house with Tammy in his arms…I’ll never forget the reaction of my Aunt Frona that night..tears of fear turning into tears of joy.
Well the fire department arrives.. as we say a day late and a dollar short.. to find that Dad and Uncle Dick had extinguished the fire. Yeah when you live in a rural area sometimes that happens. Fireman takes a look around pokes and prods to make sure there are no ‘Hot Spots’ shake my Dads hand turns and pats Uncle Dick on the shoulder and off to the next one.
The next morning as the sun came up the consensus by all involved was…’Struck by lighting’
I remember how all of us children were laying on the floor in the living room..Mom being just a arm length away thinking how bad can it be..are we gonna have to move..all the silly things children think of. Then I hear my Dad on the phone..’Yes sir hit it on the back but we gotter out pretty quick.’ A big sigh of relief came over me as I turn over and went back to sleep.
What happens next will have to wait until tomorrow….hope to see you here. There’s never a dull moment in the Caruthers family…trust me I’ve been doing the family history and you won’t believe some of the ‘stuff’ that went on back in the day.