“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
I pressed my nose to the window and watched the brown cloud cover the sky.
It was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was big and scary.
In just a few seconds it had blotted out the setting sun and turned dark as the darkest night.
Dad finished taping the corner of the blanket over the window and said to hurry and get on the beds and under the covers.
We ran and jumped into the beds and pulled the covers up over our heads.
The wind began to blow harder, the lights began to flicker, and suddenly Jasmine and I knew this was not a game any longer.
The wind blew so hard, that it made whistling noises around the windows, doors, and even through the floor.
Outside, the wind was howling through the trees and we began to hear tree branches breaking and falling to the ground.
It sounded like things were flying through the air and crashing into each other.
Inside, I thought someone was throwing dirt against the side of the house and I started to bark. Mom put her arms around my neck and said, “It’s alright boy, it’s alright.”
There were some loud bangs and suddenly all of the lights went out.
Even under the covers, the air became dusty and hard to breathe. It made my eyes burn and my nose dry.
We could hear Brother coughing in the other room and Dad began to pray out loud for God to keep us all safe.
Jasmine started to whimper and I nuzzled her face with mine. I too asked the Creator to watch over us.
It seemed as if the howling, blowing, and crashing lasted for hours. Then just as suddenly as it began, all of the strange noises stopped.
There was an eerie silence without the wind blowing, and it began to get very hot inside our little house. With the electricity still off, it was pitch black inside and out.
We crawled out from under the covers, and even though my family had been very careful to cover the windows and doors, I could feel the dirt under my paws when I jumped off the bed.
Every time we moved, clouds of dust filled the air.
Mom and Brother took the blankets off of the windows and Dad looked out the front door, but it was too dark to see anything.
Dad said that since the wind had blown the power lines down, it would be too dangerous to go outside even with a flashlight.
I worried about my animal friends, but we would have to wait until the sun came up before we could see if they were alright.
We would have to wait until morning to find out what the howling winds had done.
Dad and Brother opened the windows to try and get some fresh air, while Mom sat down and fanned Jasmine and I to keep us cool.
I finally fell asleep with my head full of thoughts about my animal friends, the howling wind, and the big brown cloud. I couldn’t wait for this night to be over and morning to come.
Morning finally came and with it the hot bright sun. Dad went outside first to see if there was any danger from the power lines.
He came back in and said that it was safe to go out in the yard. The power lines were down on the outside of our fence and across the street.
We all went out the front door and couldn’t believe our eyes.
Everything was covered with what looked like brown snow. But it wasn’t snow. It was dust and dirt.
It was everywhere. It covered the porch, the table, the rockers, and everything. All of the yard and the bushes were covered with the brown powder.
Tree branches, trash, and lawn furniture had all blown from across the street and were up against the outside of our front fence.
I thought of our animal friends and what might have happened to them.
“Jasmine, let’s go,” I said. We started to run around the side of the house but we had to stop.
There were tree branches and limbs that had fallen all across the yard on the side of the house and we couldn’t get through. Jasmine and I started barking, hoping that Dad would come and help.
My family came around to the side of the house to see what we were barking at.
“Oh Raymond!” said Mom. “Look at this. Look what happened to our beautiful trees!”
“What a mess,” said Brother. “How are we ever going to clean this all up?”
“We’ll have to use the lawn tractor to pull the big limbs out into the field,” Dad replied. “But it’s going to take some time to pick up all of the branches and trash.”
“Let’s go inside and eat some breakfast and then we can decide where to start. Maybe they’ll be out soon to repair the power lines.”
We went back inside the house, but I didn’t care about breakfast. I wanted to find out if my friends were alright.
Mom went into the kitchen, and it wasn’t long before we heard her gasp.
“Oh no! Look outside in the back! The chicken coop and the barn are gone!”
We all ran inside the kitchen and Mom was looking out the window. Dad opened the back door and stepped out into the yard with the rest of us close behind.
What was left of the old chicken coop and Chester’s barn was scattered all over the grassy field and there were only empty spots where they used to be.
Marvin’s branch pile was also gone, and he and Chester were nowhere to be seen.
(TO BE CONTINUED)