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Thank you to those that are concerned about us - I wrote just after we had power restored. It has been off-on since then. We were struck by the "Stockton, MO" line of tornadoes. We don't believe they were on the ground when we were struck and that spared us something. Others at Polk lost all by the same system. We are just 5 neighbors here that have damage so not a lot of news coverage - but we are hurting emotionally yet.

We purchsed this 80 acres 2 1/2 yrs ago. I have been here little because in the past 2 years I have lost 5 aunts and uncles, my mother broke her back, my mother had cancer and major surgery a year ago and now the cancer has spread. My father's health failed drastically after my mother's illnesses. My beloved Basset Hound "Elsie" we lost a year ago after the best of valiant efforts by the University of MO vet hospital (during my mother's first cancer surgery. Elsie was lost a week later.) Our daughter was hit by another driver in an auto accident 2 weeks ago in Little Rock (her new home of 2 months having just moved from Springfield). She is here helping us for a couple of days during her recuperation and directing our needs and work effort. Our son and daughter-in-law were here yesterday laboring all day with the biggest of the clean-up efforts in the yard. We will miss their daughter's 5th B-day today - the first time we have missed a grandchild's birthday. Why does this all matter? Because we had invested all our time and efforts into the "farm" during all this. We have been restoring a 3-acre lake and I had just completed clearing another set of trails for birding and mountain biking for the enjoyment of others. I had established several viewing and rest areas. We were turning the entire acreage over to the habitat of wildlife, especially the birds that I have come to love. They have been my "saving grace", so to speak, through all of this. To see a sparrow or robin's nest and it's young gone has been the hardest to take because they were so precious to me. We lost all the the largest trees on the farm - too many and too big for Jack and I to ever clear. Every large tree in the yard is gone except 3 small ones. The migrating warblers favored all of the large trees here in the yard. Our son's "home" had a tree fall on it and damage it. We lost all our out buildings and the vehicles have some (minor) damage. Our "home" was spared. Our efforts have been to clear off, clean up and establish our son's family's needs while the work progresses. We had 2 tornadoes again yesterday but neither hit us. One was in the morning and 15 miles north, the other sent us to the cellar once again but it passed 15 miles to the south. Our son and family were returning to Forsyth in the midst of the 2nd one but are safe. 

Thank you for the concern by many of you. We will take one step at a time and establish a new dream - perhaps just elsewhere. Our son here was in the process of buying a home in northern MO but we don't know their plans now. If I could stop crying long enough I'm sure I'd get more done - each new rain storm EVERY day just brings more fear . . . . but as I preach, "This, too, shall pass." My family is unharmed and the birds will be renewed for a fresh new migration next spring - they just will find new homes elsewhere. I have been amazed at the first sounds after the storms were singing birds. I, too, shall lonce again sing as I learn my lessons of life from their resiliency.
(But I have to tell you, that little A. Woodcock that was penting and flight-displaying as the first tornado came across the field and we were entering the cellar certainly gave me a smile and I wondered how desperate for love he must have been!! Do you know he survived as was back at it he next night! Life is funny - and birds funnier still!

Thanking you for your concern,

Cat Foster
rural Flemington, Polk County, MO
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