Marysville Ripped Off the Map–A Poem and a Prayer for Tornado Ravaged Southern Indiana

March 4, 2012 Chester, NJ

Southern Indiana is God’s country: rolling hills, sparkling lakes and farm ponds, and green church spires which rise from the cornfields like the oxidized torch of Lady Liberty back here in NJ.

I graduated from St. Meinrad College in 1988. Whenever I remember my years in Southern Indiana, I recall the many kindnesses of the people there (okay, and their “Derby Pie”, chicken-fried steak, and white gravy, too!). When I would go running on Indiana Route 545–or along the dirt backroads lined with early corn, each pick-up truck to pass would wave to me–like they were my friends. Twice when my car broke down as a student, residents actually came out of their homes to help me fix it–I didn’t have to wait on their stoops while they called a tow truck. They were such a hardworking, faithful, and family-oriented people. My heart and prayers go out to the beautifully kind people of Southern Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee–but in this blog–especially to the people of Marysville and Henryville, IN. I know they will rebuild through prayer and by helping one another–the best way to rebuild. Thank you, Joplin, for showing us all how to band together last May…it was–and remains–an important lesson.

“The March Tornadoes:
God Bless, Southern Indiana and Marysville…”

© 2012, by Kerri McCaffrey

I remember
a giant rainbow
on the road to Ferdinand,
Route 162
through Bretzville
and Maltersville—
corn and hay,
small uncut stands of trees—
tiny islands-full of peace
floating in dry fields.
I would imagine farm kids
running the great distance
out to such groves
to play with toy trucks
or to imagine they were
sailors, lost at sea—
The girls in overalls
or picking buttercups
in white dresses
until their tin-cup pails were full.
Yes, I remember
America at her best
in towns along the Ohio River
five country songs
(and some station breaks),
from Louisville.

But twenty years later
I was not there for the twister
which took Marysville from the globe—
tore the blue collar shirt
right off its back.
Double wide trailers, silos,
its, “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco” barns
reduced to scrap.
Not there for the wall cloud—
black as a closing curtain.
Not there to hear a frenzied mom
call her kids in
from those little groves,
where they pretended
to the bitter end,
“Abandon ship!”
they might have said.
And so began the sprint
across the meadow
perhaps a mile or so,
the wind threatening
to lift them like kites—
Their mother praying to Mary
and meeting them half-way,
showering them with kisses—
carrying them to cellars.
All this seems like our country,
today.
What started as a watch
has become a warning.
Call the kids in—
gather them close.

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