The Day the Chimney Came Down

The Day the Chimney Came Down

Horse Manure

Now that we live in Texas, we often have tornado watches, warnings and the like. We have even seen straight line winds of incredible speed. But, once upon a time, in Quinton, NJ, we were visited by a late summer storm that rivaled any. 

I was working 60 miles away for IBM, assigned to Insurance Company of North America ( INA ). During the ride home, I had encountered some brief rain storms, but had no idea what awaited at home. 

As I approached route US 49, (AKA Main St) I was stopped by my buddies in the fire company. The was a major traffic jam caused by trees and wires in the road and a minor car crash or two. We were on duty for traffic control and general cleanup. For the next couple of hours, practically the entire complement of the fire company and ambulance squad was at work. 

My next door neighbor, Bobby asked for a ride to the firehouse to retrieve his car and we set off for home about a mile or so away. I arrived home first and in my house were two very frightened wives and a couple of kids.  Bobby's wife Kathy and their children and Geri. 

With the loss of electricity, high winds, noise, rain, hail, lightning and thunder, they were providing moral comfort for each other. They were crying and generally upset and fearful since Bobby and I had not come home. Bobby had been returning from work as the siren went off, so he hadn't been home either. On top of that, there was no way to call ( no cell phones nor satellite phones in those days ), so they had no way to know if we were alright. 

Everyone calmed down and they related that during the storm at one point, they had heard a loud noise from the roof and the house had shook. So, I went to investigate. Wow, our brick chimney had been twisted off at the roof line and fallen on the roof and rolled to the ground. Central heat had been added to the house after it was built and the chimney went up the side of the house and then 10 feet or so higher to be above the peak. That meant that 10 feet of brick and mortar had crashed on the roof and was now lying in the yard. I looked up into the attic through the access panel and sure enough, we had a hole in the roof. 

Geri then said she had been out riding on her horse and had headed home just ahead of the storm. I asked "where's the horse". "Out in the garage", she replied. We had a detached garage that was about a car and a half wide, so we only parked the family car in there and my commuter car in the driveway. So, I hadn't seen that the horse was in there. The garage was roofed with a corrugated metal roof and the sound of the rain and hail must have been tremendous. 

Indeed, when we went to check on him we discovered horse manure all over the side area of the garage where he had been sequestered. It appears he had been scared xxxxless. 

Davdan @ 2008-2018