|Pastel Art of James Southworth|
By Jean Southworth
October 8, 1996
I thought you might be interested in the excitement we had this morning beginning at 5:30 when a Curly's Dairy Delivery truck rolled down the hill and ended up in our kitchen. The driver had been out of the vehicle delivering milk when the truck's emergency break failed and it started rolling backwards down the hill. It hopped our curb, took out some small trees and shrubs, destroyed the front porch, and eventually landed just inside our kitchen and entryway.
Zach had been in the kitchen moments before this occurred, and the rest of us were still in bed, so we are quite grateful there were no injuries. Jim thought that we were having an earthquake and tried to scurry us all out of the house, that is, until we heard a panicked voice from outside call, "Are you OK?" Who's there, I asked? "Curly's Dairy" was the response.
The porch is toast, the eating nook is totalled, the front door is mush and a lot of the nearby support walls are worthless. We have a couple of neighbors who are contractors, and one them came running over when he heard the crash. He helped us shore up the house front so there would be no collapse. The rest of the kitchen is amazingly undamaged, aside, of course, from the nook area.
The kids thought that this was the coolest thing to happen since they could remember and I'm sure the entire student poplulations at Crossler and Salem Heights already know the story. Someone (we don't know who) even called the Statesman and they sent a photographer out. He took a lot of pictures, including one of me holding a big box of donuts that a friend had just handed me. Won't that be attractive?
Fortunately we will be well covered with the insurance and Curlys for damage, and I'm even lobbying Jim to make a few improvement on our own as we remodel. Right now there is simply a huge hole in the middle of our house. Good thing the weather is good today.
The Curlys driver was quite shaken up. After the initial shock and a few moments of tears by me, we all calmed down and then I began to see the humor in the situation. For example, on the front of the truck is a big painted slogan saying, "Here comes Curlys!" I'm sure there will be lots of jokes about door-to-door deliveries. The main manager came out and pulled out some free gallons of ice cream from the truck, and I got some funny pictures of Jim picking out the flavors.
Another thing that was interesting was that when we had the big earthquake a few years ago, Jim thought we'd been hit by a truck. Today he thought we were having an earthquake, but we were hit by a truck.
I have a great excuse now to miss all my meetings the next couple of days, although I'm not so happy that our San Francisco plans are now quite questionable. Jim still wants to go, but I'm thinking it would be better to postpone.
Jim's off buying more film and the contractors are already here doing some initial emergency repairs, specifically working towards filling up the hole with sheets of plywood and covering the destroyed door.
This will be a day we'll all remember forever, and we are happy that no one's hurt. Plus I'll have some great new photo album pages.
Christmas Letter 1996
When we had the Spring Break Earthquake, Jim thought our house was hit by a truck. On October 8th, Jim thought we were having an earthquake, but we'd been hit by a truck. Most of you have already heard about our special door-to-door delivery (see back), which caused our home some $15,000 worth of damage. We decided to make some improvements as well as repair, and our remodeler says we saved on demolition costs, although they don't normally use Curly's for that. Curly's driver is probably in therapy, as we hear that Salem customers cower in mock terror at approaching dairy trucks.
Portland radio stations reported that the crash gave Jim, a dentist, a new cavity to fill... in his house. Actually, Jim seems energized by his new project, and had a plan already drawn up for our builders by day two. Jim's doing a lot of the brickwork and siding himself to help save costs.
I briefly considered running away to Mexico for two or three months during the reconstruction, but instead decided simply to order lots of take-out food. To keep myself distracted from the noise and mess, I've kept busy with church activities, class volunteering, Girl Scouts, 21st Century Council, and some pro-life work. With Taylor in school, I have a block of time to myself for the first time in 12 years. I'm having a ball!
Now a 6th grader at Crossler Middle School, Zach is off the charts in height. His basketball coach made Zach team rebounder--"Just stand under the basket and put your arms up, Zach." When he's not busy growing, Zach enjoys youth group, video games and baked potatoes.
Animated Annie rides the hormonal roller coaster that is 4th grade. She towers above her classmates, loves reading, writing and children's church choir, and is following her mom down the photography path.
Taylor, a kindergartner, has decided that school isn't so bad afterall. Initially he had a bit of difficulty standing in line and sitting still for storytime, but now saves his bounciness for recess. Ever the gymnast, Taylor does somersaults UP the stairs.
Before we spent all our money on bay windows and Pergo floors, Jim and I took kid-less trips to San Francisco and Washington, D.C. While back east, we drove to the Tidewater area in Virginia reminiscing about Jim's Air Force days. Another great day of nostalgia was my dad's semi-retirement party in June. Joe Tyler continues his longtime streak as the oldest practicing Oral Surgeon in Oregon at age 65.
Christmastime is a reminder of God's grace, and our family particularly felt His hand of protection over us on October 8th. The Curly's truck could have easily come into our bedroom instead of the kitchen early that morning. We wish for you a year of safety, peace, and STORE-purchased dairy products.