Brooke went to Grandma and Papa's house for her first sleep over and our friends' daughter, who has sat for us in the past, was watching the other two at our house. Before we left, Corey asked the sitter if our 10pm end time was flexible. She said, "just as long as you come home, I'm fine with whatever".... We haven't yet decided if her reply or Corey's underwear jinxed us, but something did!
This event was held at an old family farm that is now used for special events. They had a huge barn that they used to display all of their auction items. I had fun bidding on a few things.. even knowing I would be outbid. I can't compete with these big spenders! It was sort of like Ebay to me. At some point you bid just to up the ante... (and get more money for the B & G club, of course!).
Here was the casino area. The weather was gorgeous and this entire event was outside.
I should have taken a picture of my little plate of real food, but I only took one of the dessert. Yum!
One of the entertainers. He's part of the group, LeFreak.
Gotta love glow sticks!
As we were visiting with friends, we were interrupted a few times by the blaring of a train whistle. The farm was RIGHT next to very active train tracks. You not only heard the whistle, but they were so close you heard the trains going bumpity bump over the tracks. It was also like you could hear the speed of the train, if that makes any sense. In fact, in order to get on to the property, you had to drive over the tracks- and this was the only way in and out.
I was talking to a friend and noticed yet another train fly by, but thought it odd that it didn't blow its whistle. Then all of a sudden we all heard a loud thump. I can't find the words to express this sound, but it was something I will never, ever forget. It shook my insides and I immediately knew that something awful had happened, even without seeing anything. What happened next made me feel like I was in a movie. People started getting up from their tables and began running towards the parking lot and tracks. Men in slacks and suit coats, women in dresses and heels, all began fleeing. No one knew at first what they were running to, and we were all beside ourselves when we saw what had caused that horrible sound. The train that I had seen speeding down the track just seconds before had crashed into the back of another train that had been stopped on the same track. The train and its two engines derailed along with five other train cars from the parked train. It was UNREAL. Corey had taken off (I had never seen him run so fast in his life, actually) and disappeared into the frantic crowd of onlookers. I lost where he went and began to panic. I was yelling his name into the crowd and got nothing back. I just kept making my way through the crowd and towards the wreckage. I had NO idea where he was. I was crying and completely freaking out. On the way to this event we had actually talked briefly about what I would do if he died before me. You know, that stupid conversation about how you want to be buried, etc. I don't like this conversation or these thoughts, so I quickly ended it. And then, here we were with this travesty.
This derailment happened right where the driveway to get to the farm was. EXACTLY where the driveway is. One of the engines was on part of the driveway and some of the crushed cars were on the other side of it. The engines were still running and that is also a sound I'll never forget. I kept thinking that they could explode at any minute and we all would have been hurt. Someone then told us all to move back and get back from the tracks and wreckage. As we were all backing up I noticed men coming out of the engine that was closest to us and jumping off. One of them was my husband. I ran to him as he slipped and slid down the embankment a little, and I helped him up. He was frantic, his adrenaline pumping, and I was a basket case of tears and worry. He kept saying that he had to see if anyone was there and help them, that he couldn't just be a bystander if someone was in there. I was, selfishly, upset that he would do that and risk not being around for our family. I love that his instinct was to help others, but I was so very worried and upset that I couldn't find him!
It was obviously a little chaotic as lights and sirens began showing up, on the other side. We all realized very quickly that we were, in fact, stranded there. No way to get out since our only entrance/exit was now blocked with tons of derailed railroad cars. This happened at 9:12pm. The venue had a crisis management plan, but train derailment was not covered (I'm sure it is now though!). Since we were stuck, the party went on and eventually people loosened up a bit... or a LOT. Not me, however. I was a mess and just became less of a mess, I suppose. I just wanted to be home and out of there. I wanted my babies. I was also a little freaked out about not knowing how long we would be stuck there since I am a nursing mom and hadn't planned on that!!
In the end, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the police and fire departments, we were able to get out. There had been rumors of us being there all night and them having to clear a path for us to get across the tracks and then having us bussed places, or having friends pick us up. Rumors that we wouldn't be able to get our cars out for a week. Instead, we were able to get into our own vehicles around 12:30am and form a loooooong line. Fences were cut down in spots and a path was cleared for us to drive through a field at the back of the property. From there we got on to the cart path at an adjacent golf course and wound our way around and eventually out of the golf course and onto a road. When my wheels hit that road, the words "free at last" rang in my head!
This event is an annual thing and I'm pretty sure I won't be going back.... By the grace of God, no one was hurt in this crash. It is truly amazing! I talked to another person at the party who was out on the driveway smoking and said he saw the engines come right at him, stopping several yards in front of him. One of the valet's was also very close and one of the crushed train cars nearly hit her own car. A police officer I talked to had JUST walked across the tracks, seconds before the crash! So scary, but so thankful there were no injuries.
Here's some pictures: It may be hard to tell what you are looking at. The tracks go from left to right. there is one engine derailed on this side of the tracks that you can see (with the 4285 on it). The other engine is derailed completely perpendicular to it (you can see the back end of it, in front of the other engine). The crumbled green and red tain cars were the last cars on the train that was stopped on the tracks and they were stacked on top of each other (green was on top). Both of these were completely off of the track. The little stop sign you see in the last picture is where the cars leaving the farm were supposed to stop at before crossing (it's on the driveway).
And here's a few pics from our adventure through the field and the golf course. They had put out cones for us to stay insdie of while driving. It was really crazy.
So I had mentioned Corey's underwear earlier. Apparently green is NOT lucky for him. The other two times he had worn his green underwear TCU lost. This time a train derailed. He believes the undies are cursed and promptly threw them away once we finally got home!
Since this happened I'm a little leery of trains. It will wear off, but for now a train whistle makes me a little queasy. I swear the first time I heard one the other day I also heard that same thud sound in my head. It was weird. This happened a week ago and the clean up continues.
Here is the latest article on the crash.