When we got to Clinton, guess who saw the Clinton Antique Mall and wanted to stop.
I figured there might be a soft drink machine with a Diet Coke, so agreed.
The first part looked more like an interior designer’s store that your typical antique mall. We discovered we had arrived on a special day.
Free hot dogs.
I ran into a woman with one of those oval convention badges. It turned out to be DeKalb County Republican Party Chairman Mary Simons. I reminisced about the lumber dealer who used to be county chairman in the 1970′s. Conrad Hultgren, she said.
We talked about Tom Johnson, who went from the appointed DeKalb County auditor to Governor Richard Ogilvie’s Director of Local Government Affairs. That lead to Tom’s uncle, Stan Johnson, who represented part of McHenry County in the 1970 constitutional convention and, next, to another constitutional convention.
Simons told me that her family was from Madison County and had bought late 10950′s Republican crook State Auditor Orville Hodge’s home. People kept asking if they had looked for money in the walls, she said. (Michael Howlett won the office after that Republican scandal.)
In any event, on the way home, it was hard to miss weather alerts.
First, from WHOW, which has a new higher aerial with 6000 watts.
We listened to oldies, but goodies between Decatur and beyond.
Soon, we were glad we did.
After we lost WHOA, we found WJEZ-FM Dwight.
The coverage was just outstanding. I learned that Program Director Kent Casson, weather on call person, Todd Lowery, and Engineer Lane Lindstrom were the voices we heard.
The tornado had just passed north of Dwight, damaging some farm buildings. (Before we outran the station’s signal, neighbors were reported to be there helping clean up.)
There was no radio station on in the convenience store, so I asked her how she found out.
We kept going north, thankful that we had chosen the roundabout route, but mainly four-lane route home.
It took us west of the tornado.
I figured if we hadn’t stopped in Clinton for the better part of an hour, we would have encountered the tornado as it neared I-39 and, had we taken Route 55, we would have been near Dwight when it started doing damage.
Lisa Smith, of the Wheeling Township Republican Organization, took Interstate 55 home. She was between Odell and Dwight.
We took the Northwest Tollway from Rockford to the Route 20 Exit at Hampshire.
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All the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the tornado ones are worth the look.