Thank You From the Bottom of Our Hearts/Fundraiser Recap

Silent Auction Fundraiser
This past Saturday, a couple of our good friends, Lee & Theresa Watson (that’s Theresa above), hosted a barn party and silent auction to help raise funds for us, and it really brought home just how blessed we are to have so many people who care about us.

The weather was fiercely cold. The driving conditions weren’t as bad as the day before, but still were dicey.  Yet did that stop the 60 or so people from coming? Oh no it did not!

Everyone bundled up, the Watsons fired up their wood stove and their propane heaters, and everyone stayed comfortable.  Plus, my heart was so warmed, I’m sure that helped thaw at least one person!

Silent Auction Fundraiser

Silent Auction Fundraiser
Bob & Terry Riley went to town cooking fajitas for everyone. Delicious!  These two have catered so many events over the years for us.  It was an honor that they would be willing to feed us again.

Silent Auction Fundraiser
The silent auction was filled with so many great items, donated by soooo many generous people and companies.  The auction was spear-headed by Beth Yount, who was assisted by Sarah Carney.  They opened the auction on Facebook the week before the event to allow for folks that couldn’t make the event, then put those bids on the sheets to start the bidding at the party.

Beth was also the bar tender, serving wines donated by several Missouri wineries (and a few beers too). I’ve added a list of all the auction/party donors to the end of the post if you’d like to check that out.

Silent Auction Fundraiser
And there was live music all afternoon provided by a variety of musicians from near and far – many of whom have played here at the winery.  We were so flattered that they all came and performed at no charge for all the auction attendees.  Bill Poss & friend came all the way from Effingham Illinois to entertain along with locals The Idea Men plus our house band this year – Karl Eggars & Lukas Simpson.

By the way, Lukas’s wife makes the best coconut cream pie ever!  Angie couldn’t make it but sent along four pies to eat and auction. YUM!

Silent Auction Fundraiser
Julie, Mike and our grandson Micah came down to deliver baskets and keep us wrapped up in love (plus laughing at goofy faces)!  These two loaned me their camera that night, so all but one of these photos in this post were made by me playing around with their gear.  Thanks guys!

Silent Auction Fundraiser
Clyde’s mom, Maxine even made the festivities for a couple of hours. She and I had to leave early, but she got all the great-grandson love she could during the first part of the evening!

Silent Auction Fundraiser
If you’ve ever shown up at Peaceful Bend on a Sunday, you might recognize this crew.  Amanda & Steve are our Sunday regulars along with their friends Aaron, Tarynn and Dan. They enjoyed a few games of Farkle in the barn loft in between checking on the silent auction bids.  I have to apologize to these guys for not bringing our doggies along too – hopefully they enjoyed the Watson’s dogs that night.

Silent Auction Fundraiser
This goofy moment was captured by our friend Jean Brandenburg.  Our hosts generously gave Clyde a new tool belt to replace the one he lost.  Of course, he had to put it on so all the ladies could check out his, ahem, tool.    belt.    😀

Clyde and I have really missed seeing people, so Saturday ended up being a true comfort.  We are so honored by all the generosity and support that everyone has given us these last few weeks.  The gofundme campaign exceeded it’s goal, and we have so many to thank for that as well.

Plus all the notes, emails, and social media outreach has lifted our spirits during one of the darkest moments of our lives.  Thank you all so very much.   Every time we sit and process everything, we are in tears. I truly hope that you are surrounded by as much love and caring this holiday season as we’ve been experiencing. Thank you again.

Here is a list of all the donors I could come up with for the silent auction and barn party.  If I’ve missed you or left someone you know of out, please let me know and I’ll add them here!

Lee & Theresa Watson, hosts

My Vintage Varia (Paula & Ray Harvey)

Julie Brand, potter

Red Moose Vineyards

Edg-Clif Farm & Vineyard

Murphy’s Place

Trout Lodge & Camp Lakewood

Stone Hill Winery

Meramec Scenic View Lodge

St. James Winery

Taryn Walk

Susan & John Zornak-Stevens

Public House Brewery

Mary & Steve Wade

Living the Dream, INC

Diane Engelsdorfer, massage therapist

Sarah Carney & John Sunderland

Ronica Clark and Jennifer Hutchinson

Karen Laboube, painter

Homestead Iron

ALPS Brands

7th Annual John Hartford Memorial Festival

Bill & Marilyn Startz

Simple Folk Productions

Willy & Rob Bowness, potters

Farwig Farms

Nancy Quinn and Kathy Shoemaker, quilters

Elliott Ranney, musician

Bill Passalacqua, musician

Delrio Designs

Jessica Stroh, beautician & stylist

Julie Gill

Painted Sky Pottery, Kate Sachs

Cheri Groves

Joey & Erika Crider, artist

Crystal & Gerald Earhart

Sophia Ulmer, artist

Debbie Laboube

Skip Doak

Creekside Fudge & Gifts

Sybill’s St. James

Turtle Earth Healing and Arts

Ozark Ed (Smith), fishing lures

State Beauty Supply

Connie Smith

Bem General

Environmental Energy Consultants/Solis Farm, Dan and Deborah Payne

A Grace Day

The Improv Shop

Dressel’s Public House

Hope Montessori Infant Toddler Community

Barbara Gibbs Ostmann

St. Paul’s UCC, Gerald, MO

LaChance Vineyards

John & Virgina Watson

Robller Vineyard Winery

Cuba Arts Council

Odds & Bends, Greg Land

Mary & Rusty Young

In the Niche, Mary & Nobby Ota

Mound Ridge Retreat Center

Tim and Veronica Schuppan

McGinnis Wood Products

 

One Week Later

Clyde created a quick sign the morning after the fire

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Clyde and I are waking up this morning to a much different scene than we did just one short week ago. I have to admit we are still trying to wrap our minds around what happened last Friday, but I can tell you one thing: without all of you out there, we would be curled up in a ball in bed, crying over our woes.  Now the tears we have are those of gratitude for everyone’s kindness and concern that has been shown to us over the past week.

So many of you have asked about what happened and what our plans are, that I wanted to update you with as much as we know.  Plus, if you haven’t seen the ruins of the winery on facebook, I’ll share a few of those shots below. (If you just want to remember Peaceful Bend as it was, I’ll give you a warning later before we get into the pics.)

Many of you know already that Clyde and I have been living and taking care of his Mom in the cottage on our property for most of this year.  Last Friday, I woke up early – somewhere around 3am – and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to just get up and head to the winery to get a jump start on the day.  When I stepped out onto the porch of the cottage, I could see the winery completely engulfed in flames.  I ran inside, woke up Clyde and called 911 at that time.

By the time the fire crews arrived, the building was basically gone and fire had spread into the woods uphill from the winery.  They were able to quickly contain the forest portion and also limped our tractor out of the way of the burning building.  By around 5 or 6 that morning the firemen had put out the worst of the hot spots and left saying that what was still there would continue to smolder for several days.  It was too hot and still dark, so there was little the fire marshal could do to investigate at that point.

We ended up going inside and sitting, numb to what had just gone on, for at least an hour or two.  My parents were staying over at Murphy’s Place, so eventually I went over to tell them what happened, and to use my neighbor’s computer to let you all know too.

That day and throughout the week, you all flooded in messages of support, love, encouragement, and condolences. Our facebook page and our email was filled to the brim, and neighbors began stopping by to offer us anything they could.  I don’t know what we would have done without each and every one of you that reached out in any manner.

You’re messages were the lifeline out of our despair. Because of your support, I can say that we will rebuild.  I don’t know how or when yet, but we will rebuild.

The insurance fire investigation began on Tuesday and is still open, so there isn’t anything we can do for clean up yet.  We’ve spent the week getting things like bank cards, driver’s licenses, instructions for what to do next, etc underway.  We do have a phone hooked back up to the winery number.  It goes directly to voicemail for now, but will try to return calls as quickly as we can.

So many are wanting to know what you can do, so I am sharing two fundraisers that are going on.  If you are ok with giving money and you live nearby, our friend Lee Watson is hosting an evening of music, food, and a silent auction at his barn in Cuba, MO on December 17 starting at 3pm.  For more information about that, please click on over to his facebook event page here.  For those who aren’t nearby, another friend named Lea Baker has set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations here.

For those of you who can’t give money for any reason, but still want to do something for us, I do have a huge favor to ask.  I can’t tell you how much it’s picked up our spirits and propelled us forward to hear from you all during this dark week, and I’m guessing that we’ll still have some hard days ahead. Could you choose a day in the coming weeks/months ahead and send us a note, email, fb message, phone call or stop by if you’re in the area?  If you don’t know what to say, you can share a memory, you could encourage us, drop a line saying ‘just checking on you’, let us know what you’re up to, relate your favorite bad pun, or tell us to get off our butts and get more wine ready for you dangnabbit!

Thank you in advance.

Ok.  I’m about to share photos.  For those of you who want to remember the winery as it was, don’t scroll down.

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The view from the driveway.

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What’s left at the top where the front porch, tasting room entrance, and crush pad used to be.

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Looking down into the main wine cellar from above.

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Looking at the section of the building that faced the lower wine garden. Friday we had a recycle bin, but by Saturday that had burned away along with the bottom of the steps.

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A wider look from the lower wine garden. As you can see, Maggie and Pepe have not let the fire dampen their spirits!

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Our new tractor. UGH! Clyde loved this thing. The fire crews were able to start it and move it out of the way, so we have hopes this can be repaired.

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What’s left of the 2016 vintage.

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Two pieces of pottery that my mom gave me years ago somehow survived falling through the storage room floor into the wine cellar. Plus this melted piece of ??aluminum?? looked like modern art, so we might save it. Call it our Phoenix.

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As tragic as all this feels, the sunlight is still golden in the wine garden, and the pavillion is intact (plenty of chairs even!).  Friends and family are even more precious to us now.

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Pepe’s bed is still intact, but he’s definitely been missing his dose of treats this week!

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And my sense of irony is still intact. I found this in the hay field above the winery a day or so after the fire.

I think that’s all I’ve got for now. We meet with the fire marshal this morning and after that, I’ll try to get an email out to our newsletter subscribers. Again, I can’t thank you all enough for everything – we are truly blessed to have you in our lives and are looking forward to toasting you with a glass of our wine again.