MAYFLOWER, Ark. (AP) — On the banks of Lake Conway, Michael and Christina Saville had what they regarded as their perfect home, a suburban retreat that attracted an abundance of animals.
They say they will again, too.
The Savilles lost their roof during a tornado Sunday night in Arkansas, and their front porch is missing, but they remain focused on what they need to do to rebuild the home they've had for eight years.
"We waited so long for the right home and this was it," Christina Saville said Tuesday, crying at the thought of what she had lost. "Right now, it's not what it was, but it was gorgeous and in time it will be again."
Sunday's storm killed more than a dozen people in Arkansas as it roared through some 80 miles of the state. The severe weather was part of a complex of storms that killed at least 35 across the Plains and South since Sunday.
The sleepy communities of Mayflower and Vilonia, just north of Little Rock, got pummeled — heaping more misery on towns recently beset with misfortune. Four people died in a 2011 twister that hit Vilonia, and last year Mayflower suffered through a pipeline rupture that sent 200,000 gallons of heavy crude through streets and lawns and threatened a popular fishing hole.
Yet despite the din of chain saws and backhoes, a peaceful sense of place abides.
"We just like the quiet neighborhood, being able to go out on the lake," Michael Saville said. "It's just real quiet and peaceful. We love the wildlife that visits — turtles, ducks, geese and beavers."
There's no self-pity rife among the towns' residents. Many traded life in a larger city for good schools, a little bit of land and the feeling of knowing who lives next door. Several vowed Tuesday to salvage what they can, haul away the rest and construct something new.