There were lots of brave faces and humor Monday as residents of the tight knit-neighborhood in north Fordyce cleaned up after a likely tornado — but the tears were never too far away.

There were lots of brave faces and humor Monday as residents of the tight knit-neighborhood in north Fordyce cleaned up after a likely tornado — but the tears were never too far away.

“I found my marbles,” said Don Smith, holding a bag of marbles that belonged to his grandmother and a bag she made to hold them. “Don’t want to lose those.”

Smith was going room-to-room in the family homestead along Arkansas 8 he had used as an office and for storage, sifting through debris in the house where he grew up, looking for any keepsakes he could salvage.

Click here to view a photo gallery of damage left by the storm

On Monday the house’s roof was missing and a huge tree had smashed into the back end of the house — the result of what the weather officials believe was likely an EF2 tornado that blew through the area on Sunday evening.

“Just a few,” Smith said, seeming more deflated as he talked about how many items he had been able to recover. “Most of it went up in the air last night.”

Looking on as several family members pitched in to salvage what they could and saw up the downed trees in the yard, Don Smith’s wife Eileen Smith was trying to keep it all in perspective.

“No one lost their life, but really, it’s a mess,” Smith said. “I’m trying to have a good attitude about it. … Things like that, you just learn to cope, and we are grateful that no one died.”

The property with the original Smith homestead had been divided up among the generations that followed. To the right of the family house, Don Smith’s brother’s office was largely intact.

But up the road, a house that had been the Don and Eileen Smith’s first home was completely flattened. And up the hill behind the farm house, the mobile home where the Smiths’ son, Russ, lived with his wife, Kim, and four of their children — was in pieces and difficult to reach because of all the downed trees.

The Russ Smith family was at home when it became clear that the storm was headed their way. When Russ Smith got a weather alert on his cell phone from a television station, they decided to leave.

“We usually stay home, but we just decided to go this time,” Kim Smith said.

They rode out the storm at Kim’s sister’s house, which was still close enough that they could hear the storm going by.

The storm went through at about 7:30 p.m., and Kim Smith returned at 10 p.m. to gather some items, but the full extent of the damage didn’t hit her until she saw it in the light of day on Monday.

Kim Smith watched as two men sawed up the tree that had fallen on her husband’s car.

“I just can’t think,” Kim Smith said, fighting back tears. “I don’t know what to think. We’re just going to do it day by day.”

An add-on Russ Smith had built himself onto the front of the house had been lifted up over the main house and dumped in the back yard, depositing toys, clothes and building materials into a giant mound. Russ’ boat was leaning among some trees in the distance. Children’s bicycles laid on their sides, mangled and lifeless under a layer of pine branches.

“It sucked our shower curtain out through the skylight,” Kim Smith said. “It’s in the backyard.”

Near where the shower curtain landed, Eileen Smith pointed out that — in typical tornado irony, where one thing is taken and another spared — a dead tree that was tilting to one side and the family had been meaning to cut down for years was still standing.

And as Eileen Smith led the way down Ford Drive and Hillman Drive back toward the highway, she met longtime friends and neighbors who told stories of another typical tornado feature: neighbors coming together in a time of need.

Only two walls remained standing on the only brick house in the neighborhood, and in the minutes after the storm, neighbors were on pins and needles as they tried to locate its occupant, leaving their own devastated houses to search the woods. They were relieved when they got a phone call that she had been picked up minutes before the storm by her son.

Farther down the road, another couple left the house to buy cigarettes, only to come back and discover the clothes on their backs were all they had left. Their neighbor, Sandra Green, set about finding clothes from the home she had shared with her husband Vern for 46 years, which had four holes in the roof and parts of other peoples’ houses in the front yard.

County Judge Jimmy Jones said that he was thankful for all the help, both from within the community and from without.

“We are very appreciative of the people who came and helped — all of the agencies, all of the volunteers,” Jones said.

Red Cross was housing people in a hotel; Entergy was working full force to restore power to the area; and the Office of Emergency Services was also on the scene.

“Our main priority today is to get the power on and get it to where people can get in their driveways so they can start to clean up,” Jones said. “We’re trying to help the people all we can and in any way we can.”

The Fire Department had pulled a woman from her home where she was trapped after two trees fell on her home, but she was not seriously injured.

Mayor John MacNichol described the biggest injury as a scraped knee one woman received trying to climb out of a damaged house. He and Jones were supervising the county and city workers and equipment that were out working full force to clear the roads.

“City and county, we’re all working together to get this done,” MacNichol said.

Click here to view a photo gallery of damage left by the storm