(Written Saturday, May 8, 2010)
I've been away for awhile. Exactly two weeks ago, April 24, a tornado tore through my neighborhood & some surrounding areas around 10:20 p.m. Last night I started writing a post describing that night. I didn't finish it, and now I have decided that it is just too lenghty and probably does not convey all the feelings that were running through my mind that night and the next day and the several days afterward. I'll leave it as unpublished, but there to read as a memory.
I will say that we are all okay. There were no deaths, thank God! Our house is still standing, with only minor damage, which is more than I can say about so many of the homes around our town. We are without air conditioning (except for a small window one in the dining room) which is due to the huge oak tree beside our house being uprooted. The central heating & air unit was a casualty of that. Insurance is covering it, and some guys are coming to install one next week...once we get some more dirt to fill the hole left by the tree.
You should have seen how our community came together and helped one another. Maybe you did. There were so many people willing to go above and beyond what anyone would ever expect. I had friends that brought us food, did some laundry, lent us a generator (we were without power for a whole week), and offered their homes to us. Our high school and middle school were also hit. There were students all around town helping others by removing trees, debris, and destroyed furniture for the victims of the EF-3 tornado. I'm sure that those kids have learned more life lessons in the past 2 weeks than they have learned in all their years of school. There is a goodness to humanity. We don't always see it, but if you had come to Albertville, Alabama the week following April 24, you would have seen it everywhere.
Our fiercest high school rivals, one city over from us, even pitched in to help by selling t-shirts that said "Pirates Help Aggies," as opposed to their "Beat Aggies" shirts that they always wear when we play them in sports. This was one of the gestures that really touched my heart. I feel bad for our senior class, one of which is my son, who had their year cut short and disrupted by this tornado. I feel bad for our old high school building that took the brunt of the damage & was probably the reason that the newly constructed/in-progress building only received minor damage, how ironic for it to go out in such a way after all these years.
There was another bit of irony that we discovered. On April 24, 1908, a "cyclone" a.k.a. tornado hit downtown Albertville, exactly 110 years ago. How eerie! We got out our old Discovering Albertville's Past book and read about it, by lantern light, on one of those nights without power. Unbelieveable. Yet, it happened, just as this had happened. I wonder if those people pulled together like the ones I saw. I'm sure they did. I'm sure they saw the goodness in humanity, too.
Thank you, Lord, for only property damage. Thank you for showing us that all differences can be put aside to help someone in need. Thank you for keeping my family safe. Thank you for all the volunteers, city workers, and others. Thank you.
Go HERE to view a slideshow I put together of my neighborhood.