Monday, January 23, 2012

What Tornadoes Do

I wrote this post originally a few months ago. Today is the one year anniversary of the April tornadoes that ripped through my state taking lives and devastating hundreds. I don't think we will ever forget that day.

I spent the day yesterday glued to my iPhone looking at the weather apps. My husband and I were driving back from a weekend getaway on St. Simons Island, Georgia. The forecast for the day looked grim and I was concerned, selfishly, that we would face a less than ideal drive home. The drive was fine, and the weather seemed harmless as we approached our home outside of Birmingham. They said the storms would come after midnight, when we were sleeping. Is there a more vulnerable time? Around 4:30 I heard the thunder and lightning. I looked to Twitter and Facebook to see what was happening. My county was under a warning. I was awake and aware. I got up to try to find out if schools were delayed. They were. By 5AM the weather at my house seemed benign. As I dozed in and out of sleepiness, I heard reports that there was some damage. Thankfully, my area of the burbs was unscathed. So many were affected; several lives were lost. People are again without homes, loved ones, and the things we take for granted daily.

It's January. It's supposed to be cold. Christmas trees have just made their exit. The children should still be nestled in their beds without nightmares of tornadoes spinning in their heads. The nausea at the sight of snapped trees from April's furious storms has just subsided. The god-awful sight of nothing where vivacious intersections held college homes and friendly neighbors has almost become reality in my mind. Even though I'll always remember what the apartment my husband and I lived in the first year we were married looked like, we'll never be able to drive by it with our kids and nostalgically say, "that's where we lived." It's gone. I'll never forget how the dead-eyed stop lights swung on the wire as I drove to work that April morning. Even though my current neighborhood and town was unharmed that day too, I'll never forget seeing the areas around me for the first time. Like an unfinished puzzle scattered along the earth branches, bathtubs, bricks littered the places I had walked my adorable puppy, eaten doughnuts and mapped out my schedule for freshman year, driven by a thousand times.

The effect of these storms has devastated so many over the last year and today. Alabamians, though bonded by the winds, search for reasons, truths, supplies, and hope. The cities have plans to rebuild, rezone, and get down to business. Each one of us has our own rebuilding plan. We have to. We'll keep our heads up through all of this because that's what Southerners do. We'll get our hands dirty for our neighbors and strangers because we might as well all be kin.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Number 14

Things I didn't do to celebrate the Alabama Crimson Tide's National Championship win:
 1. Get drunk (as suggested by a student)
2. Wait in line at midnight for a t-shirt (I might have done this last time.)
3. Shoot off fireworks (I hate them. I know, I know...)
4. Tattoo my body with images of Nick Saban (I'm sure it has been done already.)
This was my pre-game preparation.
 After the game, there was one rousing verse of Rammer Jammer, a few tweets, texts, and Facebook comments-then I went to bed. Exciting, right?

Monday, January 9, 2012