Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Note on Alabama

Since INK ROCK explores the narrative in connection to the world, I think it would be remiss for me not to say a few words about the tragedy that continues to unfold in my state. 

Two weeks ago on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, I awoke at dawn to the sound of an F1 tornado passing over my house.  Hours later, seeing only very minimal damage to our home (some siding torn away) and hearing of some more serious damage nearby, we watched the news and heard the meteorologist warning that the worst was yet to come. 

And then it happened.

That afternoon, an outbreak of F4 and F5 mile-long tornadoes traveled across Alabama, some of them at sixty miles per hour.  Nearly two hundred and forty lives were lost.  Entire towns removed from the map.  Entire towns.  In my yard, debris rained down, including a receipt from a store seventy miles away.  Thankfully, the south side of Birmingham – where I live – was spared.  But others were not.

There will be stories told of that day for a long time.  While on a chainsaw crew my friends and I heard one of them.  We had joined up with a random small town church group from Empire Church of God in Argo, Alabama – one of the overlooked areas - and visited a man to clear trees from his property.  He had terminal cancer and was six months overdue for a grave.  Before he passed on, he wanted to do something for his wife; give her a special place to remember the happy times in their life and so in his yard he built her a fine gazebo.  Sadly, it all was taken away by a tornado only days after completion.  Though his wife no longer has his gift to remember him by, I suspect she will always recall what a good man her husband was after witnessing sixty or so members of his church swarm to his side to assist him in clearing the devestation.

Alabama will be recovering from this event for a long time.  Supplies, able bodies, and money are needed desperately.  I encourage you to participate if you can.  Or donate.  Visit Help Write Now, or text “Tornadoes” to 50555 to donate ten dollars to the United Way of Alabama.  During a book signing, author Lindsey Leavitt had Barnes & Noble create a code (#10486058) that if given at checkout will donate ten percent of sales to victims.  Every little bit helps.

1 comment:

  1. Mother Nature is really showing her butt this year, especially down tornado alley.

    I've already sent in my donations, small though they may be, to several of the relief efforts going on. (times like this I wish I had hit the lottery.)

    Best wishes, and hopes for a peaceful summer to come soon to all those effected by this weird weather.