Tornadoes and My High School Reunion: A Week of Sadness and Happy Times

Wednesday, April 27, brought a series of tornados which hit the Southeast, my state of Alabama was particularly hard hit.  Small towns of Phil Campbell and Hackleburg in Northwest Alabama essentially were wiped off of the map.  The death toll in Phil Campbell was 28 with a similar number in Hackleburg. Many home owners in Hackleburg lacked insurance to replace their homes if they survived. The number of people volunteering and the amount of help given locally has just been amazing. Please keep them and the other areas of that have made national news in your prayers.

My area of the Shoals suffered a lot of tree damage.  I was awakened that morning with a call from Weathercall, a weather warning service from a Huntsville station that tornados were spotted in my neighborhood. My next door got the same call, which was repeated three more times during the day. After listening to the weather radio going off constantly, I took out the subscription and have it set just for tornados in my immediate area.

After the first rounds of storms, I got back to getting ready for my Deshler high school XL reunion garden visit. The local John Deere dealer came to picked up my tractor and the driver asked if I liked flowers when he pulled in the driveway. I think when he first got on the tractor, he thought, This woman doesn’t have it in gear or has the parking brake on.  When he couldn’t get it to go forward or backwards, he said hummm.  Then he noticed I had a broken bracket attached to the hydrostatic drive pedals and hauled it off. Win one for this woman.

My next chore since it was raining again was housecleaning.  Between one of the storm bands, I decided to run to town and get a haircut. As I was backing out of the garage the warning siren up on Colbert Heights went off, and I pulled back into the garage. Man that system formed fast.  This system is the one which caused most of the causalities and destruction across the state. 

After another tornado warning call, I went back to my house cleaning and crawled up on a chair to replace a couple of light bulbs in the ceiling light in the kitchen. My knee went out, and I’m standing there in pain trying to figure out how to get down without falling.  I couldn’t put any weight on it and hobbled to the closet to get my crutches. By this time my knee was three times its normal size.  What’s going to happen next I wondered? Now my garden and my house won’t be ready.  The next day I called for an appointment at the orthopedic clinic and was told that it would be next week (after the reunion) before I could get in as all the doctors were out of town or at the hospitals helping tornado victims.  “That’s okay,” I told her. “I’ll take the appointment for next week.”

Mom came over and mopped the kitchen floor, helped clean, made cookies, cakes and lemonade, and mowed the front yard, fussing that she’ll be glad when my reunion is over.  Moms are delighted when they are needed, but like to make you think otherwise. 

My neighbor Lasonia made cookies and helped with some cleaning in the kitchen and replaced the light bulbs in the ceiling light. I worked on things I could do such as making more lemonade, and tea, furniture dusting, sink and toilet cleaning. My Auburn sign I had one of our patients husband made to get my visitors still hadn’t been mounted on the arbor at the end of the house, and I found a large hook and between Mom and myself, we got that hung temporarily. Leonard came Friday afternoon and worked on weeding the bed at the end of the house. Friday evening I got my tractor back and crawled up on it and started mowing the lower forty leaving my crutches where I could retrieve them when I parked back in the garage. I had about a half acre left when I noticed I was almost out of diesel.  I pulled up beside my can of diesel and called Mom and asked her to come over and hand it up to me.  I expected a lecture, but she just grinned and said, “Well you have your toy back don’t you?”

Saturday, the day of the reunion, some of the flower beds still hadn’t been weeded, the daylilies I said would be in bloom weren’t, but at least the yard was mowed.  The iris and peonies were in bloom later than usual. Over three inches of rain had washed away the walkway I was working on, but nothing could be done now. Gracie, my long time friend from work came and brought brownies and helped set up the tables and helped out during my class visit.  I was still on crutches and she was a blessing. In the end we had a great crowd, and they really didn’t care what things looked like. Some of our classmates we hadn’t seen since graduation. They just had a good time visiting with old friends.

I had decided that my knee wouldn’t be able to take the walking needed to get to the building that our dinner was located in and wouldn’t go to Tuscumbia for it.  Peggy one of my classmates and her husband George came to the rescue and picked me up and brought me home afterwards.  A great time was had by all, and some of us at our age can still get down and boogie.  Lasting friendships are what it’s all about. Oh and some of us still can get down and boogie.

  • Published on May 2, 2011
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