The following is my newspaper column that will be published on Wednesday, February 6th.
It seemed like a good day to me. It was overcast; it was a bit chilly, maybe not too chilly for most folks but I'm a senior citizen who takes blood thinners; it was chilly. I rose early and took my two cannines for a walk around the Quik Trip down in Adairsville. Once they were worn out, did I mention I'm in exceptional shape for a senior citizen, I directed them back into the car. And then I headed inside to purchase my daily cappucino fix.
After a quick detour to the Adairsville Post Office to mail a letter (Why does a letter mailed in Adairsville arrive at its destination one day sooner than when mailed in Calhoun?), I headed to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. On the way to the grocery store I mentally planned my gourmet delicacy for the evening. And then it was back home again.
The faithful cannine companions followed me inside and each headed to his perspective sleeping place. Prescription and groceries put away, I pulled out the vacuum cleaner, plugged it in, hit the own switch. In a display of unity both dogs jumped up, turned, and headed to the door. I paused the machine and let them out. In no time at all the place was back to reasonable order and cleanliness.
Out on the front porch a glance showed it was still overcast; it was still somewhat chilly, but not as much as earlier. With the exception of the sun's absence it was a turning into a nice day. And then it happened.
My smart phone rang. I answered to hear a warning from the Storm Warning System. The description did not sound good. I walked back to the porch. I looked south toward the area the warning indicated. I saw nothing. But it was there. And then it happened again.
My phone rang. “Dad, are you okay?” I told her I was. I asked her why she was calling. “A tornado just went through Adairsville; they said it's headed your way.” I told her I was okay. I headed back inside and checked the news. And then I heard it, “Farmville,” and “Sonoraville.”
I whistled up the dogs, opened the back door of the car; they jumped in. Toward Farmville I headed. I couldn't get there. The traffic was backed up for miles. I took a detour. It didn't help. The traffic was backed up for miles. The phone rang. A church member who'd been across the street from the Sonoraville schools when the tornado went by gave me a report. There was nothing I could do that day. I headed home.
Friday I headed back toward the destruction. I was able to drive through the most damaged areas. The power of a tornado is indescriable to someone who's never seen one. Down in Adairsville amid all the damaged buildings and vehicles one of those two foot diameter steel poles that holds a billboard was bent like a twig. Down Highway 53 near Plainview Road houses were gone.
It was depressing. It was until I saw something. Everywhere I looked people were helping. Cutting limbs, combing through debris, preparing food, giving comfort. Asking, over and over, if there was anything they could do. There was. And they did it, willingly, gladly.
Despite the terrible destructive power of a tornado the one thing it cannot destroy is humans being truly human.