Monday, May 2, 2011

Swept away

Today's post has a dual meaning. It's both sad and happy and revolves around how I spent my Saturday.

The first meaning of course is in relation to the tornadoes that "swept away" much of Alabama last Wednesday. I received a phone call from my good friend Jessica on Friday asking if I had plans for Saturday yet. I told her I was trying to figure out how I was going to help the tornado victims, to which she responded that I could go with her and a few other people that go to church with my parents to the small community of Shoal Creek to help clean up some damage. I said, "Done. Where should I be and when?" So early Saturday morning I set out to meet them with my car loaded up with as much supplies and tools that I could manage. We finally made it to our destination and rode down a tree strewn road looking for homes that needed the most help. We happened to stop at the Sanders' residence and I can't imagine a better place where we could've stopped.

I don't want to give out too much information about the Sanders' family since I didn't ask permission to share their story on my blog, but I will say to please keep them in your prayers. They have truly experienced loss. I feel very thankful that we were able to help out what little we could. I mean, we did a lot, but how much is ever enough? We were able to recover some personal belongings and photos and cards that surely had special meaning to them. We went through most everything and was able to help make several piles of things to keep, throw away or burn. We stopped to take a break around lunch and as I looked up I realized that the number of people now on their property helping out had at least tripled in size in the past couple of hours. I also happened to meet the "grandad" Sanders who survived the storm (somehow?) though his home didn't and he was the sweetest, most appreciative man. I still regret not standing up to hug him as he came over to shake our hands but I was truly in shock that I was meeting someone whose home was on that property.

Anyway, here are just a few pics of the destruction to help put it all in perspective. And if you are in the Birmingham area and want to volunteer, here's a great resource on how you can serve. You can also help the Tuscaloosa tornado victims by purchasing a car decal from my friend Taylor who owns Spruce Boutique. The decals are only $3, and $2 goes directly to the Tuscaloosa tornado relief efforts. For more information/to order, you can send her a message here.

Here is the first Sanders house we passed as we walked down the driveway.

Here's some debris as we kept walking down the driveway.

And here's "what's left" of the second Sanders' home. 

A big mess.

Here was their foundation.

And then I turned directly around and took this pic of the floor.

It's hard to tell, but this tree and its root was huge. Trust me. 

On a much happier note, I ended my day with an impromptu Avett Brothers concert with a spectacular view from the 3rd row! My friend and former guitar teacher Tim had been with us helping clear debris on Saturday and we were talking about the Avett show that night at Samford that I was going to miss. Lucky for me he came through (big time!) with a last minute offering of a free ticket to the show so I got ready in 10 minutes flat (no kidding!). It turns out that the reason the ticket was available was because its original owner lived in Cullman and were still dealing with the tornado destruction there and couldn't make it to the show, so of course I couldn't accept the ticket for free...even I'm not that much of a cheapskate! So I insisted on writing a check for the ticket amount and the show itself was worth every penny anyway! One reason was because I saw/heard them play "Swept Away" live for the first time ever. Such an appropriate title. Love those Avetts.

Here are some pics I attempted from my terrible phone. Wish I had known cameras were allowed! I could've got some great shots. Oh well, next time. (yeah right, when am I ever going to be 3rd row at an Avett show again?!)

Ok, I promise to get back to my "typical" blog editorial tomorrow, but I had to make one more tornado post since it's all we can think about here in Alabama right now.

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