On Friday morning, my dad and I both woke about 6:00 a.m. He went for a walk and while he was out, a friend, Wayne brought over his frozen food. My parents’ friends, the Reeds, had power in the small town of Somerville and also had an empty deep freeze and had told my dad to bring his food over to their freezer. So, Wayne had brought his food over so we could take it too. My dad put the remainder of his lawnmower gas in his car (both of his vehicles were low on gas) and we loaded up the frozen food and headed out to Somerville, 25 miles away. On the way, we listened to the 8:30 a.m. press conference which had become our primary source of information thanks to the radio station airing it each morning. Speaking of which, allow me to say what a great service WDRM 102.1 FM did in covering the storm and the press conferences and providing tons of information to those of us without power. I normally don’t listen to this station, as it is country music and I’m not a big fan, but I listened every day the power was out and am immensely grateful to the service they provided to the community.
We had heard that morning that some of the gas stations in Lacey’s Spring were opening and we were going to pass through that area on the way to Somerville. Sure enough, by the time we got to Lacey’s, there were long lines at the gas pumps. I managed to snap this picture with my phone. I’m not sure how well you can see, but the line was at least a mile long.
After having to call the Reeds a couple of times to get directions and turning around no less than three times, we finally arrived to drop off my parents’ frozen items. We loaded up the freezer and had to bring a few things back with us because there wasn’t room for it all. We headed back to town and had plans to stop by the store and pick up a few items. We were also in need of a battery operated radio and first stopped at a Wal-Mart in south Huntsville and discovered it was closed. The gas station there was open and there was a long line there as well. We then went to Publix on Bailey Cove Road and bought some snacks and dog food. The dog food was on sale in last week’s Publix ad and I had already planned on getting some. The downside is that all my coupons were at and are still at work and I couldn’t use the $1 off coupon I had planned to use. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal, but I did wish I had those with me on more than one occasion.
Our next stop was Target in Jones Valley; they had no radios and we bought nothing there. We then went to Publix in Hampton Cove and bought some little cakes from the bakery, some D batteries, a small flashlight, charcoal, and some other things and then we headed back to the house.
After we returned, I had a hot shower, my parents have a gas hot water heater and we were very blessed to have hot water the whole time the power was out, and then took a nap. That afternoon, it was time for grilling again. This time we had pork tenderloin, grilled corn, and grilled Texas Toast – it was all really good! We only had one big meal a day and only snacked at other times. So, needless to say, I was very thankful for that one big meal each day.
While we were out grilling, my parents’ neighbor, Mr. Savis, came over and told us he had an extra line on his generator and offered to let us plug in. Mother had mentioned to him earlier that her wheelchair needed to be charged and so he kindly came over and offered us his extra line. We were able to plug in the power strip I had bought at Lowe’s the day before and then were able to plug in my mom’s wheelchair, the fridge, and also some of our cell phones. It was truly a blessing. We were able to have some cold food and drinks and keep some of our frozen food frozen. Neighbors helping neighbors – that’s the theme these days and it has been very humbling and heartwarming.
While we were eating, my brother showed up and told us the lines at the gas stations close to us were not that long. We then decided to go and fill up our cars and also take the gas cans and fill them up for use in Mr. Savis’ generator. I went over and got Mr. Savis’ gas can and we all headed out. Before we left, The Huntsville Times was delivered, the first newspaper in a day and I was very excited because finally we could read and see what was going on right around us. I took the paper with me and while waiting in line for gas, began to read and discovered that the home of a lady I go to church with (Colene) was hit by one of the tornadoes and completely destroyed while she was inside with another lady I go to church with (Juanez) and also Colene’s grandson. The pictures in the newspaper were unbelievable; when you have no TV, you really have no idea of the total devastation that has occurred and so we were thankful to finally receive a newspaper so we would have some idea of the complete and total destruction that happened right here at home.
We only had to wait for gas for about 39 minutes and that went really quickly thanks to the Foo Fighters and the newspaper. The gas station was only taking check or cash and my dad had forgotten his check book. Luckily, I had brought mine and was able to write a check for the gas for all three vehicles and two gas cans. (Yes, my dad paid me back.) After we filled up, we headed back home and had our nightly Bible reading and waited for dark so that we could commence our nightly card game of Phase 10. I’m happy to report that I won on Friday night, and went to bed a winner!
Want to know how you can help the tornado victims of North Alabama? How about sending a gift card? Last year when Nashville was hit with flooding, Lindsay Ferrier collected unused gift cards through her blog, Suburban Turmoil. She had great success with this and was able to pass out envelopes of gift cards to people who lost their homes in the flood. I would like to do the same thing for the people of North Alabama. To people that lost their homes, a gift card would be a big help. Whether it’s for dinner at a restaurant or to a home improvement store or to a clothing store, it doesn’t matter. These people will be able to use any form of gift card you are willing to provide. If you have any unused gift cards laying around or want to purchase some gift cards to help, please email me and I will let you know how to send these to me so that we can help the people of North Alabama start to rebuild their lives. I will post updates as to how many gift cards I get and how many families we help. Thanks in advance and spread the word!