By Dennis Richardson
While thinking back on the brevity of life we decided to take a week off and head to warmer weather. Jokingly I told the staff that I would “send back some warmer weather”.
The warmer weather arrived back home, just as I had mentioned, but I had not the faintest idea that it would bring with it one of the most deadly tornadoes that many of us can remember.
In central Florida the days were sunny accompanied by temperatures in the 80s and even 90 two days. We were rocking along enjoying our stay when this text message came through on my iPhone early Tuesday morning.
We were stunned Tuesday morning to see the news about all the damage and death that hit our communities shortly before midnight Monday and on into the wee morning hours.
Not only that, but our new home is right in “tornado alley” as we call it in Camden. I think it strange that tornadoes seem to follow the same path, give or take a few yards.
Normally I do not turn on the TV in the mornings unless there is something that I know is happening. Social media is quick to make us aware if something needs further study. Most of the news channels are reliable and this early in the week our hometown newspapers had not published yet.
That text message had me turning on the TV Tuesday morning, and just about every morning for the rest of the week. “Tornado hit our house,” is all it said.
That is startling news to hear any time, and more so when you’re 800 miles away from home.
Later that morning we learned that the path of the tornado went through the north part of our subdivision and uprooted (and snapped) a couple of dozen really old and tall trees. It also damaged some pretty nice homes.
Further east on its path is where the most damage was. Indeed, in touched down in my friend’s neighborhood where one man lost his life when his home was totally blown away.
Then we saw all the destruction in Nashville and the death toll in Cookeville, 80 miles east of there.
All in all, it was a great time to be away while also being an anxious time as we counted down the days until our plane would bring us back home. We do not understand why these things happen. They just do. We can blame God, but I will never believe that He was responsible. And isn’t it amazing that Tennessee continues to live up to it’s nickname “Volunteer State”? Thousands of kind-hearted folks have chipped in to help pick up the pieces for those who were hit with devastation and loss of life.