Sunday, May 01, 2011

it was a dark and stormy night.

what do tornadoes, a car load of deaf folks, and a dead deer have in common? my experience the night of the deadly tornadoes here in the South.

the husband and i had been in Nashville at Vanderbilt Hospital on a referral from his ear doctor. . we knew there was bad weather around, we'd driven in some hard rain on the 3 1/2 hour drive up that morning (baby J was with me, the little girls were with my in-laws back at our house).

the doctor appointment was an all-day event, as he had an MRI at 1:45, and then on to see the doctor at 2:15. but we soon learned this famous ear doctor was a bit like the wizard behind the curtain, and it wasn't going to be a quick visit. we went through 3 separate doctor 'interviews' before we got to see THE doctor finally at 6:00 p.m. . on a side note, it was all good news and his hearing has come back to a normal level. he will still suffer from hearing white noise, but for how long nobody knows. but it was a very encouraging meeting.

so we didn't get back on the road til 7:00 p.m. we got several phone calls from our parents encouraging us to please get a hotel in Nashville, as the storms were raging on just South of where we were. but, we trudged on through the rain and wind.

i was sitting in the back with baby J, my neck craning out both sides of the car expecting to see a twister form at any moment above us. . but all was fairly clear until we got to Chattanooga at 9:00 p.m. we stopped to get a burger at a fast food joint, and the husband ran in to order. i stayed in the car to nurse baby J, while listening to the radio. i heard the weather guys talking about the tornado just hitting the town about 20 minutes away, and the destruction that was left behind. the sky above me lit up constantly with lightning, and the wind rocked the car back and forth. i started to get. . well, anxious is a good word.

we decided since the tornado had just passed through, it was okay for us to continue on. so, we hopped back onto the interstate. and we didn't get far. just over the Georgia line we came to a stand-still. and we didn't move for an hour and a half. the more we sat, the more nervous i became. i started scanning the ditches around us, planning where would be a good spot to hunker down when the twister hit us. i tried to think which would be better: running with baby J in his car seat? or getting him out now and holding him, for a quicker exit. . i will never forget sitting there with these crazy thoughts going through my head.

finally, about 11:30 p.m., we'd inched forward enough that the guardrail ended in the median, and folks were pulling a u-turn there. you've seen morons do this. well, we decided to be a smart moron and watch others do it before we tried it. the car in front of us found the worst possible way and bottomed out. the husband got out to help, but it was a car full of deaf college students. they were walking around the interstate pointing to their throats and frantically signing to each other, amidst the wind and rain. it. was. crazy.

since they plugged the only hole, we maneuvered ourselves around them and made a speedy exit across the median and got the heck outta there. it was the best feeling in the world.

we continued south by another highway, safely to our town. the drive was pitch dark as no one had any power.

we were 3 minutes from home, at 1:00 a.m. the husband and i were surveying the wind damage and weren't paying close attention to the road when BLAM. we ran across a big. . dead. . deer in the middle of the road. it was like we'd run across a huge boulder. my head hit the roof of the car. good grief.

that poor deer. what a horrible way to go.

my inlaws took great care of my girls. they made beds for them in the hallway. everyone was safe and sound and fast asleep. i am grateful. and thankful.

the next day, i was sorta walking around in a daze..remembering everything, realizing how close we'd come to being in serious trouble. a close family friend from my childhood lost her husband in one of the tornadoes in Alabama. they had 13 children. he stretched himself on top of his children, and the last words from his mouth were crying out to God to protect his family.

i was walking around our back yard, holding baby J and watching the girls play, when i realized things looked a lot brighter. what was this? we had a big tree fall and we didn't even know it! the great thing, though, is we've wanted that tree gone for a long while because it tends to shade my tomato garden. unexpected blessing.

God is Sovereign. Praise Him.

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