In Alabama you’re either “one of them,” (A fan of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa) or an Auburn fan. There is no in between. But after Wednesday’s tornadoes, even that doesn’t matter. Sure, fokes (that’s how the Montgomery Advertiser spells it and has for decades) are still sporting their loyalist garb, but as a whole, they are one now, and at this time of incredible devastation, people are banding together, whether they know one another or not, and they’re coping, trying to clear their roads and yards of tree limbs, debris, and anything else, and it’s an incredible thing to be a part of. It’s truly one of the best things about Alabama.
Yesterday morning I was able to leave Huntsville with enough gas to get me to my mom’s in Montgomery. Part of me wishes I’d stayed up there. Helping pump gas at The Triangle Grocery in New Market were two guys. One was a friend of the owner who had been at the station for a couple of hours helping pump gas to those of us desperate to have it. He wasn’t getting paid. Had no power himself. But there he was. The other was a school teacher who was just learning he and his wife, a fellow teacher, didn’t have to worry about school until at least Tuesday.
When we, (Tom and Karen Taylor) drove for cover Wednesday afternoon about 4 p.m. many of the roads had been blocked earlier in the day by fallen trees. It wasn’t relief coming from Washington, DC, the White House, the Alabama Department of Transportation or Huntsville County Crews that had done it. It was Alabamians with chainsaws.
On the way north while I was going south, I saw leagues of electric utility trucks with various stickers on their doors all heading into the thick of it. Lines of unmarked, dark black Alabama State Trooper cars with blue lights flashing and running 10-17 in the left lane (That means they were running code to North Alabama; aka, they were hauling ass) were headed into the heart of it. (As a side note, this also suggests they were higher ups heading into the fray, because lower ranked troopers don’t have brand new black cars….)
And then there was a time or two when I saw just plain old dump trucks and pickups rolling north, too. They had bulldozers on the trailers they were pulling.
At the Publix yesterday morning in New Market/Meridianville the doors were open. The electricity was off, but they’d found a way to run off emergency power and even could do electronic debit/credit card purchases. But they were open at a time when they were needed most. And the employees there said they were going to be there until the store closed or they had run out of food to sell.
Alabama is going to recover from this incredible, Biblic-proportioned devastation. Some have said areas of Tuscaloosa, Cullman, Phil Campbell, Cordova, and Pleasant Grove in Birmingham look like they’d been hit by atomic bombs. And while there will be help from the federal government and the state, a lot of healing and rebuilding had already begun before those very much needed and appreciated assets could be deployed.
That’s the way things happen in Alabama. Even if you’re helping a fellow Auburn fan, or one of them Bama fans.
- Watch: Massive Damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama After Tornadoes Hit the South (newsfeed.time.com)
- Death toll rises in southern storms (charlotte.news14.com)
- US storms kill 174 across 8 states (worldtruthtoday.com)
- Tornado Emergency in Alabama (skydancingblog.com)
- Praying for Those Endangered by Tornadoes (fellowshiproom.org)
- Picking up the pieces after a tornado strikes (capitolhillblue.com)
- Tornado Outbreak Levels Parts of Tuscaloosa Alabama (PHOTOS, VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
- A Taste of Germany in Tuscaloosa (jahippen.wordpress.com)
- Tuscaloosa Tornado: Video, Photos (thedailybeast.com)
- Video: Devastation in Tuscaloosa From Massive Tornado (shoppingblog.com)
- Obama To Visit Tornado Region As Toll Rises (news.sky.com)
- Alabamians Form Possibly the Most Diverse Coalition Ever to Save Forest Land (news.change.org)
- Tornadoes kill 128 in Alabama (thesun.co.uk)
- Daybreak in Alabama (hopeseguin2011.wordpress.com)