while checking my email sunday night, i happened to notice the AP headline “Storm Impacts Alabama Town.” anytime Alabama is mentioned in a headline, i tend to click it to see what nonsense my native state has involved itself in. i was surprised to find that the small town mentioned in the story was my hometown, the town where my family still resides. it was just a couple of hours after the tornado had hit when the story broke, so i clicked over to the Montgomery Advertiser to get more details. photos and snippets of information had been posted and i found that the tornado had ripped a path through familiar roads and right into my family’s neighbourhood up to the Wal*Mart and points north in a matter of minutes.
in the past when tornadoes tore through nearby counties, there would be a minor bit of debris and power outages. which is what my family experienced, although i wouldn’t find out until the next morning (lesson: always have a fully charged mobile device). all that i could see from the photos were houses that were smashed apart and dozens of shots of the broken storefronts in and around Wal*Mart. my family lives just a few blocks from where the destruction took place. and they emerged without a scratch and without property damage.
as of yesterday, it was determined that 800+ homes sustained damage from the tornado and 150 homes were lost. fatalities = zero.
i’ve been looking at photos of the destruction since sunday. they range from arty to genuinely heart-wrenching, with the inevitable schmaltz (American flags placed just so, dramatic shots of stuffed animals next to a framed portrait of a child). the cynic in me says some awards will be won for those photographs. and those awards aren’t going to rebuild the 150 lost houses or repair the others.
sometimes the wind can be a big German man, other times it’s a force that cannot be reckoned with.