Wow....what a day, what a day. Started out as a really weird day, and got weirder and weirder as the day went on. That morning, for some reason my boys decided to sleep late...like 10:30 late, and I woke up to my older brother walking through my house. He came over to check on us, because no one could get in touch with us....because I was taking advantage of this joy that I do not get to indulge in very often, that is called sleep. Joe and my mother had been trying to call me all morning, apparently. That morning we had some bad weather, and they were just thinking the worst, I guess! My brother quickly left, because he had to go pick up my neice from school....surprise, surprise, the schools were letting out early for the bad weather that was to come. I remember sighing, and saying, "really....is it that bad?"
I immediately called Joe, asking him if he thought I should pack up the boys and head to my parents' house in Pleasant Grove. We like to go there when there is really bad weather, because we don't have anywhere to go underground here at our house. Plus, it gives me an excuse to go hang out with my folks! : ) I remember it taking forever and a day to get to my mother's house, because we couldn't find any drive thru in Hueytown that was not jam-packed. All we wanted was a Happy Meal people!! It was like 1:00 in the afternoon....where are all you people coming from?!? I still had yet to watch the weather, so I had no clue what was to come, or how bad this weather was going to be. I just remember the tone in Joe's voice when I asked him if I should go to Mother's, all he said was "YES".
So, off to PG we went with our Happy Meals! Yay, we get to spend the day with Mi Mi!! I even took a couple baskets of laundry over there, so I could catch up on some laundry! We were watching the weather the whole time, and I just couldn't believe how many tornados were popping up. My Dad got home around 4 or so, and Joe actually got to leave work early, so he was there about 5 or so. My brother Davy, who also lives in Hueytown also came over with his wife and 3 kiddos. We watched the tornado rip through Tuscaloosa, but it still didn't seem that real to me...it just didn't sink in I guess. The last thing we heard before losing cable, was that this monster of a tornado was headed straight for Hueytown/Bessemer. Now, when the tornado in 1998 came through, Daddy could hear it from his house, so he thought it would be wise to go out on the front porch and "listen" for it. Just then I heard, "Y'all come here!" Over the trees we saw the darkest, ugliest cloud you could imagine creeping up. We heard a roaring noise....that's all I needed, I was gone, both kids on my hips, straight to the basement, in the deepest corner of mom and dad's basement that was completely underground. I had both of my kids in the headlock, one wrapped in each arm, hunkered down like you learn in elementary school! My sister in law, Erin had her kids right beside us. Just then, our ears started popping. I knew it was here at that point. Then Joe and my brother Davy grabbed all of the cushions off the couch, and covered me, Erin, and the kids up. My mom and dad were huddled up with us. We were all packed in that corner of the basement.
Just then, the sounds that no one should have to hear will forever be burned in my memory. The loudest roaring that you could imagine...not like a freight train, more like a jet that was getting closer, and closer. It was even hard to breath there for a minute, from all of the pressure I guess. I just kept praying a silent prayer, "God, please protect my babies, please protect my babies and my family....you can take me, just don't let anything bad happen to my family." With the sound of the roaring, I then started to smell fresh dirt, and the strong smell of pine. I knew it was bad. And then, as fast as it came...it was gone.
Words can't described what I felt when I looked outside....everything was gone. I felt like I'd been punched so hard in the stomach. I posted alot of pictures of what we saw on the way out of the neighborhood that next day. Just complete and utter destruction. I am just thankful that we were able to walk out of there. There were so many people that lost everything, even family members, and I still pray for them daily. My home town of Pleasant Grove may never be the same, but what I saw that night, people coming together of all ages, gender, race...doing everything in their power to help one another. That was truly amazing.