I’ve seen several high school teams that have tornados but I have not seen any with tornado colors.  For me those colors are pink and silver.  Last year was my first and I pray last experience with the devastation of a twister.  I will never forget the landscape littered with the pink and silver of insulation.  It was stuck on the barbed wire, it took the place of leaves in trees, there didn’t seem to be anyplace that didn’t have it in some amount.  Houses that should have been there were not.  Other houses that looked fine were totaled out because they were knocked a few inches off of their foundation.

I remember it was warmer than it should have been, our front door was open waiting for our small group to arrive.  The rain had started and the TV was on because the sirens started to go off.  I was worried about the Gentry’s place because the storm tracker just showed Petit Jean WMA.  I remember the storm tracker showing Atkins and thinking it was near Campbell’s.  I called them and surprisingly they were ok; what I didn’t know was that they were just emerging from Marion’s storm shelter.  Joanne was still in Russellville.  It had grown dark and the roads were going to be clogged with EMS and debris- we couldn’t get out there that night.

The next several days were a blur.  It was amazing to see people show up and help.  It was an amazing thing to see the church pull together and people out of no where show up and help.  The first day it seemed nothing would ever get done.  By the third day it was hard to recognize the condition things had been in.  The blackhawks flew over (the scary words- “we from FEMA and we’re here to help) to do damage assessments.  Over 100 miles on the ground is an unbelievable trail of damage.  Its a strong reminder that whatever amount of hubris man boasts of we are still at the mercy of the wind and rain; but the wind and rain falls silent at one word of God.  Who are we? 

The cleanup has been finished, Marion got a new house that I had the privilege of dedicating.  Windows are patched and roofs put back together but there are still scars of that night that will not leave.  Those memories are also tempered by the experience of having so many people come out and help – lending a hand, giving whatever was needed and then some.