Monday, May 2, 2011

All in One Day

*disclaimer: I don't claim to be a writer, but I felt the need to tell this story in this manner.  The times may not be completely accurate, but they are close.  Also, for those of you who may not know, Shelley is my sister.*

5:30 - Wednesday Morning    Location: Arab, AL

They gathered in their bathroom floor, a scene common to those who live in 'tornado alley.'  The storm passed and they began their normal morning routines.  This morning, however, was a little different because Dee had spent the night with Jared and Shelley the night before.  Jessica, Dee's mom, is a close family friend, actually, more family than friend.  Dee normally spent the night with Rhonda, Jared's mom, whenever Jessica had to work.  Rhonda had called Shelley the night before to let her know that her mom, MawMaw, had been having trouble breathing.  MawMaw has been very sick, so the doctor asked Rhonda and her husband, Steve, to bring MawMaw down to Birmingham early Wednesday morning, which meant that Dee would spend the night somewhere else. 
After they emerged from the safety of their bathroom and their morning routines began, they received word that Dee's school was being delayed.  So, they took their time getting ready.

10:30 Wednesday Morning   Location: Cullman, AL

Shelley and Dee arrived in Cullman, which is located 30 minutes southwest of Arab.  Cullman is where Dee attends school and Shelley works.  They find out once they get into town that school has been cancelled and Shelley's office is closed due to bad weather.  However, since they were already in Cullman, Shelley decided to go by the office to get a little bit of work done.

2:00 Wednesday Afternoon  Location: Hulaco, AL

They are now at Steve and Rhonda's house in Hulaco, which is 10 minutes west of Arab.  Jared, Shelley's husband, his brother, Jorden, and cousin, Lucas, are all around, but not at the house because they are very interested in the storms.

3:30 Wednesday Afternoon

The sirens blared and the TV screams, "IF YOU ARE IN THE HULACO COMMUNITY GET TO COVER NOW!"  Shelley grabs Dee and her keys and races out the door.  Several members of the Sharp family all live close together on Hyatt Bottom road, close being a relative term when you live in the country.  Behind some family's house is a storm shelter that Shelley is trying to get her and Dee to.  She flys down the gravel driveway and squeals onto the road.  The only thing racing through her mind is a prayer asking God to keep them safe.  She makes it to the long gravel driveway that leads to the storm shelter.  She throws the car in park and grabs Dee's hand and runs to safety.  There to greet them were several friends and family already in the storm shelter waiting.  She takes a seat with Dee in her lap and little cousin Ethan at her side.  Just then another car comes racing up the gravel driveway and 3 guys, Jared, Jorden, and Lucas, jump out yelling, "If you want to see the tornado, now's your chance!"  Several of the adults step outside while Shelley and some others stay inside with the kids.  The rain is getting louder and the wind stronger.  Everyone runs back into the shelter and little did they know theirs lives would be changed when they walked back out.

4:00 Wednesday Afternoon

The howling of the wind around them is so loud even the biggest man has to cover his ears.  Kids are screaming, but they are deafened by the whistling of the storm.  Jorden looks up to witness the top of the cement shelter shaking and revealing light from outside.  As the tornado moves further and further away, they slowly begin to open their tightly shut eyes and allow their hands to move away from their ears.  When they are sure the tornado is completely over, they step outside.

4:15 Wednesday Afternoon

They squint to allow their pupils to adjust to the brightness of the outside.  They walk up to stand a top the storm shelter and when they do they are in awe.  The damage they can see is at least half a mile wide and swept over the places they called home.  The sounds of crying and debris flapping in the wind was what she heard, but what she saw was the house she had been in only minutes ago was completely gone.

4:30 Wednesday Afternoon

They drive their tattered and beat up cars down to where Steve and Rhonda's house once stood.  With tears in their eyes and prayers on their hearts, the begin picking up the memories that lay scattered and torn before them.  Someone had to call Steve and Rhonda and tell them this devastating news, but, of course, like any mother and father, they were simply thankful their family was safe.

Later that everning

Another twister came through, but once again nobody was harmed.  Steve and Rhonda returned from Birmingham at about 1AM on Thursday morning to find their house, their home, completely demolished.  They were able to save some clothes and even two big tubs worth of pictures, but the journey to re-build their life is just beginning.


I was down there on Saturday and Rhonda was just so thankful they had found Shelley and Jared's wedding and engagment pictures.  So, many people came by to offer food, drinks, gas, ice, manual labor, etc.  They had all been staying at MawMaw's house, which is less than half a mile from Steve and Rhonda's.  However, Shelley and Jared now have power at their house, so the whole clan moved to Arab. 
MawMaw is still in the hospital in Birmingham, which makes this devastating event that much worse.  Please keep the Sharp/Humphries families in your prayers through these many hard times they are facing.

Thanks for reading,

"My Soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my Rock and my salvation.  He is my fortress.  I will never be shaken." ~Psalm 62:1,2


Antkt said...

Wow, I hadn't heard the story yet. Sounds like the movie twister. You are very, very good at writing. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me cry!! Every time I think about what happened, I just start crying! More for thankfulness that they were all ok! Loved what the guys said...that is exactly what Lee would have said!

soccermom said...

That's an interesting story. I'd not heard it all. Not even why shelly was at steve and rhonda house. Who is steve and rhonda? Are they Shelly's inlaws? I saw the pix on fb but it only said steve and rhonda there too. I gladd no one was hurt and they all made to the shelter. Thank God for swift actions.

Kimberly Washer said...

Sorry I guess I should have explained who Steve and Rhonda are...yes, they are Shelley's inlaws.

nat said...

Since I am just today back at work, this is the first time I found out about this. Sorry to hear all of this but glad everyone is okay! Amazing story! I am collecting gift cards through my blog to pass out to people. I would love for you to mention it as well so we can try and get tons of gift cards to give to storm victims!