|My Grandmother's neighborhood last summer
|My nephew Corey and me last summer
|My sister-in-law Joyce
A disaster like this could wipe some cities off the map. Not my city. When I say Tuscaloosa is like no place else on earth, I'm not joking. Remember, I have lived nearly every place else and it's Tuscaloosa that pulses through my veins. Why? Most of my family is long gone from there now. Could it be the meandering Warrior River and it's misty liquid sunsets? The historical BAMA campus and their National Champion Football Team? The lyrical downtown, with it's fabled old movie palaces are the stars twinkling in this bright magical city. But it's none of these things that keep me falling in love and now weeping for my town. Though all of these are stars in it's crown, what keeps me so mesmerized is the people here. Filled with different races, different political beliefs and different religions, hell it's even got a few Auburn fans... its a diverse small town. You don't find that very often unless its a world renowned college town like Tuscaloosa. And as different as everyone is, the very fabric, the nature of Tuscaloosa is to exhibit great togetherness. We help each other no matter what. So they will not be down for long here. No, Tuscaloosa is resilient to put it mildly. And filled with grace under fire. A quiet Southern grace. They have set up, organized and neighbors are helping neighbors. Church volunteers riding through the ravaged neighborhoods and handing out power bars and water bottles to people who were total strangers last week...that's my Tuscaloosa. Tuscaloosa is not just any city. The people who call it home and those who have left and still call it home, like yours truly, know this. I find it hard to describe to outsiders. It's the fact that generations of families have all lived here for a hundred years and so what for me is a thing of pure myticism, we have all become FAMILY. And what do families do when one is in need or hurting, we all hurt together, and then we pull together like nobody else on earth. So I know we will not be down for long. It is not the way of Tuscaloosa to accept defeat on any level, not just on the football field. It will take time...and hundreds of millions of dollars...but the people that call Tuscaloosa home..ALL of us, will do anything in our power, to put us back together...as best we can. Because we understand the speacialness of this place. The businesses will rebuild, probably in the same spots. The homes lost will be rebuilt, new subdivisions will form. AND FOOTBALL SEASON will come like a beacon in a darkened sky to give us all something to cheer for, to smile about, something to help us feel normal again. Never before will football season be looked forward to like it will be this year! I saw Coach Saban visiting fans in the hospital in some pictures the other day. They needed that more than he knows.
The helplessness one feels when so far away is painful beyond description. I wanted to run home immediately and volunteer. Flights out were the most expensive I have seen. I decided to raise as much money as I can and I will come home soon and be part of the re-building. I have to. I am running home to hug and soothe and be soothed and help. My job of raising my son is changing as he heads to college in August and when I kiss him goodbye, I will drive the 2300 miles to my sweet home Alabama and help Tuscaloosa. Because I love this place like no place else on Earth.
|The Alabama Crimson Tide "A" hangs is window of a destroyed car near campus
Please give generously. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.