Monday, April 13, 2009


Normally, I don't have great faith in humanity. The news is constantly filled with horrible stories - shootings, child abuse, pirates, and all that jazz. Manners - a simple smile, thank you, holding the door open for someone, saying yes, sir or yes, ma'am - seem like an alien concept on most days. Every now and then, however, something happens to restore my faith (okay, not all the way, but somewhat) in humanity.

One of those events was a random act of kindness that occurred around Christmastime when the person in front of me in the drive-thru at Starbucks bought my coffee.

On Good Friday (not so good for a lot of people) severe storms moved through Tennessee (and other parts of the country as well). Tornadoes ripped through Murfreesboro (about 30 minutes from Nashville) and caused mass devastation. Two of my co-workers live in Murfreesboro and were thankfully spared the wide-spread damage caused by the tornadoes. Not everybody was so lucky. Still, in the face of chaos, the human race again surprised me. See below email:

I am sending this to you all to be more efficient. I appreciate all the calls and e-mails asking how we are.

The tornadoes spared my house and Horse Science, and the university as a whole. It is a miracle that more people didn’t die. The devastation is terrible and very widespread in our town.

I did have one of my girls from my team lose her house. I am attaching pictures of her house so you can get an idea of what this storm did. We spent most of today helping her scavenge through the rubble to find any belongings that she could. Everything the family owns is now in our two-horse trailer. Tomorrow we will sort through it all and split up all the clothes which are soaking wet and were scattered all over the place. We will get them washed and cleaned for them.

Her house was wiped off its foundation, as you will see in the first picture, and exploded in the front yard of the house across the street, which you will see in the second picture. Her sister’s bedroom was on the roof of the house across the street. Her dog and cat, who were in the house at the time, were missing. Today about 4:30, on a trip back from the horse trailer with the wheelbarrow, our barn manager Jess Schultz saw a little boy with a dog on a rope. She asked him if that was his dog and he said “No, do you know whose it is?” and it was Elaine’s dog! We were all doing all right till then, but we all cried at that point. And then, thirty minutes later, the neighbors found her 17 year old cat in the rafters of the house across the street, where Elaine’s house had landed! He must have got deposited in there by the tornado, and was hiding till then. So we cried again.

I have to tell you some other things. I am very proud to live in Murfreesboro, TN. People came out to help everyone, walking by and leaving cases of water, bags of sandwiches, pizzas, snacks, boxes. Some people set up grills on the corners and cooked hot dogs and hamburgers and held up signs “free food.” People who didn’t know the victims came out to carry boxes and help sort through the rubble. Churches dropped off big plastic totes, trash bags, toilet paper, cups, cleaning supplies, and people came out with their chain saws and bobcats and tractors to move the trees out of the way, and help pile things up out of the streets. Tree services are out chipping limbs, and guys were on roofs of houses that might be salvaged nailing up tarps and nobody is charging anything today. The streets were lined with cars of people who walked into the blocked neighborhoods to help. Storage places are giving a free storage unit for a month to everyone who needs it.

So, little young me (okay, not that young) gets all teary-eyed reading this. What can I say, I can't make it through an episode of Little House on the Prairie, or the Waltons for that matter, without crying. Anne of Green Gables - well, just have the Kleenex box handy, because I'm gonna need a slew of them. The tornadoes brought out the best in people in the worst of situations. Humanity might be on a steady decline to chaos, but there is still hope. People do still care. It's just often hard to find those caring people in this crazy world we live in. I just wanted to take this time, this post, to show that people do still care.


p.s. Sorry, I didn't include the photos that go along with the above email. You can click here to hopefully get a slide show or go to I'm not sure how long the slide show will be up, so if the link doesn't work . . .

No comments: