Guest blogger: Loralee Anderson, a character from MURDER ON MUSIC ROW
Nashville is busy getting ready for tomorrow’s Country Music Marathon. Of course Nan’s gonna run in it, but she’s only doing the ½ marathon this year. Emma’s planning to run/walk in the half too. Me? I’m gonna hand out bottles of water. One year I got to direct the runners at one of their turns, but there were some complaints when I talked to this guy—just for a minute—and some of the runners missed the turn. Water duty’s okay by me. I don’t have to get up near as early.
I sure hope it’s less eventful than last year. It all started fine and dandy, but then came the rain. They’ve done the marathon in rain before, but last year the streets were starting to flood. Then there was thunder and lightning like you ain’t never seen. The race officials decided it you weren’t to a certain spot by a certain time, you had to run the half even if signed up for the full. I tell you it was crazy as a hornet’s nest down there. Less than a 1000 runners finished the full, but almost 25,000 finished the half.
People were bitching and moaning ’bout it all over town. But by the end of the day when it was still raining and more and more streets were closed even to cars ‘cause of the rain, some of the bitching stopped. ‘Course, as you know, that turned into what’s now being called “The Great Flood” or the “1000 year flood” but at the time everbody just thought it was a little rain. Turned out to be more rain on the first two days of May than we’d got all year—over 20”—and was one of the worst natural disasters ever.
We’re still rebuilding from that flood. Opry Mills Mall, the high-end designer mall next door to the Opryland Hotel was under water. It looked like the top half of a building sitting in the middle of a lake. They’s just now starting to rebuild it. There was talk about tearing it down, but I don’t think that’d sit well with the locals ‘cause they tore down Opryland Theme Park to build it in the first place. They’re expected to keep it open. There’s people who still ain’t back in their houses yet from that flood. Lots of businesses went out of business. It was nuts, but somehow Nashville survived stronger than ever.
So day before yesterday we started getting more rain. Rivers were flooding. The tornado sirens were going off and I swear it was green as a leprerchan outside. That’s how you know things are ripe for a tornado. I’m not scared of a little bad weather—usually—but they were making a big deal about it on TV and even I got spooked. I went over to Emma’s ‘cause she’s got a basement. Nan kept working right through it though she did say she and a couple of her clients went under her house to the crawl space a time or two. I wish I could’ve seen that. I told her she missed an opportunity to charge extra for a mud bath but she didn’t think it was funny.
Emma’s got a good-sized basement with a TV and her girls have a playroom down there. While they watched DVD’s and played, me and Emma stayed glued to the television. They’d preempted all the shows—even Oprah—and were just doing weather. Turns out it was a good decision to hole up in the basement like that. Today’s newspaper says these were the most devastating storms in over 40 years with almost 300 people in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi getting killed. Alabama got hit hardest, but it was bad all over. The paper says some of the tornados (there was a bunch of them) were on the ground for twenty or thirty miles and had speeds up to 200 mph. Some weather expert in Texas said they started in Mississippi and lasted over 300 miles, which is a long ways even for what they call these super cells.
We all managed to get out safe and there weren’t no damage to any of our houses, thank the good Lord. Between these tornados and the flood last year, I think I’m gonna take my vacation the end of April and first of May next year.
The forecast looks good for tomorrow’s Country Music Marathon and they’re already starting to close down streets. If you’re in the area come on out and cheer the runners on—it’s lots of fun. I’m gonna go down to the Red Cross now and donate some blood. When I can’t figure out what else to do and I feel helpless, that’s what I usually end up doing. You can join me there too if you want.
‘Til it’s my turn to blog again, I’ll say bye. Stay safe out there and if you see a tornado for God’s sake take cover and if you’re driving get in a ditch. Those things don’t play around.