This has been a heartwarming and fun visit to my home. A visit that will be all too short but I am taking it all in and taking those memories home with me.
My first stop in Nashville was all about hitting Green Hills Mall, while I can’t afford a lot of stuff in there, it is a great place to visit. I needed a haircut since I was looking worse than a ragamuffin. My long hair, that I have taken great pains to grow out, well, it wasn’t behaving at all. I am sure that my new coworkers think I must not take any effort in getting ready to come to work because it is always out of control.
Gone is about four inches of hair, I should have gone with three max, but I was in a mood. I went to the spa in Macy’s for a new ‘do and left with a lot less hair and I fear some major issues in getting it to listen to me. But it will grow back out sooner than later, so I will work with it until it does get a bit longer. And I will remind myself not to go so drastic next time.
The rest of the day was spent hanging out with Marti and the furbabies I am here to keep company while my BFF Stacey and her husband enjoy some time with her family up north. Friday was that one crazy, hectic day spent with my old coworkers and a meeting with my wonderful, too good to be true former boss.
It was also announced that my current office had donated $650 from a bake sale I coordinated for my three former coworkers that had been hit the hardest from the flood. I spoke with one of them, a lady that has never really cared for me. I had been genuinely concerned for her since she has had a run of bad luck in the past couple of years. She had tears in her eyes and thanked me for the money, thoughts and prayers. We discussed tearing down drywall partially vs. completely as well as remodeling work that I have helped with in the past. While we may never be friends, I think she finally sees that while I am, yes, a control freak, that I do care about everyone. It was a nice feeling to have. While I haven’t been able to donate a lot of money to the cause, I have been able to spearhead a bake sale and pass word around about the devastation in Nashville.
I also got to see what happens when a thunderstorm comes up quickly and the rain pours down so hard that no umbrella will help shield you from the rain. That rain came just as I was leaving the office to head back to check on the animals before an afternoon with the ladies from my old office and watching a movie with friends. The standing water came on so quickly, much quicker than it ever did when I lived here. I guess Nashville still hasn’t quite dried out yet from the Flood of 2010.
Today I took Shadow, my stinky boyfriend (aka my BFF’s dog) on a R-I-D-E, oh wait, I can say ride here since he doesn’t read! He was beyond excited to hop in the car and go. With windows down, the sunroof opened, we headed to Bellevue, my neck of the woods to survey the damage. Pictures and coverage on the news does not even begin to really show the devastation that has hit my fair city. Windows blown out, debris in the ditches, dirt covering once full parking areas in a condo development, while my jaw hung low, I just couldn’t get the right words in my head. A quick prayer and a shake of my head was the only thing I could muster. Some business have been able to ramp back up and open again, with signs announcing, “We’re Open” every so often.
Belle Meade Plaza, where the Kroger and several other businesses were damaged is back to a new type of normal. The liquor store that was once located in a lower section is now open in a main level area that once housed Crystal Gail’s store. I hope the yellow lab is still there, hanging out to greet customers. My favorite, quick trip Mexican place for lunch had only reopened just a few days before I got there. While they did not flood, there were electrical issues that took a while to be fixed. I hope the employees are doing well and were not hurt too bad by the restaurant being closed for over two weeks.
This evening my friend Amy and I took a trip down Charlotte with me, thankfully in the passenger seat so I could take it all in. We stopped and ate at Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, a must go to stop for great burgers, fries and malts (my favorite!). It is so weird to see places boarded up, shut down or running at half speed. Then Amy took me down into West Nashville where entire streets are dead, no signs of life, just belongings ruined from the flood, cars sitting their, more blown out windows, awnings hanging just barely along with porches that used to have neighbors gathered on while visiting, all of it dilapidated. Amy said that parts of these neighborhoods will be condemned and those who lived there will not be able to come back to rebuild.
She also spoke of Jim N Nicks and Wendall Smiths, while dealing with the flood, preparing food and delivering it to those hit so hard in West Nashville. This area has families who barely have enough to get by on a good day. The flood came and what little they had was destroyed. Some might have the means to rebuild their lives but others are struggling.
If I still lived here, I would have been fine. I might have lost power or had shoddy cell service but other than that, I would have been fine. I would have been one of the lucky ones. But there is a part of me, that girl who study journalism in college, that is angry. Why some neighborhoods but not others. How did that street escape certain disaster but this street did not?
And where was the national news? Most people think that since the water is gone that life is back to normal. It is not. I have lived through on disaster, the tornado of ’98 (it came downtown only a few short blocks from my office, I heard it, felt it and saw the aftermath). The city began to repair as quickly as possible but it still took time.
Those whose lives were impacted by the floods will still be digging out and trying to figure out what step to take next in the coming months. It will take quite some time for Nashville to get back on it’s feet yet they have only had a few minutes here and there that speaks of the flood.
I want the national media to take a look at the disaster and the way that this community has come together. Hands on Nashville is a first responder, without them, I don’t think some of the relief efforts would have had such a far reaching scope. The mobilized thousands of volunteers, young and old, to help take care of our neighbors. And yet, a non bomb scare in NYC ( a city that I love very much) took center stage.
For those of you still figuring out summer plans, come to Nashville. They are working on rebuilding but this city is open for business. And even though I am a bit bias, it is a great city. One that I hope that I can call home again. Until then I will wear me “We Are Nashville” t-shirt and sell a short, weekend trip to my friends and family so they can see the love and pride that Nashvillians take in their city.