My Sister’s Tornado

Today I want to share a different kind of story with you.

If you remember, April 27, 2011 was a day of tornadoes for the south.  Not only Alabama and Mississippi were hit, but Ringgold, Georgia was devastated by an EF-4 tornado.  And, what does this have to do with my sister?  Well, she lives in Ringgold and also is co-owner of the Sun Shop, a suntanning business in Ringgold.

I had been watching the weather channel all that day to see if we were gonna get any bad storms because if a storm, whether it’s rain or snow, comes through Atlanta, it’s likely it will come my way in South Carolina.  And that day was no different.  But as the day wore on, it seemed we might be spared anything really bad.

About 8:30 pm that night, I was all settled in my bed watching television when my phone rang.  I don’t get many calls, but I especially don’t get calls at night unless something is wrong.  I answered and it was Cheryl asking me if I could get on the internet.  I thought this was kind of odd since she has internet and is very savvy when it comes to computers.  Anyway, I jumped out of bed and went to my computer and asked what she needed. She said that she and her roommate were in the bathtub, had no power, it was storming, and she was scared.  Let me add here that my sister is not afraid of anything; so when she said that, I knew it was bad. She asked me to check the weather radar and tell her if the storm had passed or if they were going to get more.  I immediately pulled up the radar and thank goodness the worst of the storm was just passed her area.  It really scared me to know she was in the middle of a tornado and that there was nothing I could do to help her. I can tell ya I didn’t sleep very well that night.

At 6:30 the next morning, she called to tell me that they were okay, but that Ringgold was wiped out.  They were at the Sun Shop and she said the roof had been torn off but otherwise it was okay too. The auto detail shop next to the Sun Shop was a total mess and the furniture store across the street was cut in half by the tornado. McDonald’s was gone, Waffle Hut was gone and so many other businesses were completely gone.  The tornado just went right through the town and took almost everything with it, including some lives.

So now, here it is Februrary 2012 and the Sun Shop is finally open again.  I tell ya, Cheryl and Val went through some really rough times trying to get the shop back in order.  It was pretty much gutted and redone altogether. Now, the Sun Shop is bright and cheerful and they are as busy as ever.  Ringgold has recovered pretty well; several businesses that were destroyed have reopened.  But the lives that were lost can never be recovered.

As I have said before, I love my little sister and don’t know what I would do without her.  And, I know that someone was watching over her that night.

We had a bad tornado come through the south part of Marshall County when I was in high school.  I will tell you about that one in another post.

See ya next Wednesday.