We are back from Gulf Wars 25. It had been a very, very long time since we’d been to this event and I was really looking forward to it. The last time we attended, we had to leave the site early because of dangerous storms. (I believe lightening hit the list field that year.) This time around…we had to leave the event early because of a very dangerous storm. No, that’s not a typo. Weird, huh?
The camp we were in was flattened by the storm. We were in Court on Thursday evening when a microburst hit the site. (I’m going to go with that term because I’m no meteorologist and it seems to fit.) I couldn’t say how long it lasted, (felt like forever) but you’ve never seen a group of people pull together so quickly to help each other. We held onto pavilion poles and pop-ups as others ran for shelter. I told El to head toward a friend, Natalya, because I thought she remembered where Natalya had been standing. El got disoriented and frightened and, rather than wait for me to get her, she ran back into the storm to find Big B and myself. As Big B ran toward me, I pointed toward out baby. He swooped in and grabbed her, moving as fast as he could toward where I was. I grabbed El’s hand and we ran. My baby couldn’t stop crying. She was so scared. My skirts slowed us down and I couldn’t seem to run fast enough to help her. Out of nowhere, a gentleman comes up, grabs my hand, another young man grabs El’s hand, and they pull us toward the building. I don’t know who they were but they were kind and brave and I wish I could hug them both.
Once the storm settled, we went back to camp to assess the damage and found this:
Our tent was one of two or three still standing. I took this shot from the doorway of our tent as we started moving things around to accommodate us and anyone else who happened along. We stayed on site to offer shelter and food to any who needed it. We ended up with a total of 6 of us in the tent overnight. It was a little cozy and I wish I’d brought more blankets, but we made the best of it.
On Friday we learned all the events of that day were cancelled. We packed up, tried to help other pack up then headed home, making an overnight stop in Tuscaloosa just because Big B couldn’t drive any more. We were wet, hungry and tired.
Here’s the thing though; we’re going back next year. I had a really great time up until the storm. I got some lovely things, got to visit with old friends, (not as much or as long as I wanted to) and I learned never, ever to take time for granted. As sure as I believed we’d catch up later, we were no able to. I won’t make that mistake again.
In terms of damage, I lost a pot of stew, possibly a table and all our garb is stinky and wet. We came out in great shape and I know other’s had it much, much worse. Especially the college kids in our encampment. They were already on a limited budget and now may have to replace things that were dear. We’re going to do what we can to help them out.
The other thing, people are good. Seems like a pretty basic observation but it’s true. Strangers offered help and support, pulled each other out and through, I can’t count how many times camps were checked on during that long Thursday evening. Human beings, on the whole, aren’t too bad. Pretty cool to see that in action.