Nashville Flood: Lives In The Ditch

Franklin flooding brings community to help victims discard the ruins and pick up the pieces.

My Street

My Street in Rebel Meadows

The air was thick with a musty odor that reeked of rot and decay. As it should, given the amount of debris that lay by the road side waiting to be picked up by the city of Franklin.

The Rebel Meadows subdivision, my neighborhood, sits right beside the Harpeth River. It winds around us and ventures on back to the Cottonwood and Fieldstone Farms neighborhoods. We were all in the same boat during the flood, somewhat literally.

I ventured out last week to help my neighbors by offering the use of my home for bathroom breaks, air conditioning, or a general reprieve. I also delivered cleaning supplies, trash bags, towels, etc. It wasn’t much, but I grabbed anything extra under my kitchen sink. I had to reserve a bit for my own cleanup efforts, but what I had to deal with paled in comparison for folks just 2 doors down from me.

Lives Tossed Aside

Lives Tossed Aside

Furniture, clothes, toys, it was all in shambles. Piles upon piles lay in the ditch waiting for pick up. It was overwhelming. I didn’t realize how much it threw me off-balance emotionally until much later in the day. It left me with a feeling of loss and emptiness.

It also shed a whole new light on the disaster that brought New Orleans to its knees. It was one thing to watch news coverage of Katrina on television, but being evacuated from your home is another. During the flood, I had to reassure Emma and Jacob that God was not flooding the world again. But it’s hard to process as a child when you are being carried out in 2 feet of rising water. What a relief for them to come home and see their stuff safe and dry.

Flood Victim Guts House

Flood Victim Guts House

But it was also a good lesson to see the other homes on the street. You have a new perspective when you have to stand next to the destruction and smell it the very moment you step outside. You can teach children empathy by talking about it, but until they see it live, especially the littler ones, I’m not sure much of it really sinks in. This was an exceptional opportunity for them to learn and grow.

In fact, it made such an impact on the kids at their school, they initiated a toy drive for the boys and girls who lost their toys in the flood. Yes, when I say “they” initiated it, I do mean the students. Emma & Jacob voluntarily chose to bring two each. And not just any two, but newer toys they play with today. It makes me so proud to know this is who they are becoming. THEY ARE NASHVILLE!

flood clean up

It Seemed To Never End

And that is the bright light in all of this. The people. The community outpouring of support and generosity is amazing. People are not just donating things, but they are diving in, getting dirty, helping complete strangers dig out. Companies, volunteers, neighbors are all doing their part. Even Atmos Energy, our gas company, set up camp on my street for the week to pass out hot lunches and drinks for victims and volunteers alike.

Everywhere I turned people were coming to help. Just as I delivered cleaning supplies to neighbors on Wednesday, on Friday I arrived home to find two large industrial tubs of cleaning and safety supplies from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The irony. One I used. One I donated again.

This is what stands out to me the most from last week. The positive energy. The willingness of people to help. The countless volunteers driving by asking, “What can I do? Can I get you anything?” It surrounds us. It defines us. It is who we are. WE ARE NASHVILLE!

Cultural Arts in Franklin

I’m proud to be a part of a community & school that loves the arts with a passion! They attend Spring Hollow Community Learning Center, the art-based preschool that Emma & Jacob attend. 

Both of my kids enjoy painting and drawing, but my daughter Emma has a particular flair and passion for art. I bring her home daily from school splattered with paint on her clothing & body. She likes to use herself as a canvas quite frequently. (I do see tattoos in her future)  What I love about being able to send Emma to Spring Hollow is their philosophy on art and freedom pf expression. Many days I come in to find her in her rain boots and a guitar around her neck. She talks about her pottery and painting and loves, loves, loves to go to school there. We are blessed to have such a place in our community to attend.  It was founded by Dr. Katherine Ratliff Moon who is a true visionary as I have written about in previous posts. 

Dr. K is also the Vice Chairman of The Williamson County Cultural Arts Commission, a wonderful group of community leaders, artists and advocates in Franklin, TN and throughout Williamson County. Read below their mission and a key sentence that I love in red.  

The WCCAC exists to promote, encourage, educate, and advocate the cultural arts in Williamson County of Tennessee.  The mission of Williamson County Cultural Arts Commission is to promote development, accessibility, and excellence of cultural arts in Williamson County. The arts not only record our history and glorify the remarkable unifying spirit that is uniquely human but serve as a critical path of our success as a culture. As a part of our mission, the WCCAC is dedicated to encouraging the creative spirit and making its expression more readily available to everyone in our community. It is also our desire to acknowledge excellence in the arts.  The WCCAC…weaves the threads that connect the cultural arts to audiences in our growing, vibrant community.

 

They fund and manage community art projects, education and success. I can’t wait to continue my support and engage in my daughters pursuit of her passion.

Find out more about the WCCAC here: www.williamsoncountyarts.org

This is a post for Watercooler Wednesday .

 

Franklin… 1 of the Best says CNNMoney.com

Downtown Franklin
Downtown Franklin

I sit here this morning on my front porch with birds singing, the sun shining and a slight breeze. It is picturesque. It is the middle of July, yet the mild 80° and low humidity fools your senses into thinking it is a glorious spring day. 

I am surrounded by wonderful neighbors. Some of them are young families who are raising preschoolers, a few singles and two grandma’s who love on everyone. 

I can walk to downtown to shop or grab coffee with a friend. There’s an array of unique boutiques and eateries. Or if you can’t find something to your liking, Cool Springs is moments away where places to shop and eat abound. 

Ahhh…. I love Franklin. And these are many of the reasons it made CNNMoney.com’s Best Places to Live 2008 list at #45! 

I moved here in 1991 for a summer break with a girlfriend and never left. 17 years later, it is still home. I’ve passed on career moves and personal moves because the quality of life here is so vast. It surrounds you with its heritage and culture and feeling of community. There is no place I would rather call home.  However, there are a few places on the list that look appealing. It would take a lot to get me to even consider moving.

On a side note:  Williamson County and Maury County ranked #3 and #4 respectively on the Top 100 Skinniest Places to live in the same poll, coming in with a BMI of 25!  Ya know its because we all run! : )

Where do you live?