Opinion

April 29, 2014

Misty Watson: Being a good neighbor through the storm

You never forget the way it sounds when a tornado wakes you up in the middle of the night.

I was 15, a sophomore in high school, when one came through north Murray County where my parents lived. It made its way up the west side of Highway 225 for several miles before crossing the road and heading through the Temple Grove area.

I’ve always been terrified of strong storms, and I was sleeping on the recliner in the living room — Mom was on the couch — when I bolted upright, jumped up and ran.

Where I was going, I have no idea. But I ran into my dad and sister as I turned the corner.

All I heard was a roar. We had had no warning, no time to move to the inner room of the house, no time to come up with a game plan. We stood there, a family of four, waiting on it to pass.

It was over as quickly as it had begun, and fortunately the house was mostly untouched. Trees, sheds and several of our neighbors weren’t as fortunate. There was a lot of damage.

You could stand in my parents’ yard the next day and see the line of destruction north. The tornado had cut a path through thickets separating people’s property.

As soon as the roar was over, my dad ran to the back door to shine an insanely bright flashlight through the heavy rain to check on my grandparents. They lived just up the hill from us.

My grandfather was doing the same. He and my dad yelled through the storm making sure each household was OK.

As the storm that brought the tornado subsided, all through northern Murray County you could hear neighbors shouting “Are y’all OK?” “Yeah, we’re OK. Are y’all OK?” “Do y’all need anything?”

Other neighbors rode four-wheelers to check on others.

The power was off, many phone lines were down, and it had been a scary night. This was long before the days of texting, smartphones and social media. (We didn’t even have a computer in our house yet!)

Before long, we heard a “moo.” We didn’t own any cattle. We heard our dog barking.

We opened the front door to see cows in our yards, and not long afterward someone on a four-wheeler trying to find them to corral them back home.

I remember the destruction, the fear and all the bad things from that night. But I also remember the way neighbors reached out to each other — and the cows wandering around aimlessly through north Murray County.

As severe weather reaches us again, I’m still thankful for good neighbors. We were invited to seek shelter Monday night with our neighbors, who have a basement. We do not. (Thankfully we didn’t have to head down to the basement, at least not Monday night.)

I’ve heard of others opening their homes to family, friends and neighbors. As I watch and read the news, mixed in with the death and destruction, I see uplifting stories of how people are helping one another.

It reassures my faith in the goodness of people.

Keep it up.

Murray County native Misty Watson is a staff writer and photographer with The Daily Citizen. You can contact her at mistywatson@daltoncitizen.com, facebook.com/MistyWatsonDCN or on Twitter, @mistydwatson.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • "We’ve had a great ride"

    For 60 years, the Green Spot has been a part of Dalton. It survived long after most other locally owned grocery stores in the area had folded to competition from big chain grocery stores and to big box super stores.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Traveler from a district in Columbia?

    Jim Gray was traveling out of Orlando International Airport when a Transportation Security Administration officer tried to stop him from boarding his plane.

    July 29, 2014

  • Letter: Children are not the enemy

    We recently read somewhere that our country is at war, not with another nation but with one another.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ensuring the joy of reading

    They’re little, they’re libraries, and best of all, they’re free.

    July 28, 2014

  • Move carefully, but soon

    No one intended for it to happen. No one had any bad motives.
    But during a period of 40 years or more, quite a few people didn’t do enough planning, didn’t have enough foresight to see what all of the development in Dalton would do.

    July 27, 2014

  • Local school systems must bear costs of federal immigration failure

    No word. No warning. Little help.
    That’s what Dalton Public Schools officials received from the federal government when it dropped 30 Central American students into local classrooms last school year.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sacrifices worth honoring

    Members of the Dalton City Council were recently approached by representatives of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart with a request to declare Dalton a Purple Heart City. Council members indicated they will approve the request.

    July 24, 2014

  • We must do better

    The numbers tell a sad tale.
    Registered voters: 36,843.
    Cards cast: 5,307.
    That means the turnout for Tuesday’s runoffs in Whitfield County was a measly 14.4 percent, according to unofficial results from the Whitfield County elections office.

    July 23, 2014

  • Letter: Control immigration

    Thousands are starting to pour into our country, and things are getting personal. Why would we end up the bad guys if we turn away children who aren’t ours? How does it make us better people to let one man steal from our children and stand by and do nothing?

    July 23, 2014

  • Helping with Book Blast betters the community

    The school test results are in, and students in Whitfield and Murray counties mostly improved from a year ago, mirroring or exceeding average scores of their peers.

    July 23, 2014