Hello fellow RBR friends,
I've been following Roll Bama Roll for a long time, commenting since the end of this past football season, and generally enjoying all the sports news I get from the site. This is my first fan post, and I hope you enjoy the humor I found in the tidbit of information I got when I went home this past week.
I'm currently a student at the University and was in the same neighborhood as Javier Arenas when the storm hit. So those houses behind him in the picture on the cover of the new Sports Illustrated are similar to the one my boyfriend and I were in. I'm from Dallas, GA and for those of you that have never heard of it, it's northwest of Atlanta more towards the Cartersville/Rome area. There is a large concentration of Bama folk in the region, so it's good to see friendly faces and hear Roll Tide from random strangers so far away from Tuscaloosa. Anyway, my family and I went out to eat at the Jim and Nick's BBQ nearby and the manager of the place came over because he noticed my Crimson Tide t-shirt. He asked if we had been to Tuscaloosa and seen the damage, and I replied with my storm story (because just about everyone that was near the path has one) and he was generally amazed at the fact that the house we were in was basically undamaged compared to the rest of the neighborhood. My car was just about as busted up as it could be without actually getting into a wreck, but we were all fine.
After exchanging "where we all were" stories and general "I'm really glad you're all okays," he asked if the Taco Bell had been hit. I really found this odd since Taco Bell is such a well, random, place to ask about. He casually mentioned that the Taco Bell sign had been found near Rome. Funny thing was, Taco Bell is pretty much unscathed. We were all confused until I asked, "Was it the Taco Casa sign?" and the guy was like, Oh yeah!! That was it. For those of you who don't know, the Taco Casa sign is indeed a giant cactus. It occurred to me the other day that maybe, just maybe... the tornado wanted to swing a cactus too.
Now, some people deal with grief and loss in different ways and might never see the humor I find in this situation, but I found it absolutely hilarious that the basic theme of our comebacks in basketball this past season was the posting of the "Swinging Cactus" picture, and that aside from mostly broken glass and roof damage, the only other thing wrong with Taco Casa was that the giant cactus sign was missing. I could just be a little off and this could not be funny, but I had one of the first really good laughs I've had since the storm when I thought about this. All amusement aside though, you folks need to understand just how powerful this storm really was. Rome is a good 3 and a half hours away from Tuscaloosa (depending on which way you go) and about 200 miles or so. It flung a giant metal sign into the next state.
I know I am really lucky to be sitting here typing this to all of you, and I am deeply saddened by what has happened. After the storm, all 4 of us grabbed our computers and other important information and spent the night at the Rec Center on campus because they had mattresses, food, showers, and limited generator power. That night was such a scary and uncertain time. However, I would just also like to add that I am so amazed by what I've seen since that day. The sheer outpouring of love and caring from random strangers just floors me. People from everywhere came to help immediately. From our enemies down in the Plains, to a volunteer with a semi truck I met from Ohio, to Kleph and his awesome truck driving skills coming all the way from Los Angeles... it's so crazy to me to see such caring. So let me say this and I'll be quiet again: I am damn proud to be a part of this community, state, and university. There may come a time when people don't care anymore and everyone just deals with their own crap, but it is not today. Today, I see Tuscaloosa rebuilding under a mayor I honestly couldn't name before the storm. And to see how far we've come in just under 3 weeks, well, it is truly amazing.
Thank y'all kindly for listening to my random thoughts. God Bless and Roll Tide!