- Cullman, Alabama

April 30, 2012

Living proof that community's moving forward

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — April 27, 2012 — the anniversary of that faithful day when the tornado ripped through the middle of town and destroyed almost everything in sight. The city had a big event at the park to commemorate the progress that has been made since the storm. I couldn’t attend because of a bad leg and will have to make do with a trip to my favorite barbecue joint.

After supper my wife drove me through my old neighborhood. We started at the First Methodist Church and drove east toward my childhood home. On the way we passed a large vacant lot where someone has now planted a garden. During high school, three of my classmates lived in three houses on that lot. Now all that is left are driveways — driveways that I drove up when I went to visit.

We entered an area where all of the landmarks are gone. No houses, no trees, no street signs — nothing but weeds, streets and driveways where my neighborhood used to be. We decided to turn around and go back.

My wife made a left-hand u-turn at an intersection as I looked out the passenger side window. As we turned around I got within three feet of the curb at the corner of another vacant lot. Someone had recently mowed the lot and the grass was only about two inches tall. As we passed by I caught a glimpse of a couple of dozen wildflowers standing near the corner. They made a beautiful scene — a bunch of white flowers on a small field of green. The scene filled my window as I glanced down during that few seconds it took to go by.

The flowers looked very fragile. They were all alike with stems about ten or eleven inches high and about one-sixteenth inch in diameter. The stems all had three or four scraggly looking leaves sticking out up near the flower. Each flower had petals about an inch long and one-eighth inch wide. The middle of the flowers were all golden brown.

As I finish writing this I can hear what sounds like a country music band playing over at the park. I'm sure thousands of people are having a great time and I am happy for them. But for me, I saw living proof that my hometown is blooming and will grow back. What a wonderful thing to know!

Ed Edmondson