In all my years, and I won’t go in to how many that is, I’ve never seen anything this bad. Some of you may have heard of the devastating floods Tennessee experienced this past weekend. I am thankful that our home was not damaged. We paid for some landscaping last week, however, and now it’s at the bottom of our hill, but that is nothing compared to what some have and are suffering on this sunny, gorgeous Monday.
Probably the most painful pictures to watch for me was the flooding of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Opry Mills, and The Grand Old Opry. These businesses are icons of our city, some national icons, and now they are under water. The flooding at Opry Mills is nearly to its roof. This beautiful discount shopping complex was already suffering from the weak economy and now this. The conversion of the theme park, Opryland, to the shopping center, Opry Mills, has been a shaky one at best. This does not bode well for this troubled center. The flooding at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center and The Grand Old Opry has not been as devastating, covering the first floor of both, but the damage is significant. A convention of 2,000 people was supposed to take place this weekend at this beautiful resort. Some attendees were already here and now must be turned away. I can’t help but wonder if there will be legal actions after this unforeseen disaster. I certainly hope not.
As I watch the astonishing pictures from the news, I am also amazed by another unique occurrence and that is of Tennesseans helping other Tennesseans. We may have run out of clean water in some places and electricity (28,000 homes without power from reports last night. Probably more homes without power today), but we have not run out of the generosity of people helping people. There have been numerous volunteers offering boats to rescue others. There have been 200 rescues at this writing and the efforts continue. In addition, there have been reports of people offering their homes to strangers, in order to help out the overcrowded hotels.
The economy has not been good for me here in several years. I have wanted to move, to try markets in other states, but it would be difficult to leave the lush greenery of Tennessee and the concern it has for its fellow man. I love Tennessee…have lived here all my life, but I have never been more proud of the efforts by city officials, public works, and of the kindness of its citizens during this historic and tragic event.