My column in the paper

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I'm re-posting my column from the paper because it is linking the readers to the main blog page to view the pictures I took.  If you would like view all the pictures of the storm while reading the post, click here.

Storm hits close to home

From the blog of Joy Henson


I want to thank all of you who have commented, sent texts, emails and those of you who have mentioned me in tweets. We are OK and thankful for God's mercy by sparing us from structural damage and loss of life.  However, the same cannot be said for my parents’ community were I was raised.

    A short 25- minute drive to the south on Highway 45 and you will see destruction, heart breaking views of what use to be and a community coming together to clean up the aftermath.

    This was the first site of damage I saw while driving down Highway145 South — the Yates home, which is less than a mile from my parents’ house. I remember driving by this house day after day and I especially remember their house at Christmas — lights strung around the fence, which is now torn up from the tornado.  Today, they are trying to pick up the pieces of their home.

    Before turning on 514, I went to my folks’ house — the house where I was raised — to witness for myself that it was safe and sound.  There is no place like home, the home where I was raised to say yes ma’am and no sir, played in the backyard with the neighbors and the place where I know I'm always welcome because it is still my "home."

    After saying a quick prayer thanking God for the safety of not only my parents' home, but also the fact that they weren't there during the storm — I made the short journey back down the road to turn down 514.

    Once turned, I saw the beautiful site of our church, Union Baptist Church, still standing without damage.  It is now the command center and with so many cars and people, I didn't take a picture.  But for those of you who have been asking about our church — it is still as beautiful as ever.  Past the church, you can see the trees twisted and mangled together.  It will remind you of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina only these trees were not bent over; they were snapped.

    Then I turned down County Road 480 where you couldn't tell where the woods end and the road begins.  Clarke County employees were pushing the debris off of the pavement so the road can be driven through again.

    While watching the trees being pushed out of the way you could hear them snapping in half.  Other workers were using chainsaws to help clear the way.  The smell of the fresh saw dust will stick with me for days; however, these images will stay with me throughout my life.  This was also a road that we traveled often.  Summer days, we turned down this road to head to the pool.  And one summer, I learned to drive on this road.  The first house on the left was my favorite house on the road, the Pogue's house.

    While waiting for the debris to be moved from the road, I talked with Mrs. Barbara Robinson, Ed Pogue's daughter.  She started describing the damage to me and then she said, "well come on, let's cut through the woods so you can see what I'm talking about."  We did.  We climbed up the bank and through the briars and then we got to the clearing to see all the damage. 

    Thankfully no one has been living there for a while which also meant no one was there during the storm.  The windows were all busted out, curtains hanging out blowing with the wind and yet, somehow the house, even with all the damage, was still breathtaking.  The late Ed Pogue built the house with his own two hands.  And I remember visiting with he and his wife, Jimmie many times while growing up.  While talking with Mrs. Barbara, I told her one of my favorite memories of her dad was him giving me my weekly piece of hard candy at church.

    We looked at the barns that were moved hundreds of feet to their new location across the road, now in a pile of rubble. As we were staring at the destruction, I mentioned that I was glad he wasn't alive to see this mess.  She said, "if he was — he would say it's all just stuff, nothing that can't be rebuilt."

    Walking around the south part of the house, she found pieces of china from the home, unbroken — something you wouldn't expect to find with this much damage.

    And as we turned to the back of the house, we found part of a trailer that was once down the hill, up the hill embedded now into the carport of the house.

    Back to the front of the house, we found trees uprooted from somewhere else now resting on their sides where they do not belong.

    And the beautiful Magnolia tree which held the Pogue's great granddaughter’s first swing, ripped in half, blown over and mangled with other debris.

    In front of the house in the middle of the road laid a pole and transformer, mashed with wires all around. And then we found the other half of the trailer — the frame twisted with bed frames mixed in with debris from trees. Part of the trailer was flipped upside down. And the rest of it was flat to the ground with broken glass all around.

    As hard as it was for me to see the wrath this storm took on the Pogue residence the hardest part was seeing their great granddaughter, whose swing was now wrapped in the mangled trees, see the destruction for the first time.

    This area isn't as populated as Tuscaloosa, Ala. and it hasn't been on the national news; however, this area still needs your prayers — especially as they begin to pick of the pieces of what once was, remember the good times that were had and the good times that will take place here, again.

    While other parts of the south are getting visits from the President, Governors and others, the one thing this community has is the people of this community — coming together to help their neighbors who are in need.

    God is our refuge and strength,

    A very present help in trouble.

    Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change

    And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;

    Though its waters roar and foam,

    Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

    The LORD of Heaven's Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.

Psalm 46: 1-3, 7

    Joy Henson is the editor of 393 Magazine, a product of The Meridian Star. To see all of the photos she took, visit her blog at



  1. A wonderful article! Everyone still has more coming now in floods here in AR. It is very trying I know for those who are trying to clean up.

    I am passing on the Versatile Blogger Award to you. Check it out at

    Have a great Sunday!


  2. The Lord is merciful and His love endures throughout all generations. My heart is with you and your community. This touches my heart! I felt impressed to leave my post about this on my blog up for a few days because I wanted to let this community know of my care and concern.
    P.s. Found you on the Weekend hop!


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