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First hand memories from Clay County Alabama of the historical 1932 Killer Tornado

It’s been over eighty years since the 1932 “cyclone” as it was called back then, cut a path of destruction throughout Clay County, Alabama leaving behind a trail of debris, numerous injuries, and even several deaths within the county alone.. hundreds statewide. Those who survived this monstrous storm may be numbered in years, but they will never forget…   tornado 2Sunday March 20, 1932 marked the arrival of the first day of Spring in Clay County, and what a memorable entrance it would make. The country was in the midst of an economic depression, and the outlook was grim for any turnaround soon. The big news making the headlines during this time was the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, whose body had still not been found. Easter was just around the corner, and the sweet smell of spring flowers were in the air. Everyone attended their regular church services, and made their rounds to neighbors and friends houses to do a little visiting. It was a way of life back then. Just another lazy Sunday in the South. Little did anyone know the very next day would change their lives forever… The very next day, Monday, March 21, 1932, Alabamians awoke to a sticky, very humid and windy day, with the temperatures reaching an unseasonable high of 80 degrees. Eyewitnesses who can still recall this day can tell you they will never forget the humidity of this day and how you can sense an almost impending weather situation approaching. Without any of the latest weather technology we are accustomed to these days, they had nothing more to go on but their fears…and those fears were about to come true…   tornado 9A massive storm system was wreaking havoc on southern states including Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and Kentucky, but in the end it would be Alabama who would bear the brunt of it. This significant weather day would go down in history as the greatest weather catastrophe to hit the state of Alabama, even worse than the red letter weather day of April 27, 2011. In mid-afternoon of this day, fifteen tornados struck within the state of Alabama, eight of which were later estimated to have F4 intensity, meaning winds likely exceeding 250 miles per hour. The official count from the U.S. Weather Bureau reported that 268 persons were killed in the state of Alabama with 1874 injured, a total of 315 deaths were reported in Alabama, Texas, and South Carolina. In Clay County alone, there were 12 deaths reported and over 200 injuries, but this number is believed to have been even higher. Just after darkness fell on this fateful day in Clay County, a tornado touched down below Ashland, cutting a path through the following communities: Bowden Grove, Bellview, and Barfield. It is probable the same tornado remained on the ground for 30 miles or more as it made its way throughout Clay County, darting in and out, with little areas in its path unscathed due to extremely brief periods where the twister would recoil to the sky only to regain its ground with increased intensity. This path that only affected Clay County was a small part of the overall devastation however, because the overall path  stretched some 400 miles between Alabama and Georgia. tornado 8The twister was thought to have F4 or greater intensity, judging from the path of devastation it left behind. Eyewitnesses reported hearing a tremendous roaring, as the night sky lit up as though it were daylight with continuous lightning that left as quickly as it came. Widespread damage was reported within the county. Within minutes after the deadly tornado has passed over, eyewitnesses reported the sky became miraculously clear again, with the moon visible and beautiful twinkling stars carpeting the night sky. On this night, after many shaken residents had gathered their wits about them, they grabbed lanterns and set out on foot to assess the extent of the damage and to also to check on their friends, relatives and neighbors. The storm’s path was like nothing anyone had ever seen before. Homes were completely swept away as if they had never existed. Pine needles and sage grass were infused into tree trunks from the massive winds. Eyewitnesses accounts also recalled chickens were even stripped of their feathers. And surprisingly there were things that were untouched in these same areas. For example, in one home there was a bowl of freshly gathered eggs that had the centerpiece of a table were found approximately 200 yards outside and not one single egg was broken. As always, in the midst of a tragedy, our citizens came together after this deadly storm, thus proving how Clay County gained its name as the “Volunteer County”. Everyone who was able immediately went to work. Search parties were formed and many would spend the remainder of the night sifting through the wreckage of many destroyed homes searching for survivors, and in some cases, digging out dead bodies. Every one of the doctors in the county made numerous house calls, treating the wounded as best they could, even though it was difficult to make their way through the rubble and devastation. And after it was all over, people joined together to help those rebuild the homes that had been ravaged by the wrath of the cyclone. tornado 5One of the hardest hit areas was the Bellview community in Barfield, where the largest death toll of the county occurred, wiping almost an entire family. The Birchfield family would lose five of their family members: Willard, Buell, Larry Dell, and Lucille. Other fatalities in this area included Leslie McKay and Pauline Garrett. After the storm, Clay County Courthouse opened its doors as a refugee center, where those who were left homeless and injured parties would seek shelter. Sadly, it was also used as a morgue. Other surrounding counties also suffered tremendous damage. The city of Sylacauga was literally blown away, as the mammoth twister cut right through the heart of the storm’s path, where many antebellum homes were leveled. The city of Talladega would also sustained heavy damage. This historical day is carved into the memory of those who survived this monstrous storm. And even though these victims are past their golden years, many can still recall  this day’s events and how it all unfolded just as though it was yesterday. But I’ll just let them speak for themselves as told in their words…

  Thomas J. Whatley

It appeared as any other cloudy day, but the air was stiff and still. I was a 14 year old 8th grader and had not been home from school long before the storm hit. That afternoon, we had went about our usual farm routine; feeding the livestock, milking cows, etc. We did not the animals seemed more excited than usual. Darkness has just appeared when we heard a slight roar, which continued to grow louder. I remember the roar sounded like a dozen freight trains. During this time, our house became as light as day and was shaking like it was going to pieces. All of these events lasted for maybe a total of two minutes, but it seemed like much longer. After the storm had passed, my dad and I went to survey the damage. The livestock were all unharmed and there were some loose planks on the barn. We decided to check on our neighbors, Miss Lula and Effie Perry. Their home was heavily damaged and unlivable, but none of them were injured. While we were talking to the Perrys, one of their neighbors ran up and said that an injured Harold Birchfield, my first cousin, had crawled about one-fourth mile to report their house had been destroyed. Harold also reported that he had been able to locate his mother and his youngest sister, but he did not know the whereabouts of his brother, Buell, or his two sisters, Mary Dell or Lucille. My father left immediately for the Birchfield place to join in the search efforts, while I went to my Grandfather Watts house. I also recall our nearest neighbors, the Bud Knight family had also lost their house. Thunderstorms soon rolled in again and continued throughout the night, as did the search party. They were able to locate Aunt Celia ( Birchfield) and youngest sister, Myrtie and took them to Grandfather Watts’ house, along with Harold (Birchfield). As I recall, Aunt Celia had suffered a broken hip, dislocated shoulder, and several other serious injuries. Myrtie, was five years old, had suffered no broken bones, but had sand and dirt driven through her skin. Harold had a broken leg, glass driven in his skin, and major bruising. tornado 1 Harold gave me his recant of the moments leading up to the tragedy. He said his Uncle Willard ( Birchfield) heard the roar, opened the door, and saw the tornado approaching. Willard yelled to the rest of the family to get out of the bed and take cover when it hit the house. Harold said the next thing he remembered was being in the air and looking down in the fireplace. He thought he must have been knocked out for a few minutes, because he awoke to his mother’s ( Celia) and sister Myrtie’s cries and was able to locate them because of those cries. Seven of the Birchfield  family members were blown in a counterclock wise direction approximately 100-150 yards from the house. The search party was finally able to locate Uncle Willard and Buell, both under and large, uprooted tree about 50 yards west of their house. Buell had appeared to killed instantly, but Willard was unconscious when found. He died the next day from severe head injuries. The two girls, Mary Dell, age 14,  and Lucille, age 11, were blown across the road, about 50 feet from their father. It was evident they had died instantly. The tornado passed one-fourth of a mile from our home. And even though I am a World War II veteran, I still remember it as being the most frightening experience of my life.

Morine Horn Stringfellow

I was a young woman living in my family home about three miles west of Ashland with my father and three siblings, ranging in age from 13, to late twenties. On the night of the tornado, threatening weather had sent the entire family to the storm pit where we spent a good deal of time. When the lightning seemed to decrease, my father declared it safe for us to return to the house. This must have been the proverbial calm before the storm because just as we were closing the front door, the tornado struck without warning. My brother tried to hold the front door closed, but was blown across the room. I grabbed my younger sister about the time the chimney came down into the bedroom, and knocked a large dresser over onto us. I remember hearing my father saying “ Kids, we are gone!” The house was knocked off its foundation and badly damaged but none of my family was seriously injured- just a broken finger, skin lacerations and lots of bruises. We exited the house through the bedroom window and walked barefoot to an Uncle’s house about a mile and a half away. tornado 6 When we returned, some unusual effects were found, one being a crock of eggs that had been on the kitchen sideboard was now sitting in the front yard. Neither the crock or the eggs were broken, and the crock still remains in the family today. We lived in the storm pit and in a tent in the front yard, and ate our meals in the smokehouse while neighbors helped rebuild our home, which continued to be occupied for many years. It was recently torn down.

 Don Keith Ingram ( reporting what he was told by his father, Gifford ingram, now deceased)

The storm came on March 21, 1932. Gifford and Clanda Garrett were at the Barfield Baptist Church for a youth function. Only a few had shown up due to the threatening weather. They decided to cancel and go home. It hit around 7 pm, while they were still at the church. They went to the Garrett ( George & Hattie, Clanda’s parents) home on Hwy 9 and learned of the storm. Little by little, they checked on neighbors and discovered the home of Artis ( Clanda’s brother) & Eunice Garrett had been blown away. Their baby, Arlon was missing. He was discovered in a field quite a distance away from the house. Howard Schultz picked glass from Arlon’s face as he carried him back to the gathered neighbors. The Garretts were found to be alive, although injured, and were reunited with Arlon.

tornado 4 Checking on his own home, Gifford discovered that the Ingram house had been destroyed, but Robert & Swilly Ingram and Dad’s brothers were all right. The nearby homes on (what is now) Barfield Fire Department Rd were all destroyed of severely damaged. It was later that they learned of the Birchfield’s families deaths west of there where Barfield Fire Dpt rd intersects State Lake Rd. The next day, the extent of the damage was more evident in the daylight and in a word, devastating. It was discovered that high tension powerline towers had been toppled near Hwy 9 and Foster’s Bridge Rd. A neighbor’s barn was leveled…its roof missing. About two weeks later, a hookup of tandem wagons pulled by four mules pulled up in the Ingram neighborhood with the barn roof…INTACT, sitting on the wagons! The roof was found in a field in Georgia owned by the man who built the barn ORIGINALLY! Witnesses reported damage a mile wide swath across the Barfield community ( north and west). No damage occurred from the Garrett house south through “downtown” Barfield. The George and Hattie Garrett home was on the southern edge of the storm and suffered warping, creating an uneven floor. The house had additions later, but the original part remained warped until it burned a few years ago. I, myself, was a witness to the uneven floors. Hundreds of people died that day, across four states from Arkansas to Georgia. It was one of the F4/F5 tornadoes that swept across the state that day. Witnesses called it a cyclone, because of its size. The particular tornado’s path was 45 miles long, from Talladega to Randolph counties. Gifford and Clanda were married on June 9, 1932 and lived in a tent in the front yard of the Ingram place while the Ingram home was rebuilt. Their firstborn son, William Maxwell, was born on March 18, 1934, only 3 days before the second anniversary of the storm.

Doris Proctor Fetner

We lived in the Olive Branch community which was located one-fourth of a mile from the tornado’s deadly path. I remember the day to be noticeably warm and very windy. Mama looked out the window and saw lightning flashing. That’s the only way we knew a storm was coming. She told Daddy we needed to go to the Holman house which was a sturdier built house. Daddy refused to go at first, but after us begging relentlessly, he finally gave in and went with us to the Holman house. We had never heard of a tornado, so we didn’t know what was about to happen. tornado 11 When the storm hit, I remember the noise was deafening and the lightning was tremendous. There were 20 people in the Holman house with us at the time of the storm. We all had to crawl out where the chimney was once located. We walked right by the well that had the cover blown off and it’s a wonder that no one fell in it. When we got back to where our house once was standing, there was nothing. It was as if you had taken a broom and swept it clean, and hardly any boards around. There were seven of us and if we would have stayed there, we would have surely been killed. We had only been living at the house for one day when it was destroyed by the tornado. We lost everything we had.

Leon Fetner

I remember the day very well. Papa tried to plow, but was unable to because the sun would come out, go back in, then it would cloud up and rain off and on all day and the wind blew really hard. Papa saw the lightning and we went to the storm pit . I remember seeing chickens running around without feathers and pine needles driven all the way through pine trees that you were unable to pull out. After the storm had passed, we came out of the storm pit and got the word that several people had been killed near Lineville. Papa got the wagon and went to try to help.

Sue Rogers Proctor

I remember the lightning from the storm was so vivid and coming so fast you could have read a newspaper by it and it was dark out. My daddy got the entire family in the living room and we joined arm to arm and held onto each other as the house rocked. It blew the windows out and filled our hair with dirt and mud. Daddy stood up and prayed the whole time. tornado 7 It moved the house off the rock foundation but it didn’t destroy anything. We lived a half a mile from the actual storm in the Olive Branch community. When it was all over, went outside and one of the houses within seeing distance was blown away and the people who lived there were blown out in a field. They were not dead, but they were seriously injured. I remember you could see the fire still burning from their chimney, but their house was no longer there.

Jess Curlee

We lived in the Bowden Grove area near Hassell’s Gap approximately one fourth mile from the storm’s direct path. I remember the day being unusually blustery. Some of our relatives had come by earlier that day and had mentioned the weather. It was cloudy and the wind blew hard. When the storm started coming, Daddy got us all in one room. Some of us got under the bed and some of us got in it. Daddy was not a guy who wore religion on his collar, but he had enough sense to know how bad it was, so he began praying. tornado 12 The house shook and the roaring was unbelievable. The wind blew the rain in so hard that it blew rain in through the walls and across the room we were in. The windows were never blown out, but the rain almost blew the lanterns out. It moved the house off the foundation some but did not blow it away. Daddy and I had worked to seal the house and reinforce it some time before the storm. The next day, Daddy and I went out and built a storm pit. We dug a hole in a bank and covered it with logs and whatever we could find. From then on, if the weather looked the least bit threatening, we were in the storm pit.

Linda Dewberry McDonald (as told by her mother, Wilma Young Dewberry, who is now deceased

My grandfather, Morgan Hurley Young was employed by N.G. Blair, who owned the Blair Furniture Store in Lineville and also did mortician and funeral preparations in the back of his store across from the First United Methodist Church in Lineville. My mother’s family lived a block north near the concrete water tower at this time. My Grandmother Irene also related this fact to me when I was a little girl, that my Grandfather Morgan worked seven days, 24 hours a day following the storm. He only came home to eat his meals and he never pulled his shoes off for the entire seven days. tornado 3 Editor’s footnote: So, there you have it straight from the horse’s mouth as told by people who survived this historical weather catastrophe. It’s amazing that with the amount of years that have passed they can still remember it clearly. Just seeing the look on their faces as they recanted their vivid memories was enough to see the impact the memory had on them. It was one they would clearly never forget and  would take to their grave. With all the latest modern technology at our hands, all we have to do is tune in to the television, internet, or just look at a weather app on our phone to get the latest breaking weather information. Most of the time we know days ahead of time. I cannot imagine what it must have been like not to have any warning whatsoever. This firsthand recollection of the memories above just goes to show you that no matter how old you get, you will always remember the horror of a tremendous weather situation.

Heritage Day is a success…Thanks to you!

Vendors line the streets on Heritage Day 2013
Vendors line the streets on Heritage Day 2013

November 6, 2013

What a gorgeous weekend in Clay County Alabama! It was as if God smiled down upon us and said “Enjoy life, my children” and enjoy we did. The picture perfect weather created the ideal backdrop for the weekend activities in which citizens assembled in large numbers for the biggest weekend of the year in Lineville, Alabama.
It has always been a local tradition of the first weekend of November is designated for Lineville Heritage Day and the Clay County Shriners Car Show. And this year people did not disappoint…
Tractor Rides are always a hit on this day!
Tractor Rides are always a hit on this day!
As a Lineville Merchants Association Officer, it warmed my heart to see such a large crowd at Saturday’s Heritage Day activities. It was like the ultimate reward for spending an entire year at countless meetings pouring over every last detail, making numerous phone calls and endless paperwork. We active LMA members take great pride in putting together this signature event in hopes of seeing what we did on this beautiful Saturday, a large crowd of smiling faces of families and great friends who have gathered to celebrate life in our small town. It was a glorious experience for me.
This was the heart of the activities, too food court and stage, where there were several outstanding performances of local talent
This was the heart of the activities, too food court and stage, where there were several outstanding performances of local talent
Lots of people are not aware what goes on behind the scenes of Heritage Day. It would probably appear it was the work of many people, but in truth, it is really the extreme efforts of very few putting their heart and soul into making a successful event for you to enjoy. And seeing our streets lined with people throughout the town brings hope to us that maybe one day we have that again, not just one this day, but every day. We are all deeply saddened to see more and more vacant buildings in our town, and we strive to breathe life back into our city, so that one day our children, relatives and friends can return to their roots and be able to raise their families here to enjoy small town life as only we know it.
Memory Lane Quartet drew a huge crowd. This was their first year to perform at Heritage Day, but I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of them!
Memory Lane Quartet drew a huge crowd. This was their first year to perform at Heritage Day, but I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more of them!
We all know that Clay County people are some of the best you will meet anywhere and we take great pride in that. But it is becoming more and more impossible through the economy and lack of industry here to be able to make ends meet. Lots of residents are forced to seek employment out of the county, but still make the choice to live here because they know they won’t find a better place to exist anywhere; A place where their children can play freely, an abundance of natural resources at their disposal with beautiful countryside, not to mention a very low crime rate thanks to our law enforcement.
A colorful display of beautiful quilts at the Quilt Show.
A colorful display of beautiful quilts at the Quilt Show.
Some of our citizens swear they hate it here, and at one point in my life, I thought I did too. It was the only place I had ever lived and I was dying to get away. So, I moved to Dothan for three years and hated it every day. I couldn’t wait to get back and swore when I did that I would never leave again. It’s a place you have to leave to truly appreciate, trust me. There is a reason many people return here, regardless of the local economy. It doesn’t matter how far you go, if you have lived in Clay County at some point, it will always be home to you.
Mr. & Mrs. Heritage Day, Lloyd & Micah jean Sparks
Mr. & Mrs. Heritage Day, Lloyd & Micah jean Sparks
 I love this sleepy little town. I love the fact that the streets are dead by 9:00 pm. I even love the fact that everything around revolves around football. And I especially love that in times of crisis, our citizens join together to help others in need.  That is why I have made it my passion to do anything I can to help promote our city in whatever form possible for a more prosperous future. And I would encourage you to do the same.
Paying tribute to our Veterans!
Paying tribute to our Veterans!
 Make this city not only your home, but the home of generations to come.  Do your part and place your mark on history of Lineville, Alabama by any means necessary. Shop local, buy local, become a LMA member or even volunteer. Have some input on ways to improve our city so that we may attract tourists and even more residents. We need more warm bodies to help us bring our many ideas to life. The work of so few can only take us so far and we want the sky to be the limit. You can’t tell me that one person can’t make a difference, because I know better. So, be that one person…after all, what do you have to lose?
The Grand Finale of the day!
The Grand Finale of the day!
On behalf of the LMA Officers, Darlene Alldredge, Barbara Pollard, Rodney Denson, and Patricia Dennison, I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for partaking in our Heritage Day activities. We hope that you enjoyed it as much as we did.   

The grass is always greener

October 30, 2013

When you are a child, all you want to be is grown-up so you can do whatever you want to do without any type of restrictions. You have all kinds of unrealistic expectations of how one day,  you are going to travel all over the world, drive nice cars, and everyday will be nothing but 24 hours packed with non-stop fun. Of course after you have reached your adulthood, you realize that even though there are advantages to being an adult, it is nothing like you had envisioned. Being a grown-up comes with its own set of rules that include things like paying bills, raising a family, and just trying to keep a roof over your head. Responsibilities seem to overwhelm you sometimes. All of the sudden, being a child doesn’t seem so bad after all. Every time you see one playing happily, you find yourself thinking how nice it would be to have those carefree days back. When there were no responsibilities other than school, homework, and chores. You actually feel envy inside at the very thought of it. That’s why they say hindsight is 20/20, not only in this case, but in many other areas as well.

Teenagers are perfect examples of little humans you can never please. They always want more. New clothes, cell phones, a new car, and always, always money. As parents, we love our children dearly, so our goal is to make them happy by giving them everything in our power. But the real kicker is on top of everything they want you to give them, they still want you to allow them 100% freedom to do all of the things they love, with no restrictions while you foot the bill. If you attempt to put your foot down, they get furious with you. Why can’t they have cool parents like Sally’s (hypothetical name)? Sally’s parents are always so nice and very rich. They bought her a new car and she can go wherever she wants with no curfew. You find yourself wishing you had her perfect life. What you don’t know is that Sally’s mother is a closet alcoholic, and her father cheats on her repeatedly. They fight almost every night with little thought of how their behavior is killing their daughter. Sally would give anything to have YOUR life, complete with the restrictions you hate so much with parents that love her. And one day you find out the truth, when you are delivered the sad news that Sally has taken an overdose and you don’t know if she is going to make it.

Nancy married her childhood sweetheart when she was 16 years old. They have been married for 12 years and have three kids. For over a decade, she has wiped snotty noses, played taxi cab, and had dinner on the table every night. Along the way, she and her husband seemed to have lost that spark. Oh, they still love each other, but the romance seems to have flown out of the window through all the crazy, daily chaos. Nancy wishes she could have the same kind of marriage that her best friend Tracy has. Tracy and her husband go out once a week, they travel places, she goes shopping, and gets a new car every year. They seem like the ideal couple. What Nancy doesn’t know is that Tracy’s marriage is completely a front for her husband to be in good community standing. Tracy’s husband does not care about her, he only cares what people think of him. At night, when they are alone, he closes himself off in his study so he can concentrate on his work. They never even have a conversation unless they are in the presence of others. Nancy would be surprised if she knew that Tracy was actually envious of her marriage and she would trade places with her in a second just to have one day in Nancy’s mundane life , where she would know she is loved.

All three of these examples are just cases of how the grass is greener on the other side and we have all been guilty of it at some point in time. We always seem to want more; more money, more time, more freedom and more love. As humans, we never seem to be satisfied with what we have. But the sad thing here is that while you are so busy wishing for more, you are wishing your life away. You are missing out on the here and now. God never meant for you to have every single thing you wanted in life, He wants you to be content with what He has given you.


The best person to talk to about life is an elderly person. Because they can tell you a lot about hindsight. They have lived it, and now that their years are getting smaller, they can tell you that it’s just not worth it. They will tell you in the end, it is about good times with families and friends and making memories to last a lifetime. The kind that will make you smile every time you close your eyes and think about it.

This, my friends, is real life, this very moment and you only get one shot at it, so make it count. Where you are right now and who you are with is it. Nothing else really matters but knowing true happiness. Stop looking at the glass as half empty and see it as half full. So, let go of all the “ what if’s” and embrace what you have. I promise you will find an inner peace take over that will enrich your life in a manner you have never dreamed possible.


As for the grass being greener on the other side…well, you know what they say about that…

Think Pink Ladies!

113186572 October 22, 2013
We women spend the majority of our lives worrying about how we look. And somehow we just never seem to be pleased with our hair, makeup, clothing and especially our bodies. We spend a great deal of money on all of the above and we take great pride in looking good. And we never think about anything bad happening to us…that only happens to other people, right?
Imagine you are getting out of the shower one night before going to bed and as you are drying off, you discover a lump just under your arm. Of course, you feel instant alarm followed by reassurances that it couldn’t possibly be cancer. You spend the night tossing and turning with very little sleep. The next morning, you keep the secret to yourself as you halfheartedly attempt to follow your daily morning routine of getting your children off to school, dress for work, kiss the husband bye as you begin your twenty minute commute to the office. Along your commute, you start to think to yourself that maybe you were overreacting the night before and there has to be a logical explanation as you  silently vow to change your eating habits and get more exercise.
 A few days pass by, and even though you have vowed not to let the lump bother you, but your hand reaches for it all the time and you swear it has gotten bigger. After a few more days of agonizing, you break down and go see your family doctor, who tells you not to worry, that it’s probably just benign. Two days later,  As you are sitting in his office awaiting the biopsy results, your mind is all over the place. Out of the corner of your eye, you can see him entering the door with a folder in one hand and a grim look on his face as his eyes won’t quite meet yours. Your heart is pounding out of your chest as he takes a seat in front of you finally looking you in the eye with a sympathetic look. You barely hear his dreaded words “ It’s cancer” due to the ringing in your ears. Worst case scenarios play out in your mind as the faces of your husband and children flash before your eyes. You feel as if you have just been handed a death sentence and even though your doctor is reassuring you that your odds of beating it are good, you cannot seem to grasp reality. You make it out of his office with a false smile and rubber legs, and practically run to your car before you collapse inside as you finally release all of your heartache and anguish. The hot tears cascade down your cheeks accompanied by big gulping sobs. Your mind is a whirlwind. Why is this happening to you? You are only 34 years old.  What are you going to do? Who is going to raise your kids? How are you going to make it through this?  
Breast Cancer Survivor Beth Jackson with firefighters honoring breast cancer awareness month at Trinity Hospital
Breast Cancer Survivor Beth Jackson with firefighters honoring breast cancer awareness month at Trinity Hospital
The days that follow are like a nightmare. The double mastectomy, the chemo and radiation that seem to make you deathly sick and extremely tired, the many trips to the doctor’s office and hospitals. Your family and friends are a wonderful support system yet even the constant attempts to cheer you up become hard to take. How can you ever talk to anyone honestly about how you feel? How you no longer feel like a woman with nothing but scars in the place that used to be a source of great pride. Your once beautiful mane of golden hair is now gone, leaving you looking like some sort of freak.  Your husband has been great, but he won’t even talk to you about it. Even your children tiptoe around you like they are going to break you. All you do is wish for some sign of the crazy, chaotic life you once led before the cancer reared its ugly head. This disease has wreaked havoc all over your body, from head to toe, inside and out and you feel as though you can never recover. Will you ever get your life back?
Donna Mathews and her grandson Jaxon (behind sign) during her battle. She is now cancer free.
Donna Mathews and her grandson Jaxon (behind sign) during her battle. She is now cancer free.
How does this woman’s story end? Well it could go either way. Some survive and some don’t. But the path along the way is always the same. Much like a tornado, there are spins and turns, leaving behind a path of destruction and carnage that can sometimes be repaired and sometimes not. Either way you will never be the same. Because once breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter has touched your life, you are changed forever. I have seen many great fighters prevail over this deadly disease and I have also watched many courageous warriors lose their battle. Win or lose, they have all inspired me and made me see that life is what is happening now, and not to waste another day. Don’t wait until you can finally afford that family vacation to make the most of the time you have left. Because in the end, it’s not about what kind of car you drove, or how much money you make. It’s about family and friends, laughter and love, good times and making memories to last a lifetime.
My blessed friend Carolyn Alderson Jackson who lost her battle with Triple Negative breast cancer in January 2012
My blessed friend Carolyn Alderson Jackson who lost her battle with Triple Negative breast cancer in January 2012
May God bless our cancer survivors and those still present in their fight: Beth Jackson, Deloris Rush, Tonya Bush, Nancy Sprayberry, Donna Mathews, Cindy Hyatt,  Rhonda Taylor, Sue Schoggins, Angel Gibson, Dodi Colburn and Nadine Kennedy.
Bless those Angels in Heaven who lost their battle, but their souls live on in our hearts every day: Kathy Gates, Carolyn Jackson, and Nina Hanners.
Perhaps one of the greatest cancer warriors ever, Kathy Gates, who also lost her battle with breast cancer, but her courageous spirit still lives on.
Perhaps one of the greatest cancer warriors ever, Kathy Gates, who also lost her battle with breast cancer, but her courageous spirit still lives on.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I have seen some very touching tributes this month that have warmed my heart. Now the month is almost over, but I would like to encourage you to remember these great ladies every month because theirs is an everyday struggle. You never know when cancer may affect your life.  Remember to Think Pink!
pink ribbon

The Circus is still in Town

October 15, 2013

I don’t usually do back to back political rants, but in times like these, how can it not be on your mind day in and day out. With all of the uncertainty in the air, there just seems to be utter confusion everywhere you turn. And anger…lots and lots of it.

Last Tuesday evening, I received my dreaded information packet from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I, like so others, was fit to be tied when I discovered my health insurance was going to almost double for even less coverage than I have now. I had already been on a tangent (as you all may have read last week) about the government shutdown, so this only fueled my fire even more. Folks, I am not a wealthy person. I live from paycheck to paycheck just as most of you do, so this very substantial increase to my monthly budget is just not something I can afford.

How are we, the taxpayers, supposed to survive when we are paying out more than we are taking in? I mean, we are getting hit hard everywhere we go. From the increase in utilities, to the grocery store, to the gas pumps, and now finally with health insurance. We are a tax poor nation. Well, for those of us who work anyway..all of these added expenses and most of us have not even gotten a raise in a couple of years. Companies are cutting their work staff, only to result in an increase in workload for the skeleton crew left behind. And all these jobholders hear for their extra time and efforts are “Just be thankful you still have a job”. And yet everyone wonders why the morale is down everywhere you turn.

When I was recently divorced, I worked two, sometimes three jobs to earn my way. I have worked in textile factories, been a food server, and cleaned houses just to make a living. No one gave me anything. I wanted to make my own way.  I was not above a little manual labor to pay my bills and everytime I wrote a check out, I felt a pride in myself that money can’t buy. Failure was just not an option for me. And I did all of this without a college degree, so if I can do this as a single mother, then I know anyone else can.

Because my kids were raised around a strong work ethic, both of my daughters are extremely hard workers. So, if a child is raised in an environment where they are dependent on government aid, then they will grow to be dependent on them as well because it’s all they know. If you don’t believe that, just look around.

The fact of the matter is that our government is making our citizens lazy. They want you to rely on them for income because that is a form of socialism. Case in point: I’m guessing everyone heard about the alleged  computer glitch with the EBT cards over the weekend. Don’t kid yourself, that wasn’t a glitch. It was a test to see how it everyone receiving EBT benefits would react in the event the funds were no longer there. They can say all day long that it was just a glitch, but how many times have you ever heard of any kind of glitch where food stamps are concerned? Never…

Moving right along in day 15 of the shutdown, I hear that there is some progress slowly being made. Well sure, I mean we only have two days left before we suffer nationwide catastrophic failure to the likes of which our nation will ever recover. No rush or anything…


But what exactly is involved in this so-called progress? Here is the House’s counter offer: House Republicans will move their own debt ceiling and government funding bill, GOP leaders announced in a closed meeting Tuesday. The bill will delay Obamacare’s medical device tax for two years, install income verification for Obamacare subsidies and have language to cancel health insurance subsidies for members of Congress and the presidential Cabinet. Government funding will run until January 15 and the debt ceiling will be lifted until February 7. Folks, it’s like putting a bandaid on a gushing wound. This temporary solution will only get us through the next few months before the problems arise again. You cannot borrow from Peter to pay Paul. It just never works.

So, what if we ran our household the same way the government runs the country? It would result in bankruptcy and losing all of our assets. Can you continue to borrow money when you write bad checks and have horrible credit? Not in a million. They would laugh you straight out of the bank.

the road to D.C. jammed with traffic
the road to D.C. jammed with traffic

Meanwhile in Washington D.C., thousands of protesters have made their way to our nation’s capital to voice their disapproval of the mess our country is in now. From bikers to truckers to veterans, the road to D.C. has been steadily jammed with traffic. I would just like to personally say to these protesters: Thank You for standing up for our rights. You make me proud to still be an American in times of strife. If everyone would band together like you all have, then maybe, just maybe, we would make an impact that would be heard around the world.

Michelle Obama works her overrun garden
Michelle Obama works her overrun garden

But on another note, I hear the squirrels at the White House are eating very well off from the ripe vegetables and produce of the First Lady’s vegetable garden, since the gardeners that remain have been limited to removing trash and watering the lawn. Lucky for them there was some live produce around for them since all of the nuts seem to have moved indoors.

Hope you all have a great week!

Government Shutdown

October 7, 2013
It has one week since our nation’s leaders gridlocked and forced our beloved country, once the Land of the Free, into a government shutdown. Since then, our nation’s own  capitol has become the scene of utter chaos. And why would it not? These incumbent “leaders”, as they would like to call themselves,  have turned our country into nothing more than a joke with no punchline, a three-ring circus is you will.
What’s really sad is while we continue on this downward spiral, all eyes of foreign countries are on us, and they tune in every day to watch and listen as things grow more and more out of control with each passing day. I’m sure they pop a bowl of popcorn before they sit down in front of the television to watch the best reality show ever as the events unfold. They have probably even placed bets on how long our country will be at a standstill.  
In just one short week, we have had a woman with her infant child strapped in a car seat ram the barricades in front of the White House with her vehicle, resulting in her demise from being shot to death by police. We have had a man set himself on fire on the White House lawn for an undisclosed reason,  Elderly WWII veterans who are trying to run over the barricades blocking the Veterans Memorial Park in Washington D.C. with their wheelchairs. Every day something even more crazy is added to the list of Government shutdown repercussions. And I have a feeling we ain’t seen nothing yet…
Lady rams barricades at White House and is fatally shot by police.
Lady rams barricades at White House and is fatally shot by police.
Basically, what this boils down to is a pissing contest between the Democrats and the Republicans, leaders that WE voted into office because we felt confident they could make the best decisions for our country. Who is benefiting from this power struggle anyway? No one, that I can tell. Both sides are so busy pointing fingers and refusing to even meet the other even halfway. They should both be spanked and put in a timeout for their childish behavior.
And who sits in the middle of this power struggle, laughing silently to himself as our nation falls to pieces? Why, the ringleader himself, your President with that same knowing smirk on his face, the one that says “I’m winning, and there’s not a thing you can do about it” ….You can disagree all you want, but it’s a fact, Jack.
 How has this man kept from being impeached?? That’s a question we people ask every single day who can see inside his ever-changing lies and broken promises. A question that should have been answered  when he left  U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens out to dry, along with four others who were murdered in the Benghazi attacks. I’m sure if these people could talk now, they would tell you the same thing.
  This man may have been born American, his first loyalty lies with his Muslim heritage and he has proven it time after time. If you can’t see it, then I’m sorry. It should be as plain as the nose on your face unless you have gotten used to living in denial. This man wants this nation to fail and he is succeeding. It was his plan all along and is becoming more apparent with each passing day.  So, if you support him, it brings up a question of loyalty to your country in my book.  
It disturbs me that many don’t seem to be alarmed by the events that have yet to unfold with this shutdown. So far, it has started off slowly, with the closing of national parks, some government programs frozen, and workers on furlough. It almost seems like a vacation to some. Yet, as the days go by, you will see things grow considerably worse. In fact, if there is not an agreement of some sort by October 17, 2013, our nation will suffer catastrophic failure. Funny thing is, we are still having taxes deducted from our paychecks. This defies all logic to me. Meanwhile, all we are hearing through leaked comments from Congress and Senators is who’s “winning”? I’m sorry,   I didn’t realize we were playing a game…
 The real story here  is not the government shutdown, but rather the insistence by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry  Reid to foist Obamacare on the American people. If you have not done your homework on Obamacare, then you need to, it will change existence as we know it.
 “The Affordable Health Care Act” has been glorified by its creator to U.S. citizens, but the truth is, if enforced, will end health care reform as we know it. Not to mention raise individuals’ health care premiums, cut workers’ hours, make it more difficult to find a job, and force many Americans off their existing health coverage.
The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.  
The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business, and  put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats, and most of them will not be health care professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled by the government. It’s also interesting to note that Congress will not be affected by Obamacare that will be enforced on us because they have their own private insurance.
This partial shutdown has a price tag of approximately $300 million dollars a day, as if our debt was not already staggering enough.  On January 20, 2009, the day Obama took office, the debt stood at $10.626 trillion. The latest posting reflects an increase of almost $ 7 trillion. Who owns the biggest part of the U.S. debt, or to break it down into layman’s terms of “Who’s your daddy now?” That would be China and Japan, each country holding well over a trillion dollars of our deficit. Those ‘Made in China’ stamps not looking so bad anymore, now are they?
And all the while the circus is in town, we Americans have once again lost our voice. No one seems to care what the taxpayer wants anymore. Our arguments as to what WE want as a whole cannot be heard for the bickering between the Democrats and the Republicans. But slowly out of the ashes, there have been a few shows of patriotism that are slowly breathing life back into our people. The first was with the 2 Million Bikers rally, the second came when WWII Veterans rolled into Washington to oppose the closing of the Veteran’s memorial, and the third will happen this weekend when truckers will strike saying they are tired of the government corruption and will shut down America. Not what everyone wants, I know, but what else can you do to get your point across? As much of an inconvenience as this will cause everyone, I can’t help but admire these trucker’s efforts. Americans are getting tired of being ran over, and we are ready to fight back.  
Veterans arrive in Washington to protest closing of Veterans Memorial
Veterans arrive in Washington to protest closing of Veterans Memorial
This country is in horrible financial condition, but it can still be saved, with the right leader. So people, I am asking you to please educate yourselves on the fine print. The future of this country is in serious danger, and you need to be prepared for the worst. Because it will get a lot worse before it gets better, I promise you. My 90 year old grandmother is one of the smartest women I have ever met. She made the remark when Obama was running for office, that is he was elected, he would destroy this country from the inside out and she was exactly right. Too bad we can’t have a wise grandmother run the country…

Daily Struggles

October 1, 2013
 Sometimes in life we get so wrapped up in our busy, chaotic lives that we forget there are others out there who are suffering and need a friend to confide in. I, myself, have been guilty of being negligent to other’s misery many times, although I try really hard to be a good friend, sometimes it slips by me. Until God intervenes in his own special way to remove my blinders and show me that I need to spend my time more wisely and focus on the things that really matter in life….
helping hands
I talked to a good friend the other day who was grieving over the sudden death of her son. I tried my best to console her but you could just see the heartache in her eyes that seemed to reach inside to the very soul of her. I felt her pain and left her with a heavy heart because I could not remove this despair from her life.
The next day I talked to friend I hadn’t seen in sometime. We chit-chatted about everyday topics, and after some time the conversation deepened into our personal lives. She confided to me that she was a chronic worrier, and suffered from some mystery illness that plagued her everyday with different symptoms. She said there were some days she had to struggle just to get out of bed.  I felt helpless to her problems that made mine seem so small, but I did all I could do and that was listen. 
That very same evening, I spent an hour on the phone with another friend who was undergoing a very nasty divorce that seemed to be consuming him.  Again, I tried to cheer him up and tell him things would get better, but he seemed desolate. Again, I felt his pain because I had been where he is before and even though I had overcame these feelings with time, I still remembered what it was like to be where he was…
Being a good friend and listener  is important to me, because sometimes that all people needs is a good ear,  a strong shoulder to cry on and maybe even a few laughs along the way. And then sometimes your presence is all that is required. You never really know what a person may need to get them through the day so it’s best to handle everyone you come in contact with kindness and compassion. You may feel you never gain anything by extending this courtesy to strangers, but you don’t know what struggles they are facing in their life, so your kind words and smiles may be a positive turning point of their lives.
They say out of every life situation you should learn a valuable lesson. In my line of work, I have seen many heartaches and sorrow; People who had lost loved ones, had all of their worldly possessions destroyed by storm and/or fire, battled diseases and lost the good fight, had their lives turned upside down through tragic circumstances beyond their control, just to name a few. You see in life, tragedy does not discriminate, so you never know when those close to you may be affected.
 My lesson in all of these struggles I’ve witnessed are that life is precious and in the end, your family and friends are all that matters. Everything else is replaceable. You can sit and worry about your bills all you want to, but it’s not going to change anything. All you are doing is wasting precious energy you could be using in different areas. There’s not one person who can look you in the eye and tell you that helping someone in life is like food to your soul. It can give you a satisfaction like nothing you have ever known. All you have to do is take the time to make it happen.
Those of us who are struggle with money issues all dream about being rich and famous so we can fix all of our problems. Those of us who are fortunate to have financial wealth in their lives have problems that money can’t fix. The grass is always seems to be greener on the other side….
Replace your struggle with effort. It takes effort for our human journey. It takes effort to get up in the morning and choose to be happy. Everyday upon awakening I thank God for allowing me live to see another sun rise and I try to make a conscious choice to be happy, healthy and abundant . Because I’m not perfect, I may fail in this mission on some days, but when I lay down at night I say a prayer to be a better person if I am allowed another day. Life is not meant to be a struggle. We are here to make experience life fully and live in peace, harmony and joy. Anything less than that should not be acceptable. It is always about choice. If you choose each moment well, you will find real freedom and a life free of struggle.
Bottom line here is, we are all battling our demons in life and we always will be until you let go and let God take control.  And even then, you will still have your share of problems, but you can’t let them consume you. God never said it would be easy, but He said it would be worth it. Your daily struggles are futile and that’s not the way God intended that it be. He gave us everything we needed in life to get by, so simplify your life. You don’t NEED everything you think you do, all you really need is love.Make a Difference
  So, be that friend, be that person who extends a hand in times of need, be that stranger who makes polite conversation in public places. By reaching out to others who need it, you can enrich your life in  ways you could never even begin to imagine. Just make the effort…it could change your life