Show of hands, friends: who was here in town on April 16? And who has a tornado story to tell?  I have a ninety year old friend who watched a stand of ancient oak trees crumple into a twisted heap, there in her yard near the farmer’s market.  My neighbor watched the storm come down our street, thinking she was about to lose the precious children safe in the pantry with the family guinea pig.  I had other friends on the road, tangled up in hail storms and blinding rain all the way, trying to get home to check on family members who were in the path of the storm.  It was a terrifying afternoon.

We have a remarkable ability, though, to adapt, process, and move on.  That’s generally a good thing.  For most of us, it was a scary day, and we cleaned up our yards and hugged our neighbors and spent a couple of evenings doing crossword puzzles by candlelight until the power came back on.   And then we tried to get back to normal.

It’s not normal yet, though.  I drove down Hargett Street this weekend, by the City Cemetery.  And it’s stunning how wrecked it still is.  I drove up Wilmington Street the other day, from the south, and was shocked by the number of blue tarps still on rooftops.  At the Rise Up Raleigh benefit concert, the organizers talked about the 183 homes which were completely destroyed, and I haven’t heard a figure yet for how many were significantly damaged.  But it’s a lot.  We have a long way to go, before everyone who was in the path of the tornado is back to normal.

Thank goodness, there are people among us who are aware of that, and are the type of folks to roll up their sleeves and do something about it.  ComeUnityNow is a group of fine people who are hosting a huge event, on July 30th, on Fayetteville Street.  Mark your calendars.  They need volunteers, artists, musicians, vendors- and a whole bunch of people who want to come out and have a good time.

The proceeds from the event are going to two charities helping the tornado victims put the pieces back together:  Wake Interfaith Disaster Team, and The Green Chair Project.  Check ’em out.  They’re doing great things.  And then come on down to Fayetteville Street on July 30th.  See you there!

(Thanks Mary Jane for the information!)

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