Radium Springs, where I grew-up, was a beautiful place for children to live, outside the hustle and bustle of the city limits, but certainly populated enough that the area claimed it’s own elementary school and junior high school, although not quite large enough for a high school.
It was safe most anywhere you wanted to go. Parents felt no fear in their children walking to and from school every day, or as we got older, even a mile or so up the road to the local curb store for an evening Icee.
The water was ice cold and the people poured in by the hundreds! They had a giant diving board that was so high, when people would jump, it seemed as if it took them forever to reach the water; most of them hollering and screaming, all the way down! I had heard so many tales of how deep the blue hole went in that area, I was too terrified to jump myself. I was always so scared I would never come back up!
I spent many a hour trying to talk myself into taking that first step into what seemed like an ice-bath, then standing there shivering in the sunshine, laughing and talking like it was perfectly normal to want to want to experience freezing to death. Our lips and finger tips would be practically purple when we would climb out, running for the nearest towel to wrap-up in and back into that glorious hot sun beaming down.
Never once did I ever think about that place no longer being what it was; that it would one day close-down, and that there would be so many people who never get to experience any of that. Nor did I ever think that one day, the road directly in front of that casino, Holly Drive, would be virtually wiped out by a EF3 tornado, just weeks after a an EF1 went through another part of my hometown.
More homes were destroyed last weekend and this time, lives were lost. People/children are still missing. Last week they drained a pond and searched for days for a two year old little boy that has to be found.
Nothing about the place that I grew-up in looks the same. Descriptions of a war zone are nightmarishly accurate. People/citizens have been working for almost two weeks straight, but even today when new pictures were posted on Face Book, the sight of it all, still sends a chill through my soul.
But the people of my hometown, once again rallied, and are working together as one, gathering the pieces, and trying to make things right. My thoughts and prayers go out to all – and bless the city that had the tenacity to pick-themselves-up and carry one another once again.