I've been glued to Twitter and my laptop lately, which in and of itself isn't all that unusual. This time, though, it's not for fun. I'm glued to the photos coming out of Nashville. I'm riveted by the tweets falling under the #nashvilleflood hashtag.
I'm a Hoosier through and through, but my heart will always belong to Nashville. I might have been born and raised in Indiana, but I grew up in Nashville. Mike and I moved there the day after we were married and spent the next ten years there. We rented our very first apartment together in Bellevue, a suburb that now finds itself under water. We spent our 2nd anniversary as tourists in our own town, spending the night in the lovely Opryland Hotel. The same Opryland Hotel that is now more than 10 feet under water. We cheered on our Nashville Predators in the Gaylord Entertainment Center (yes, I know it goes by another name now, but it will always be the GEC to me). Also flooded. I saw Peyton Manning play for the very first time at the home of the Tennessee Titans. The stadium overlooks the Cumberland River and where there was once a football field there is now . . . water. I couldn't wait for my dad to come to town so I could show off the Grand Old Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, both of which now sit in muddy water. We bought our first home in Nashville and brought our first born home there, just a few miles from Interstate 24 and Bell Road – the one with the school building floating down the highway. One of the very last things I did before moving to Indy was to take Elena to the Nashville Farmers Market one last time. We bought two pounds of Tennessee strawberries and polished them off while sitting in the grass next to the market.
I can't imagine what it must be like to be a Nashvillian right now, to see the city you love covered with water but not with national media attention. I'm thankful that my brother's home was spared, as were the homes of so many dear friends. I hurt for those who didn't fare as well, who never thought anything like this would ever happen in Nashville.
I'm not comparing this flooding to the devastation Katrina wreaked on the city of New Orleans in any way, but I do think there is a parallel. The city of Nashville, like New Orleans, is an American treasure. Its history, its architecture, its deep connection to country music, its people . . . they are one of a kind and deserve to be taken care of.
As the waters subside and specific needs are communicated to me, I will share them with you in hopes that together we can help the people of Nashville recover and repair their homes and their city. In the meantime I encourage you to make a small donation to the American Red Cross. You can text REDCROSS to 90999 to give a $10 donation to the Nashville Flood Relief effort.
To all my Nashville friends: if you have any specific ideas on how we can help, please leave them in the comments section. You are so Nashville if you do. Love and hugs and prayers to all.
Update: As of Thursday, May 6, the best way you can help if you're not in Nashville is to donate to the American Red Cross as I mentioned above. I just found out that Tide's Loads of Hope outreach will be in Nashville. I've known some bloggers who have helped with this campaign post-Katrina and it's a huge blessing for those affected. You can support Loads of Hope, and therefore support flood relief in Nashville, by purchasing a shirt or specially marked bottles of Tide.