As our National editor described plans for covering the aftermath of the Alabama tornadoes in Monday morning’s news meeting, I piped up: “O-pa-LIE-ka,” I said, helping him pronounce the name of the town where I was born and close to where I spent most of my childhood.
A working class town of mostly modest homes, Opelika, Ala., was in the news for a grim reason. The death toll from the tornadoes that struck the surrounding Lee County on Sunday had risen overnight from 14 to 23, and rescuers were searching the wreckage for more remains.
As Marc Lacey, our National editor, described the scene on the ground, fear knotted my stomach. I gripped my cellphone, waiting for news about the status of four of my cousins, who live in Salem, Ala., close enough to the paths of the tornadoes to have been at risk.
And I braced myself for the release of the names of the dead. In a region this small and tight knit, the chances were good that I would know someone who died.
Opelika is a former cotton mill town that has, against all odds, attracted new retail stores and lured manufacturing jobs in the past 20 years. It is the county seat of Lee County, but it sits in the long shadow of its neighbor, Auburn, Ala, the home of Auburn University.
The county is on the northeastern edge of Alabama’s Black Belt and belongs to a broader, mostly rural region of rolling hills and grassy fields that extends to Georgia.
I wanted to be there. I wanted to wrap my arms around my friends and family, and help people start over by clearing debris from yards.
But since I wasn’t, I did the other thing that came natural to me: I asked my networks to help my colleagues on the ground in Lee County find tornado victims and tell their stories.
On Facebook, I saw a post from a Lee County woman with whom I went to junior high school. Shiraka Farley Baker posted a photo of an overturned Coca-Cola van in a front yard of a mobile home with a partially peeled off roof. “No words can describe!!! God's grace and mercy kept us safe,” she wrote.
Some of her neighbors were not as a lucky. Her children had friends who died.
I traded instant messages with another junior high school friend who is a doctor at East Alabama Medical Center, the Lee County hospital. My friend spoke about the reactions of families who were starting to learn that their loved ones were dead. The tornado also killed a hospital employee.
On the Facebook page of a friend I went to elementary school with, I stumbled on a post featuring a mother’s plea for help to find her missing 6-year-old son, Armando Hernandez. The post was shared more than 4,000 times and had hundreds of comments.
In the comments thread, people suggested places to look and volunteered to help. But then word spread that the boy was among the dead, and people argued back and forth over whether the information should be posted on the mother’s own Facebook page.
I saw a stranger named Christopher Lynn Grimes comment on a post featuring drone footage of the devastation in Beauregard, Ala., that the tornado killed his father. His father’s car and truck were in the footage, he wrote.
Before I became an editor, I was a reporter for newspapers and magazines in California, Florida and Illinois. I loved that work, but it was stressful. I wrote about accident victims, suicide victims, murder victims, rape victims, victims of systemic injustice and perpetrators of fraud and political corruption.
But watching such a catastrophic tragedy unfold in my hometown has been different. It has been really hard.
It is one of those rare places in America where generations of families have lived for so long that many have forgotten which cities and towns they migrated from, but they can tell you exactly how they are related to nearly everyone around them.
In my time growing up there, I lived with three generations of my family on a hill at the top of a rocky dirt road. Our homestead was at onetime six houses or mobile homes in a small clearing amid a forest of towering pine trees.
I lived in one of those mobile homes until I was 11 or 12, and I remember rehearsing the steps I would take to flee if a tornado came.
I was lucky — the one tornado that I lived through as a young child roared through town while I was in the safety of my school. And by the time I turned 12, my father had moved us to better housing.
My immediate family left Salem, and eventually Alabama, moving across the river to Georgia, where my father worked. All the children in my family of my generation left Salem, too.
For more than a decade, the only people remaining on the hill have been my father’s four cousins, who are now all older than 75 and living in three houses — two wooden and one brick.
The evening that I heard about the storm I texted my younger cousin to see if she had heard from them. She hadn’t and didn’t seem worried. They don’t use their phones during storms, she said.
By Monday morning, when I still hadn’t heard from anyone, I started looking through my contacts for their phone numbers and making calls. Jean’s phone was turned off and went straight to voice mail. Mary’s phone was on, but rang four or five times and went to voice mail, too. I left a message and then went to the newsroom’s morning meeting.
My drive to tell stories came in part from being born and raised in this family and in this region, which has a long tradition of African-American folklore and oral history.
The author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston was born in the region, on my birthday no less. “All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw,” the oral history of a black sharecropper in the region, won a 1975 National Book Award, besting “All the President’s Men” by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and “The Power Broker” by Robert A. Caro.
But the best folklorists in my life were the old people on that hill. After the meeting, I checked my messages again and saw a voice mail message from Mary. When I called her, she told me about the storm. It got dark, black as night, and the wind roared like a freight train. They were afraid. But the storm passed, they were all safe and now all she requested was for me to come home.B:
红姐统一心水论坛“【你】【既】【然】【知】【道】【为】【什】【么】【还】【喊】【我】【来】？”【唐】【鑫】【可】【不】【信】【于】【红】【是】【大】【发】【慈】【悲】。 【于】【红】【端】【起】【咖】【啡】【喝】【了】【一】【口】，“【因】【为】【我】【一】【个】【人】【肯】【定】【不】【是】【池】【莹】【莹】【的】【对】【手】。【我】【知】【道】【你】【的】【心】【思】，【无】【非】【就】【是】【想】【嫁】【入】【豪】【门】，【今】【晚】【是】【个】【大】【好】【时】【机】，【你】【我】【联】【手】，【肯】【定】【手】【到】【擒】【来】。” 【唐】【鑫】【想】【了】【一】【会】，“【好】，【你】【说】，【该】【怎】【么】【做】？” 【于】【红】【勾】【了】【勾】【嘴】【角】，【凑】【上】【前】【去】，【耳】【语】
【叶】【紫】【萱】【在】【旁】【边】【听】【到】【这】【个】【故】【事】，【也】【忍】【不】【住】【感】【慨】【道】，“【那】【吴】【家】【三】【公】【子】【也】【太】【不】【是】【个】【东】【西】【了】，【人】【家】【丢】【下】【父】【母】【跟】【他】【私】【奔】，【他】【居】【然】【这】【么】【回】【报】，【太】【过】【份】【了】。” 【沈】【青】【黛】【更】【是】【义】【愤】【填】【鹰】，“【简】【直】【就】【是】【人】【人】【渣】【啊】，【要】【是】【换】【了】【我】，【肯】【定】【要】【想】【办】【法】【把】【那】【忘】【恩】【负】【义】【的】【家】【伙】【的】【作】【案】【工】【具】【彻】【底】【销】【毁】【了】，【看】【他】【以】【后】【还】【怎】【么】【风】【流】！” 【沈】【重】【楼】【差】【点】【没】【笑】【出】
“【即】【便】【你】【再】【怎】【么】【喊】，【她】【也】【不】【会】【出】【来】【的】。” 【地】【动】【山】【摇】，【地】【上】【的】【石】【头】【沙】【石】【树】【木】【不】【断】【飞】【起】【来】，【一】【个】【高】【达】【万】【米】【的】【巨】【人】【逐】【渐】【形】【成】，【形】【成】【后】，【光】【华】【闪】【耀】，【让】【人】【睁】【不】【开】【眼】【睛】，【即】【便】【是】【灵】【魂】【状】【态】【的】【祁】【方】【和】【黑】【脸】【男】【也】【是】【如】【此】。 【再】【睁】【开】【眼】【时】，【一】【个】【身】【着】【龙】【袍】，【头】【戴】【冕】【冠】【的】【中】【年】【男】【子】【出】【现】【在】【两】【人】【面】【前】，【身】【高】【八】【尺】【六】【寸】，【高】【大】【威】【猛】。 【随】
【等】【薄】【雪】【心】【情】【平】【复】【了】【下】【来】，【想】【到】【刚】【才】【的】【行】【为】，【心】【里】【瞬】【间】……【我】【怎】【么】【可】【以】【那】【么】【不】【可】【理】【喻】【呢】？【可】【是】，【她】【不】【知】【道】【为】【什】【么】，【就】【是】【有】【些】【控】【制】【不】【住】【自】【己】【的】【情】【绪】，【老】【是】【会】【和】【他】【闹】【脾】【气】。 【慕】【石】【南】【见】【她】【还】【睁】【着】【眼】【睛】，【忍】【不】【住】【地】【打】【了】【个】【哈】【欠】，【轻】【声】【道】：“【媳】【妇】，【早】【点】【休】【息】，【熬】【夜】【不】【好】！” 【薄】【雪】【声】【音】【有】【些】【委】【屈】【道】：“【我】【睡】【不】【着】，【我】【白】【天】【睡】【了】
【三】【日】【后】，【秦】【府】。 【一】【架】【马】【车】【停】【在】【府】【门】【前】【的】【大】【街】【上】，【蓝】【先】【生】【正】【站】【在】【马】【车】【旁】【翻】【看】【着】【手】【中】【的】【信】【件】，【白】【曜】【和】【秦】【冉】【则】【在】【房】【檐】【下】【说】【着】【话】。 “【小】【白】，【你】【真】【的】【要】【去】【那】【里】【吗】？”【秦】【冉】【有】【些】【担】【心】【地】【问】【道】。 【白】【曜】【点】【了】【点】【头】，【道】：“【嗯】！【既】【然】【已】【经】【答】【应】【了】【鱼】【总】【把】，【总】【是】【要】【去】【赴】【约】【的】。” “【唉】！”【秦】【冉】【叹】【了】【口】【气】，【无】【奈】【地】【摆】【手】【道】：“【好】
【潘】【秭】【灵】【写】【的】【可】【好】【了】。 【一】【番】【关】【切】【父】【亲】【辛】【苦】【的】【话】【写】【了】【八】【百】【字】，【看】【的】【潘】【惟】【熙】【心】【里】【暖】【暖】【的】，【然】【后】【在】【最】【后】【来】【了】【一】【句】：【父】【亲】【若】【不】【付】【钱】，【可】【以】【打】【一】【个】【借】【条】，【依】【汴】【梁】【城】【借】【贷】【行】【规】【来】【办】【就】【行】。 【潘】【惟】【熙】【内】【心】【就】【如】【同】【从】【桑】【拿】【房】【出】【来】【直】【接】【一】【盆】【冰】【水】【从】【头】【淋】【了】【下】【来】。 【汴】【梁】【城】【的】【借】【贷】【行】【规】。 【那】【很】【黑】，【非】【常】【黑】【的】。 【大】【宋】【民】【间】【借】【钱】【的】【利】