I have lived in Michigan for 15 years now, but as most of you know, I grew up in Georgia. My family, however, is from Knoxville, TN. From Athens, GA for most of my life, the drive to Knoxville took you over the Mountain and through Sevier County. We would drive through both Gatlinburg and Pidgeon Forge every trip, usually 2-3 times a year.
My Great Grandmother lived on the hillside in Gatlinburg, TN, I don’t know yet if that house has survived. Since before I was born my Father’s family (all the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents) would get together every Labor Day weekend, rent a cabin about 4 easy walking blocks up the hill from Downtown. I wonder right now, if any of those buildings survived, if the people I grew up seeing each year have lost their homes, businesses and are now overwhelmed and scare of what comes next and that is if they all survive the storm hitting tonight.
The pictures I see are devastating, as so many of the ruined structures are so very familiar.
To those people, I send my love and thoughts to you, as for 30 years you treated us as locals because we were there every year, and because you came to recognize us (especially my cousin and I) over the years. For your losses, I grieve with you and wish you all my best.
Stay safe. You can survive this, and know that there is someone out there that missed you and is thinking of you all during the horrifying experience you are going through right now.