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Scary Moments: 8 Times I Could Have Died

This week, I’m focusing on Halloween with a few spooky posts.

People visit haunted house events during this time of year. I’ve been to some over the years and was never impressed with these, rarely unnerved by them. I’ve been through my own scary situations enough that fake ones just don’t get to me.

Here’s a list of scary moments that stick out to me:

What does it have to do with me? Aside from it passing within a few miles of my house, that morning was marred by fast moving squall line of thunderstorms around dawn. Sirens woke me and I let the dogs out as I checked the weather on the TV. When they came back in, I started to check the TV again since the warning was for a storm across the county. Lights flickered and I held my breath, turned to get my daughter out of bed and then the power failed entirely.

The noise of a tornado is like standing next to a freight train. It’s a rattle and hum like you’ve never heard and moving fast. I thought it was straight-line wind as I stared out the back into the near darkness and thought our deck furniture was wrecked. Nope. An EF3 tornado went past the back door. I was standing a mere 20-30 feet from death when it whirled past the house. When I checked outside is when I realized how close to death I had just been.

Tornados lose power when they go through something and this one arrived from a stand of trees on one side. It threw down several trees onto our fence and one swiped along our chimney. No damage to the back deck occurred because those woods took some steam out of the twister. By halfway across the length of the deck, it tore the top of a gum tree out forty feet up. Twenty feet further and it was past the house, regained power, and tossed a massive white oak over like nothing. That’s how fast a tornado regains power.

It was one edge that stretched behind the house several hundred feet. That’s a big twister to dodge. Tuscaloosa was a half-mile wide. I was very thankful to be alive because a lot of people died that day and the date is still remembered statewide.

Bonus Story

As if those weren’t enough, barely a month later, we were traveling back from a funeral in Indiana. It was another bad day where we dodged tornados back to Nashville. It was raining so hard and so much water was down, the big, hanging gullies from the bluff over the Cumberland River were full, raging waterfalls.

We stopped by my youngest brother-in-law’s house to visit, thinking the storms would blow over. Within minutes all the interstates – I-65, I-24, I-40, and I-440 were closed due to flooding and we were stuck. Storms never abated all that night as the system was just stuck like a train of storms rolling overhead and dropping water on Middle Tennessee. 

When we got up, the interstates were open and I said, “If we don’t go now, we won’t get out of Nashville.” I saw from the radar that the rain stopped just south of the suburb of Franklin going south on I-65. We got in my old Honda Pilot and started for an entrance. We couldn’t get out of the neighborhood for all the flooded streets, even finding a police car underwater with the lights somehow still flashing. 

My wife remembered one street and we found water just barely lapping over the center. I drove through and got to the Interstate. It rained so hard, the interstate was standing with inches of water and we drove less than 30 mph. When we finally got to Franklin, the water stopped like someone turned off a faucet. Going over the ridges south of town, the winds were very rough – this was what kept the storm system in place.

Later we found out where we got on the interstate, a small hill had collapsed onto the ramp – literally minutes after we passed. Not only had we escaped that mishap, but we had lived through the infamous Nashville flood of 2011. Yep, we lived through two major natural disasters in less than a month. Now that’s something spooky.

While you’re celebrating Halloween, pause and be thankful in all the fun. Life is precious and can be snuffed out in innumerable ways within mere moments. I’m sure many people have similar stories to mine, but those stick out to me and serve as reminders to take each day with a thankful heart. And, yes, I have more stories than those, but this is long enough.

Let me know your scary close encounters with mayhem in the comments. Please share this post and stay safe!

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