Stranded

ALL the rain over the last few days has reminded me of the “Historic Nashville Flood” in 2010, and of mine and Husband’s overnight journey in attempt to get home. After reminiscing with Husband, I’ve decided to share this memory. Enjoy.

A little over three years ago, Husband and I were living in Nashville and I was teaching at a magnet school in Smyrna, TN. I taught first grade, but I also coached an 8th grade extra-curricular drama club with my good friend/co-worker. It was the first year for the drama club so we were beyond determined for it to be a successful year. One tactic was to force our drama students to practice every Saturday for six weeks before our final production. Don’t feel bad for them, I am positive it was much harder for us to be there on Saturday morning than it was for them.

A couple Saturdays before our big production it was storming, like big time storming. About an hour into rehearsal parents started showing up to pick up their kids early. They told us it was “really coming down” and there were flood warnings. Eventually everyone left except me, Husband, my friend Marsha, her Husband and another teacher who was there helping us with mics and sound. We all rolled our eyes at the dramatic parents and began cleaning up the stage area. As I pulled props into a storage closet I was shocked to see water streaming down the walls… I guess it was pouring a little heavier than normal. However, I still didn’t think much of it and we all planned to have lunch together before heading home.

Once in our cars we heard constant reports that certain streets were flooding and other roads were shutting down. We all decided to skip lunch and head home, mostly because we assumed traffic would be bad. The drive from the school to our apartment in Nashville was normally only 20 minutes. This day, it took us 20 minutes to get about two miles down the interstate which was then at standstill traffic.

The beginning of our drive
The beginning of our drive

We took a side road that would take us home, and ended up driving for over half an hour, stuck in more traffic and then told the road we would need to cross was covered in water. At this point, we’d seen some flooded yards, nothing too bad and we were laughing at how ridiculously long it was taking us to get home. We decided to head back to Interstate and just wait in traffic…

flooded yard

Thirty minutes later the radio announced that the Interstate was closed and traffic would not be moving, like ever. We decided to pull over at the nearest exit, park and make a plan. We actually parked in a hotel parking lot, but it was still early, the rain was slowing down and Belle was at home by herself. Walking home seemed like the best option. After all, we were only 9 miles away.

Starting our 9 mile walk on the dead interstate
Starting our 9 mile walk on the dead interstate

It was so eery and silly to be walking down a deserted interstate. We joked that we were in Zombieland, did cartwheels, skipped, sang and called our parents to let them know about whereabouts (just in case we didn’t make it home).

skipping dejected

After hours of walking we made it to our street (Hallelujah!) We were soaked to the bone, but still laughing at the whole situation. Then…we saw it. A mile before our apartment the road was completely under water. I started getting concerned, but Husband assured me it was just a little water, nothing we couldn’t walk through. As we got to the water’s edge we were met by a couple of police officers and locals watching the water from the river flow over the street. Already knowing the answer I asked the officer what the chances were of getting past the water. He responded with “Well the last person who tried walking across drowned and the water isn’t getting any lower”.

flooded bridge

My can-do attitude was shot. I was tired, wet, cold, worried about Belle and wanting to be home. I just looked at Husband and began crying. The sun was going down and there was not enough time to walk back to our car. Husband’s parents had attempted to drive from the other side of town to pick us up and ended up stranded themselves, and our phones were both on their last leg. The only reasonable option left was to walk a half-mile back up the street to the Super 8 Motel. Eww.

Seconds before the tears started
Seconds before the tears started

Thank GOD there was a Mexican restaurant next door. I ordered the biggest Margarita on the menu and miraculously the entire situation became humorous again.

We slept naked that night so our clothes could dry on the window unit in our motel room. The next morning we were relieved to discover that the water over our road had gone down. Yay! Of course, the second we began walking the last mile home the bottom fell out and it rained harder than ever. As we walked blindly down the side of the road an SUV pulled up next to us, asked where we were headed and offered us a lift.

I felt terrible getting into this very kind strangers’ car sopping wet, but I still jumped in before they could barely get the question out.

Luckily, we made it home safely, Belle was thrilled to see us and our apartment was perfectly in tact. We were MUCH more fortunate than many others in Nashville. Looking back on this little adventure today, I tried to come up with a “lesson learned”, but I think Husband and I are still too stubborn and optimistic to take heed when we hear bad weather is coming. However, next time I think I’ll suggest staying at the hotel we park next to as opposed to walking 9 miles to the next one.

Cheers!

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