It took less than 2 hours to arrive and what we saw took our breath away. One minute, we're driving along the highway and everything looks normal. Then over the top of one hill you begin seeing it. Trees snapped off, businesses destroyed, and homes decorated with blue tarps on their roofs. We turned down a road to our right and saw the restaurant where the media had been stationed and did all their reports from. It had been repaired enough to have a sign out front saying "Grand Re-Opening." I read in the paper just last week it has in fact now reopened.
Apparently this road was the worst hit area. There was still debris everywhere and the homes were barely inhabitable. An eerie silence filled our truck. There's something about coming face to face with the fact that we are so small and God is so big.
We turned around, not sure where this road led, and came back to the main highway. Down the highway we saw the Wendy's that had sustained damage and then Brad took another right turn and that is where our story
We realized almost immediately there was no damage to be seen on this road, but figured we would run back into the aforementioned road if we just kept taking rights, you know, if we make a square circle. We were wrong.
After going miles and miles and miles and going deeper and deeper into the woods, we discussed turning around. Brad wanted to, I didn't. I was sure we were almost to civilization. Wrong again. Miles and miles and more miles. We tried to decide if we had gone so far as to be out of Yazoo County. But there was no way to tell. Then I remembered hearing after the tornado the little fact that Yazoo is the biggest county in the state. Oh, great!
I was almost irritated....I mean, we had seen the damage for a total of umm, maybe 4 minutes, and now we were headed who-knows-where on this barely-paved road.
Before I go any farther, let me remind you I grew up where there were dirt roads . I normally love riding around on the back country roads, and we often do just that when I return home. Just get in the car and ride and listen to Momma's stories about what it looked like when she was a little girl. The difference is there I know where we are, and in Yazoo County, a place I had never been in my life, none of us had a clue. Or a map.
So we just kept riding. Pop-Tart gave up and went to sleep. I guess it was just too much excitement for her. Gogurt starting sharing about a book he had read based in Yazoo City. It was by Willie Morris and it told about his days growing up in Yazoo City in the 1940s. Gee, I wish we could find the city again and then maybe we could find some of the things mentioned in the book.
Somewhere between hour 6 and hour 8 on this trip (okay, that's an exaggeration, we weren't gone that long) we started laughing. Brad kept his cool - which was a slight miracle in itself - and started making light of our situation. If we ran out of gas we would just squat on a piece of land and call it home. Gogurt started laughing at all of Brad's antics, and instead of being irritated I decided to sit back and enjoy the ride.
We were seeing beautiful country, and we were also spending some good, quality time together as a family (although PopTart missed all of it). She did wake up before we wound our way back to a main road. Her first question was "Where are we?" Good question. "I think we're still in Missississippi. I think."
During this trip we came to many forks in the road and had to decide which way to go. We finally, and I mean FINALLY, saw a "To 55" interstate sign. Sweet heaven! We're gonna make it out alive!
It still felt like another hour before we found the actual interstate but we felt better knowing we were at least headed in the right direction. We got on the interstate and drove. Then we saw the Exit, "Yazoo City." Brad looked at me, I looked at him. "You wanna try it again?" he asked. I thought about it for a second. We had seen the damage but for a very short time. We had not even made it into the acutal city I don't think. I certainly did not feel like we had accomplished what we went there to do. "Sure," I said. He exited. Less than a mile down this road we saw the sign. "Yazoo City 27 miles."
We collectively gasped, turned around, got back on the interstate and headed back toward Jackson.
The day wasn't a total loss however. We stopped at a mall we had never been to and found Five Guys. That was one of the best hamburgers I've ever had. Ironically (I think he had this whole thing planned out) Brad found an Apple store and we all went in and played with iphones and ipads.
Brad reminded me that if he had had an iphone we never would have gotten lost in Yazoo. Yeah, but what fun would that have been?