As most of you know by now, my beautiful wife, Leigh Ann, is from Graves County in far West Kentucky and the home county of the worst tornado in Kentucky history — and, perhaps, for the world for that matter.
She grew up in Mayfield. Dated a boy from there for many years. (Although I don’t like to talk about that much, if you know what I mean.) Went to Graves County High School, and was the Homecoming Queen, among many other scholastic accomplishments.
And, she has been back home ever since the tornado ripped its’ way through her home and through the hearts of so very many.
She has organized a massive toy drive, and we begin handing those out today to the boy and girls that deserve so much more. Like an explanation. Like a reason why. Like love and compassion. Like a future tomorrow, but more needed is a home today.
She has organized a food drive and has walked door-to-door handing out food that her family has made, purchased, and somehow managed to cobble together.
She helped an elderly lady who had fallen in the mud of her front yard, and could not get up. She had no shoes to wear. So, the past two days, Leigh has gone shopping in her “down time” to find a pair of willing and fitting shoes.
She has driven families out to the temporary shower facility on the edge of town because they had no other way to get there. And, no other way to wash the grime and stench of this horrific ordeal off their bodies and out of their minds.
Some how, and some way she talked her way into getting a little mini bus for a couple of days so that she could relocate a family or two. The darn thing wouldn’t start. But thank goodness her daddy could, and he fixed the vehicle and the issue.
She has organized three tractor trailer loads of bottled water. Another load comes today. This afternoon, in fact. We have to be there to unload it. LA will be on the front row.
She talked me into playing a role of Santa Claus. Although I look the part, thank you, my heart needed a transfusion. She made sure that I was mentally prepared.
She is an amazing person, who gives all and asks little.
But the thing that I know now, more than anything else.
While Mayfield — the little, country-town nestled in what we would call the safest place in America at one time — may be down right now. May be hurt. May be injured. May have suffered the worst gut punch in the history of U.S. gut-punches. Little Mayfield, KY may be hurting.
But one thing’s for damn sure.
Mayfield shall rise again.
I know because I see it in her eyes and spirit, and she is just one of many of these folks who will not take “may” for an answer.
It will always be known as Mayfield, to be sure.
But for while, it will come “Shallfield.”
It shall rise again, ole’ Phoenix.
Get ready to sprout those wings.
Mayfield is coming.
Mayfield is coming soon.