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The hand of God

Where some would see only destruction and ruin, Adeline Scott saw the comfort and protection of the hand of God.

Last Tuesday night, on the shore of Cedar Creek Lake, Scott was hunkered down in her 160-year-old log cabin while the winds picked up outside. Scott, 78, had already lost power in the two-bedroom house built by great-grandfather Robert Wiley Richardson in 1859, where she lives alone. She was in the kitchen lighting candles when the tornado struck.

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Scott’s front door calls to mind great-grandfather Robert Wiley Richardson, who finished building the log home in 1859.

The front door of the log home bears a unique touch – R. W. R. 1859 spelled out with handmade nails punched into the exterior side. That was the door that flew open and swirled Scott’s belongings around her home as she knelt in the doorway between her living room and kitchen.

“I ran to the front door and I saw it coming,” Scott said. “My nephew had told me in September, if it ever comes a tornado, you get there in that doorway and sit down in the floor. And I did. And I guess that’s what saved me because that front door blew up and everything in there went flying through the air.”

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Adeline Scot found shelter in the time of storm in the doorway between her kitchen and living room, where a nephew had once told her would be the safest place in her log cabin if bad weather ever came.

She began to be soaked by the rain and looked up to realize her roof was gone. After the storm had passed over, she ran out into her front yard and was asking a passerby to help her make it down the road to her daughter’s house; at that moment, daughter Cindy Green and son-in-law Keith pulled up to check on her. She’ll be staying with them until her home is repaired.

Because it’s going to be repaired – especially if cousin Jackie Richardson has anything to say about it.

“This is a sad circumstance, but we’re going to save it,” said Richardson. His father and Scott’s father were brothers, two of 14 children. Richardson, director of Rustic Youth Camp on Cedar Creek Lake, immediately mobilized into action when he found out about the damage to Scott’s house. One of the first steps was setting up the Adeline Scott Building Fund at CB&S Bank. Richardson said any help people can offer toward the restoration of the old home will be appreciated.

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Thursday more than a dozen workers scurried over the Richardson-family homeplace Thursday, assessing the damage and making plans. Of principal importance is the new roof.

It’s a project he said might cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $30K, with much of the interior damaged, in addition to the roof. Richardson said a number of Christian people from across the country have stepped up to donate their material and volunteer labor.

Scott said she didn’t really begin to process her emotions from experiencing the storm until around 4 a.m. the next morning. Then the fear and sorrow set in.

“I woke up and my teeth started chattering and I started shaking all over and I started crying,” she said. “You cannot express what you feel when things like this happen … I cried this morning. I got started and I couldn’t stop.”

But through turmoil, Scott has found the sun shining on the other side of the storm.

“You realize how far-reaching God’s hand is when something like this happens to you,” said Scott. “God was with me. He had to be. I try to be a God-fearing person, and I think his hand is far-reaching … I just have a lot to be thankful for.”

Daughters Cindy, Tammy and Amanda were helping rescue things from their mother’s home Thursday, along with other friends and family. Scott watched as salvageable items were removed and loaded up to be stored until her home is restored.

“That was my new sofa,” she said, watching as the wet and leaf-covered furniture was carted out the front door and onto a trailer. “But that’s OK. It’s going to dry out.”

While some many of Scott’s belongings lay strewn about her home damaged, some things seemed untouched – like her basket collection.
While some many of Scott’s belongings lay strewn about her home damaged, some things seemed untouched – like her basket collection.

Scott moved back into the family home in 1977 when the time came to care for her elderly parents, and she has lived there ever since. “This is the best place in the world,” Scott said.

EMA director Jody Hitt said Scott house seemed to have received the worst damage in Franklin County from the tornado. Other homes experienced only minor damage comparatively, and some areas had trees down. The storm, which began to form in Itawamba County, Mississippi, was just a thunderstorm as it crossed the state line. But as it surged through the western part of the county and came toward the lake, it intensified and cut its path across the lake and through Scott’s property. “Right when it got to the lake, it spun up,” Hitt said. From its formation in Franklin County until it crossed the county line was just about three miles. Hitt said the National Weather Service classified it as an EF-2.

With the combination of the Nov. 29 storms and rain from the weekend through yesterday, the statewide burn ban has been lifted. Although Hitt said it will still take a few good rains to completely rectify the drought situation, it seems the worst of it is past.

And the worst of Scott’s experience is past too. Repairs are already well underway, and Richardson said they hope to have the house put back together as quickly as possible. To donate to the effort, call or go by CB&S Bank.

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