I happened to be at Edley's BBQ in East Nashville on Monday night, enjoying a meal and a night out while my two teenage sons were at a Trippie Redd concert. For those who may not be familiar, Trippie Redd has gained fame for his rap music.
Cupcake and I ended up with about four hours of together time because Trippie did his impersonation of Kanye West and didn't take the stage until 2 hours and 15 minutes past showtime. So we had some quality time at Edley's and the surrounding night spots.
It was at Edley's when I had one eye on the Predators game and another eye on the weather report. The TV station kept showing maps of Middle Tennessee with graphics showing a powerful storm heading our way.
The TV warnings mainly served as background music because those storms always hit someplace else, right?
We finished up at Edley's and decided a change of scenery was in order. Since East Nashville has become the place to be, we had several options. We walked past Basement East and decided instead for a seat at the Lakeside Lounge, a fun spot located right next door.
We relaxed and I shot pool, surprisingly well I might add. We did some chilling until the boys called around 11:30 p.m. and said the concert was over. They were ready to be picked up. We drove across the Cumberland River, picked up the boys outside War Memorial Auditorium, then steered the car back toward McMinnville.
The longer we drove, the more frequent the warnings came from the Emergency Management Agency. When we traveled past Woodbury, the music on the radio had been replaced by a constant weather warning.
Find shelter! Get in your safe place! A life-threatening storm is quickly approaching. This sounds really bad, Cupcake and I agreed.
You can imagine my shock the next morning when I awoke to news reports and sobering video of the destruction that littered East Nashville at the very spot I was hanging out some seven hours earlier.
Basement East was destroyed, the images showed. A truck from Edley's BBQ was on its side and blown about a block down the street. A storefront that I noticed walking into the restaurant, a vape shop, was in shambles with people scattered around the parking lot taking cellphone pictures of the damage.
As the day wore on, the death toll climbed. It had reached 25 dead as of Tuesday night, some of the victims killed in the safety of their own beds.
Elected officials, including Gov. Bill Lee, spoke in the aftermath. It was noted how tragedies like this show how fragile life can be, snatched away in a moment even in the seeming comfort of our own home.
The storm is a grave example that awful things don't always happen somewhere else. If the storm hit a mere two hours earlier, I would have been right in the eye of a tornado as I relaxed with my wife -- and my sons could have been waiting outside for a ride home that would never arrive.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.