Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Great Smoky Mountains

The Sinks
If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know my love for the Great Smoky Mountains.  On Monday, I sent a message to Ole Boy that we should make a weekend run to Dollywood for the Christmas shows.  Later that evening, I starting seeing the first of many posts of the fires…

…then the reports of people missing.  Shortly thereafter, injuries were reported and deaths were being confirmed.   Like the rest of the Southeast (and across the nation), I watched news stories in horror as the fires devoured an estimated 700 homes and businesses, and some 20,000 acres of wooded forestland.

The first fires were likely to be started by human hands, according to park officials.  Add in strong winds, downed power lines, and drought conditions, and it quickly spelled devastation, for both lives and land. 

Did you know that the Great Smoky Mountains are the most visited national park in America?  

Old Homestead - Cades Cove
Michael Reed, whose story was covered by WATE TV as he searched for his wife and two daughters, put a face on the tragedy for me.  I had hoped and prayed for his wife and daughters to be found alive.   With each passing day, I knew the possibility was growing slimmer.  Today, when it was confirmed that the body of his wife, Constance, had been found, along with nine-year-old Lily and twelve-year-old Chloe, I cried. 

I’m crying now.  People are missing, families are searching and hanging on to hope that their loved ones are alive.  Still others have lost everything they own, homes and business.  Loss of jobs.   Loss of an innocence...bad things really do happen to “good” people.

I know this post is jumbled, please forgive me.  I am heartbroken for these people, and for a place I love with all my heart.  Please pray for East Tennessee.  And if you can, please join me in giving:  Dolly Parton’s My People Fund

Cades Cove

Roaring Forks (I believe)

The are called "Smoky..."

Cades Cove

Gatlinburg Overpass

Foggy Cades Cove

Roaring Forks


  1. Such a pretty place. Such tragedy with the fire, the lives lost, the devastation. Definitely prayers for all.

  2. I just made a mention of the fire in my last post. You did a beautiful job with this. Like you, I feel deep sadness.

    Bill and I considered going down to Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving. We would have left for home on Saturday or Sunday, so we would have just missed the fire's move. It feels like a close call even tho we didn't go. (Bill's back was too bad to take the 10 hour drive or we would have been there.) Oddly, I'm torn between wishing we had gone down and being glad we didn't.

    I, too, have followed and prayed for the Reed family. I'm ashamed to admit that I've had to fight with some anger that the husband left his wife and daughters at home without any transportation while he and his son went to look at the fire. I've prayed that I'll hear details of that story that won't make his choice sound so...unwise. If he left just to see the fire, that will be a terrible burden for him, and perhaps his son, to carry. I've prayed especially for the son. One never knows how a 15 year old will process things.

    All of it is just tragic.

    1. Incredibly tragic. The commenters on Facebook and on the news stories are really battering him over that decision. I would suppose none of them are hating on him as much as he is hating on himself. She may not have wanted to go, nor wanted her girls to go. Here's a video that is quickly going viral that Mr. Reed posted on his YouTube account in 2015. After seeing this video, I didn't (and still don't) know how to feel, but I did think she may have chosen to stay home.

    2. When the fires were first reported, Reed was interviewed and quoted directly. If the quotes were accurate r/t what he said, he said that when he and his wife heard that there was fire a few streets away, he and his son went to see "which side of the street" the fires were on. In the process, he got caught in the traffic fleeing the fires. While tangled in traffic, his wife called and told him the neighbors house was on fire. It really did sound like a let's go and see ting.

      I noticed that in later reporting, the story just said that he was away from home. I thought they were just being sensitive, not wanting to make h I'm look bad, but it may have been because of Facebook, etc. (I don't read Facebook.)

      From several reports that I read and an eyewitness video, the fires seemed to have come up very, very quickly. I noticed that several of the deceased came from that Chalet Village area. Hindsight being 20/20, if his wife didn't want to go, and considering they only had one car, he should have stayed home, of course, but there was probably no reason for him to think there was any imminent danger.

      I'll look at the link.

    3. Oh, for goodness sakes!


      First, I'm so glad that the newspaper included the fact that everyone in this family was saved.

      Second, it's likely she married someone who was a bit...self-centered...or immature...or impulsive. The church family reports that he was an enthusiastic church member who volunteered despite the fact that their salvation was relatively recent.

      If you remember, I'm a professional counselor and my primary client population was women who had been sexually abused as children. Many the same story as this young woman has. I'm going to leave it at that, but my attitude towards this husband and this event has a different tone to it.

      Thanks for this.

      God is good and He knows our end from the beginning. I'm trusting Him on this one and letting the husband off of the hook.

    4. Some folks are angry at him, that's for sure, judging from some of the comments I've read. I think my anger would be placed at the feet...or hands, that is...of the ones who started the original fire at Chimney Tops. I hope they figure out who did it, and prosecute them. I will work on my unforgiveness, in the meantime.


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