From Nashville, With Love

A tornado decimated our town. Now, we’re fighting a pandemic.

whitney pastorek
Mar 17 · 6 min read
A photo of a gray sky in Nashville.
A photo of a gray sky in Nashville.
Photo: Vicki Jett Terry

Our city, in this moment when we needed only to come together, now has to stay apart.

And if we didn’t have a chainsaw or a backhoe or a big truck or a crew of roofers or any applicable physical skills at all, we didn’t wait for instructions — we wandered around outside the rubble trying to do everything we could. We donated our own money and collected money from friends and delivered supplies to relief centers and stood outside the doors of those relief centers logging donations and directing traffic and making burgers and handing out sandwiches and pallets of water and staring at our phones and reposting someone else’s update about ways to help. We hoped every little bit mattered — and every little bit kinda did.

Every car has become a taxi. Every block has become a tourist attraction.

This is a letter from a town that was struggling before the tornado, that was struggling during and after the tornado, and now has to struggle to fight a pandemic in the face of drunk idiots who show up to party and then come back to our neighborhoods and spread their idiocy around because every house has become a hotel, every car has become a taxi. Every block has become a tourist attraction. We are all wearing stuffed heads.

We’ve learned that it’s easier to stay home if you keep in mind that other people don’t have a home in which to stay.

We’ve learned that checking on your friends, your loved ones, and your community is imperative, even if it’s only by text. Last Sunday, 600 people showed up at an event designed for 300, just to go out into north Nashville and knock on doors to check on folks whose homes were destroyed. Now, instead of going on foot, we’re using technology to reach out. We will find ways to keep reaching out, in every way we can.