All things work together for the good

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 14, 2006

I would guess that the last place anyone wanted to have been last Friday was in Nashville, Tenn. Well, I was there.

The organization that I am a member of left from the Food Lion

on Portsmouth Boulevard at 1 a.m. the day before, and traveled to our 18th Biennial National Conclave of Les Gemmes Inc. The Nashville Chapter served as host to more than 200 women from 19 chapters.

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We arrived at the Doubletree Hotel Thursday at 2:30 p.m., Nashville time,

where we stayed and all activities were held.

Last Wednesday I tried to no avail to call members of the Suffolk Chapter to find out if any of them had seen the destruction on TV news reports that tornadoes had caused in areas of Nashville. Those storms were a big concern to me because the same reports said that another round of bad weather would take place later that week. I was concerned about our safety there.

I then called Portsmouth Chapter member Evelyn West, who had chartered a 55-passenger bus to transport six chapters and their guests. The Suffolk Chapter was among them. She told me that she had slept late that morning and had not heard about the storms, and she had not received any word from Nashville about a cancellation of the event.

Thursday’s activities went well. We arose early on Friday to attend a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and business meeting from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Before I left my room on the six floor, I looked out the window and could tell that it was going to be a bad-weather day.

I soon

joined women from other chapters in the ballroom, where we felt very secure. However, that security only lasted about five hours. Suddenly a voice came over the intercom asking people to report to the ballroom area, and those in rooms to get in the bathroom, because several tornadoes had been spotted in the area and one was on the ground within five miles of us, coming our way.

At that time the national president was making reports at the microphone, and for a minute or two there was confusion among the women on where to go. We were soon told by the voice on the intercom that we were already in the safest place. Members then thought of their male guests who had gone on a shopping spree and some women began to express concern.

That’s when the president called on the chaplain to pray for everyone’s safety.

At that time, little did we know of the destruction and lost of life that was taking place all around us — that one tornado was packing winds up to 200 mph, and that the men traveling with us couldn’t leave the store until the danger of the storm was over.

The chaplain ended her prayer and we continued the meeting as if nothing was going on outside and we would be safe.

About 30 minutes later, the voice came on the intercom once more with the following announcement, “We are pleased to inform you that all the tornadoes have passed over us and we are no longer in any danger.”

After that big scare, other activities and fun events went on as planned. All invited guests who were included in these activities also kept their assignments, including three speakers and two instrumental groups.

Fisk University entertained us with a dance group and chorus on Thursday night, so you see our trip was still very successful.

The end results included an arrival in Nashville on a sunny, dry and bright day; storms passed over us; we arrived back in Suffolk on a dry day, after learning about the hard rain here on Saturday.

And all six chapters who rode the chartered bus together fellowshipped as one happy family.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Roman 8:28

To those who have never gone in the direction of Nashville, the mountains are a sight to behold! This was my second time in the city, and I’m sure it won’t be my last, since I have become great friends with Rosetta Perry, a member of the Nashville Chapter and the publisher of the Nashville Tribune.

In September, these chapters will be visiting our city for a national board of directors meeting and the Suffolk Chapter will serve as the hosts.

Wall is a former News-Herald reporter and regular contributor to the Town Square page.