If you have anything to do with music at any event in legendary Muscle Shoals, you are bound to know Johnny Belew. If he isn’t front stage, you can believe you will find him backstage, quietly doing whatever you need him to do. In fact, he’s always extending his hand and heart to anything he can in the Shoals. Every year Johnny invites me to one of his community luncheons. Upon receiving the invitation, I smile, but I can’t ever seem to get there. No matter, the invitation is always extended. See, I know Johnny’s secret to his energetic benevolence.
We have the tiny island of Sapelo, in GA in common. His annual trips leave him renewed by the peaceful spirit that resides there. This year, beyond COVID, Johnny’s post-snowstorm accident prevents him from going to Sapelo (so far). He did a Facebook post about his accident and gratitude – his abundance. Here’s Johnny. – Victorine *
After driving all week in the old trusty Subaru all-wheel drive, I thought nothing about heading to the RR Bridge Sunday afternoon when the temp hit 61 degrees even though there was still some ice/snow in some places. After all, it had been a week since the first ice had fallen, and this is Alabama, not Colorado. As usual, I had on short pants, but not my casual flip-flops tennis shoes for once. As soon as I started down toward the bridge, I noticed more ice/sludge than I expected. No traffic still shaded, but I thought surely I could make it with no trouble because I was out in the 10 degrees ice and snow earlier in the week. About halfway down the trail, I saw more snow to my left and thought it would be easier to trek forward in. Little did I know my first step was a slight embankment, (and with) all the weight on my left ankle snap crackle and pop, I heard it shatter! (Still makes me nauseous and have nightmares). Down I went in the snow, trying to figure out what just happened.
Immediately four angels appeared coming up from the bridge. Breanna Harrison, Tracie West, her daughters, Alanna and Anna, would be joined by Tracie’s husband, Alan. The decision was made to get up the hill, perhaps get my Subaru down to drive me out, or at least retrieve a blanket I keep in there for Portia, our dog. The road was blocked, so that wasn’t an option at the time, and they returned with a blanket and floor mats from their car and were able to keep Breanna and me from sitting in the snow where we had been.
It was cold. I was scared. I was being scolded by my deceased mom for making a bad decision! So many thoughts going through my mind – unemployed, no health insurance; the list went on and on. Finally, after Breanna calling 911 and me calling my dear friend Cameron Kay, a plan came into place. The fire dept arrived right before Cameron was able to maneuver his Subaru across the ropes and get to me. He told me later he had volunteered there (the fire department) for years and always wondered if he needed to drive over that (bridge)to deliver supplies; could he? The decision was made that I could hobble to Cameron‘s car and ride out with him instead of being pulled out by the paramedics on the inflatable slide to the top of the hill. The paramedics put me into the car, I was driven to the top of the hill, put on the gurney, loaded into the ambulance, and off I went to a Helen Keller hospital. Oh, lots of well wishes as we drove away.
When we got to the hospital, I couldn’t have asked for anything to go any better I was in tremendous pain, but Tracie, Gabby, and Dr. Anderson all took great care of me. After x-rays to establish that (my foot) was broken in three different places and dislocated, I was knocked out with Michael Jackson’s favorite drug, even though I didn’t get a Moonwalk. They reset my foot put a splint on it, and gave me directions to see a surgeon at the bone and joint clinic. I got my prescription filled right before the 6 o’clock deadline.
Once again, my friend Cameron became an angel; he took me to his house to spend the night waiting on my fiancé Michelle to get here from Huntsville on Monday when she could get a ride. Sunday night was possibly the worst night of my life. I’ve never experienced that kind of pain and discomfort. I was able to get to my house on Monday when things sped up rapidly. After Cameron seeing me struggle a couple of times trying to navigate high steps with no crutch knowledge his nuclear engineering background jumped in, as it did when he bungee corded the ice pack to my leg to keep in place. He called his dear friend Larry Anders, a knowledgeable builder, and these guys changed my life for the upcoming months.
Cameron has been a member of The Tuscumbia Civitan for years. He’s been to the international meetings even once in Estonia, which we had just discussed. I say this often; we live in a community of givers. It’s hard to write how many people have given to me in the last few days. They built the wheelchair ramp on Tuesday. John Calabrese, a friend from my Sunday night jam, dropped off a wheelchair. Instead of scooting, crawling, and crying up, the steps – wheeze, and I was gone. So many folks have brought things, sent things, called, and offered. Michelle Hammons has been with me around the clock, the best nurse ever. I’m overwhelmed that people I have never seen or met treated me like family in these somewhat scary times. Color, disease, nothing mattered but a fellow human being in need. I’ve always tried to be a giver. I promise I will try harder.-Johnny Belew
“Help a neighbor, a friend, and the Circle Will Get Bigger.” – Johnny Belew