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Monday, November 9, 2009

Even MORE About Swamp Guinea!

Here's a harrowing true-life account of a natural disaster as experienced at the original Swamp Guinea in 1973. I don't know if this was the occasion for its demise, but it certainly couldn't have helped.


1973 said...

"I was visiting my brother who was at that time a pharmacist in Athens. Several of our friends joined my brother and me and we went out to eat on that Saturday evening. We decided on a restaurant named Swamp Guinea which was located just outside Athens. Swamp Guinea was a rustic restaurant located in a pine woods with a single winding road. That Saturday evening we got to the restaurant about 6:00 P.M., waited for a table since it was quite busy, and sat down to a delicious seafood supper. There were five of us seated at the table. We all enjoyed our meal and felt stuffed. At the end of the meal,we heard an announcement come over the intercom in the restaurant. The announcement said that a tornado had been spotted near Bogart, a near-by small town. To be honest, we didn't think much about it. But in only a few minutes, it sounded like a train was driving up out front with this tremendous roar. The building began to shake. The wall near the door had lots of glass and you could hear it breaking. Parts of the roof disappeared with other parts beginning to sag. We all hit the floor and got under the tables. It was something to see five grown men underneath one restaurant table. The lights went out. It was pitch black dark. The restaurant was packed. All you could hear now were the screams of the people as they were dealing with the tornado.As the sound of the train passed, people began to check outside to see if it might be safer for us to move outside to get from underneath this sagging roof. I heard one man mention that the electricity lines were down and people needed to watch where they were walking. I remembered a couple of people had flashlights and they were leading people out. As we moved out of the restaurant, everyone gathered in an area in front of the restaurant that was lower ground and had a wall around a putt-putt course. We waited in that area as the storm moved on. In the parking lot by the restaurant, several people started their vehicles so we would have more light. One person tried to leave but noticed the one road that led to the restaurant had been blocked as the tornado had leveled the pine trees and there was no way to get around. We also noticed the heavy damage to many of the cars and trucks in the lot. We were quite lucky because our car was not damaged at all, but the two on either side were severely damaged from huge limbs. In a short time but it seemed like forever, emergency vehicles approached down the road and cut and moved the pine trees. We hurried back to the apartment and called our families in South Georgia. It was funny to hear their reaction, 'What are you talking about?' They had not heard about the storm. The next day we visited Swamp Guinea. We were extremely lucky to have survived such a devastating event. You always hear about the force of tornadoes, but I can tell you from first hand that it is true."

Debbie D said...

WOW! What a story!

Kelly Johnson said...

I was also in that restaurant that night when the tornado hit. I remember it vividly and I was only 2 1/2 years old.