Lake Serene resident avoids death by "ten feet"

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Pete Grisham remembers Sunday as "ten feet from eternity."

The destructive funnel that barreled its way through the Pine Belt touched down no more than 50 yards from the Vietnam veteran's house, and forced he and his wife into their bathroom which provided the best protection in the house. Grisham's wife huddled in the bathtub, while Grisham could only stand in the bathroom because he couldn't see where the bathtub was.

The two waited the storm out, not knowing until afterward they avoided becoming one of its fatalities by only a few feet. Just outside, about 15 feet away from the very wall that protected them, one of their trees fell, but missed the house...and the bathroom in which they took cover.

"If it had fallen 15 feet to our right, it would have fallen on us, because we were behind that wall," said Grisham.

He remembers the sound of the twister that evening. "It sounded like a frate train that was de-railed, and it had a bunch of barrels with it that were falling off," said the Lake Serene resident, "It lasted about may 20 seconds, but it seemed like a couple hours."

While it wasn't necessarily easy to shrug off the near-death experience, Grisham recalled the tail in somewhat of a comedic light, saying, "This one was so close that if I had been back in Vietnam again, I would have had shrapnel in my butt," he said.

"It was close."

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