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Friday, May 6, 2011

Flood Flashback

Mike and I drove about an hour into Arkansas earlier this week to visit my sisters and were amazed at the standing water. We’d seen it on tv, but looking out the window at it was startling. There was a lengthy stretch of two-lane highway with such an extent of water on both sides that we felt as if we were driving across the causeway over Lake Pontchartrain.

The view reminded me of my own minor brush with flood waters back when my son was three years old. I was divorced, and my son and I lived in Jonesboro, AR. When I rented the modest, frame house, no one bothered to tell me that it was in a flood plain.

The house was on a quiet, two-lane street. My driveway was gravel and went over a culvert that paralleled the street. From the driveway there were four steps up to a small front porch that passed in front of a large picture window. Across the street from the house was an open field.

On one weekend morning, I got Alex out of bed and we headed through the living room where I proceeded on to the kitchen with coffee and breakfast on my mind. Alex peeled off to play in the living room, but first parted the unopened drapes to peek outside.

From the kitchen, I heard him say, “Sippi River, mama.” I stepped to the door and saw him looking darling in his footed pajamas, still standing at the window holding back part of the drapes with a little hand. “No, sweetie. We don’t live near the Mississippi River. That’s our yard.”

His voice became firm. “Sippi River, mama.”

That wasn’t the last time he straightened me out.

Wondering what he might be talking about, I crossed into the living room and also looked out the window. For all intents and purpose, it looked just like the Sippi River. Except that I knew my car was in the driveway, I couldn’t discern the driveway’s location. Couldn’t see the street. Couldn’t tell where the ditch and culvert crossed my yard and driveway. And the field across the street? A vast expanse of brown water.

Our story had a happy ending. I called the local emergency management folks to tell them my situation and find out whether there were any evacuations. They told me to visually note the height of the water on a fixed object in the yard. If it rose by X amount in X amount of time, call back and they’d come get us. The water didn’t rise and, because the little house was elevated, no water got in the house.

Alex and I had our breakfast sitting in front of the picture window watching the Sippi River. It was an adventure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good grief! Great story AFTER the fact.