June 3, 2019
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Well, how ‘bout that, it’s another milestone here at the Verbiage Venue: Week Number 400 of this word salad, chock-full of healthy and nutritious hyphens, adverbs, conjunctions, pronouns, and maybe a few prepositions on the side to liven things up a titch.
The constant rains during the second and third weeks of May had people checking water levels all over town, from their own basements to Veteran’s Park. During the second week of the month I mentioned to Sally that the water had risen to where it was just a foot or so under the steel bridge on the east end of Vet’s. So, since we had not seen levels that high in a long time, we started watching it day by day. Everyone else seemed to be doing it too, especially if they had memories of the Mega Flood of ’81.
The water at Vet’s and attention it was drawing peaked on Wednesday May 22 when you might have thought you were in a parade, given the number of vehicles going round and round the pond. I called Sally.
“It’s up over the bridge walkway,” I reported. “Both ends are in the water now.”
I picked her up and we headed for the park, along with about 92 other gawkers, rubberneckers and the like. (I prefer the term ‘observers;’ it sounds more professional.)
“Yikes, look at that” she exclaimed as we cruised the park, rain drumming on the roof. “The south shelter houses are filling up now.”
The inch-by-inch progression of the water reminded us of the Big Flood of ’81, as it crept into our then-neighborhood north of Brit Spaugh Park. On that fateful day I was standing out in the yard, watching the water lap at the curb. I was trying to look on the bright side.
“I’m pretty sure it’s peaking now,” I called back to Sally, who was looking after our three-week-old baby. “It’s not rising nearly as fast as it was before.”
A half hour later I wasn’t so sure. “Huh, it’s just over the curb now, a little bit into the lawn, but I doubt it’s gonna get any higher.”
“Well, keep an eye on it,” she replied. “I don’t think we’ll have to leave, though. It’s not going to get any worse. I mean, really.”
“Yeah,” I said, putting more confidence into my voice than I really felt. “ It stopped raining, what, six hours ago?”
I made myself NOT look at it for another 45 minutes or so. When I did, I experienced what you might call a sinking feeling. The water was up to the front step, just a foot or so lower than our main floor. It didn’t look like it had any intention of stopping soon. Well, at least we didn’t have a basement to worry about.
Just about that time Bob Olivier-rest his kind soul- appeared down the street, slowly piloting his huge Western Power bucket truck through the rapidly rising water and picking up evacuees as he went. He waved, I waved and then he shouted “you want to get out? I’ve got space.” We did, indeed, want to get out. Who knew where this was going to end? Sally bundled up the Little One, we grabbed some supplies and important papers, and got aboard ‘Bob’s Ark.’ From the high platform on the truck we had a panoramic view of the neighborhood and it looked like something you’d see in a news clip about floods in Louisiana or Mississippi. Except it was us.
He dropped us (and a few others) off at the City Auditorium, which was serving as sort of a clearing house for ‘refugees.’ We called Sally’s folks (who lived on only ‘slightly flooded’ Forest Avenue) and they picked us up and let us stay at their place for two days, tiny daughter sleeping in a pulled-out drawer from the chest in Grandma’s bedroom. The little one didn’t mind a bit.
Two days later we were back in our house, relieved to find the damage was minimal. The water had stopped pretty much where we last saw it. So I was right at least once.
Since then I have stopped guess-timating water levels. (For a tuneful tutorial on same, check out Johnny Cash’s ‘Five Feet High and Rising’ on YouTube.)
Hope by the time you read this the town will have dried out, ‘cause our daughter is a little too big for the dresser drawer now.
Hmm, you picked off three of my five trivia questions from our May 20 edition.
Congrats to Julie; she got Hubert Humphrey as the Presidential hopeful who briefly worked as a pharmacist.
Julie was also first in with ‘Orschelin’s’ being the correct answer to the ‘what was in the old 300 Bowl bldg. before Wolf’s Furniture question.’ Mark and Roger also had it right. Mark gave us additional info: ‘Bailey’s’ (remember them?) was the farm/home store in there for years before Orschelin’s came to town. Mark said Bailey’s was originally at 715 Patton Rd.
Roger recalled the name of the ‘beer joint’ in the old 300 Bowl :The Lucky Strike Club.
And what about the ‘dragon skin upholstery’? Terry was first in with the Kaiser automobile. Yep. Bill mentioned the 1951 Kaiser Golden Dragon, which may have been the model that introduced that option. Brad also had it right. Kaisers were neat-looking cars and are very collectible these days.
Two questions still around: Who was the vice president who investigated defense contractors to make sure they were doin’ right?
Also, who was the pop singer who complained in song about his chair? (Big hit.)
Three new ones: What was 10th Street originally called?
What singer supposedly rode his horse on a reservation in Oklahoma?
Who was GB mayor during the Flood of ’81?
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll reply next Monday, or whenever you get around to reading this.
Enjoy your week!