Growing up in my picturesque little hometown of Clarksville, Missouri on the Mississippi River was just like a chapter out of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
We played in the river, went boating and water skiing, camped out on the sandbars and climbed the viewing platform of Lock and Dam 24. Life was simple and we were safe. The river would occasionally get high, but I rarely remember the streets being flooded, and never did we need to sandbag – until the Big Flood of 1973.
I know there has been much talk about Global Warming, land formations changing and re-routing of the River. I know there have been many protective precautions put in place from St. Paul, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana. My hometown of Clarksville falls about mid-way between the two. The year of 1973 was when we were introduced to sandbagging, closed highways and volunteer workers. My family was all younger then and all the folks from miles around helped out to save our homes, businesses and farmland.
In 1993 my husband and I invited my parents to accompany us on a much anticipated trip to Israel – the Holy Land.
My mother was a Sunday School teacher and she immersed her students in the Old Testament. In hindsight, I wish there had been no story of Noah and the Ark, but then the world as we know it perhaps wouldn’t even be. Although it had been twenty years prior, the memories of the Clarksville Flood had not yet faded. To top it off, my parents were the only ones our insurance allowed to cancel the trip because it was their house, not ours, that was flooding. Mom and Dad insisted that my husband and I go ahead on the trip and then we could all go again in a few years. Besides, we were told that the flood may not be as bad as forecast. Wrong again! Upon arrival the front page of the Jerusalem Post had a picture of my parents house with all the sandbaggers in front assisting! Boaters were floating past them on the water filled streets while catching fish in their front yard! And here we were on the streets of Jerusalem near the Mount of Olives hearing the 10 Commandments. The only one I heard was “Honor your Mother and Father that your days may be long.” So much for my long life!
Years later, with no more major flooding, we believed the “Days of Noah” were over for our portion of the “Mighty Mississippi.” Wrong again! 2008 brought even more of the melting snow and floodplain backlash, and once again we were all sandbagging, along with the National Guard this time. Even the local prisons sent inmates who were willing to help. Again, we all of us worked together just as Noah’s family must have. My parents who by then were octogenarians, still helped where they could.
This year, 2014, history is repeating itself, except my 91 year old dad is in the hospital 90 miles away, and Mom has a cot in there for her to stay by his side.
Through his oxygen mask and with tears in his eyes, Daddy whispered, “I wish I could be there to help sandbag again. But I will be praying for everyone.” And he has. I reminded him of the countless hours he has helped in the past, serving on the City Council, Chamber of Commerce, and even as interim Mayor. He has given his life to the town of Clarksville, and this year Clarksville gave back to him. The St. Louis news covered all of the sandbagging around my parents house, performed by faithful friends and volunteers from near and far. If that weren’t enough, hundreds of folks have sent notes, e-mails and letters to wish him a speedy recovery. Mom and Dad have been “flooded” with cards, love and prayers from all over the U.S. As with Noah it so true: as you sow, so shall you reap. Daddy has. And once again Clarksville will pull together as they always have. As with Noah, the promise of the rainbow still awaits.
Read more posts by Debra Peppers, Ph.D., here. Dr. Peppers blogs for JenningsWire.
JenningsWire.com is created by National Publicist, Annie Jennings of the NYC based PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR. Annie Jennings PR specializes in marketing books for getting authors booked on radio talk show interviews, TV shows in major online and in high circulation magazines and newspapers. Annie also works with speaker and experts to build up powerful platforms of credibility and influence.