And the Rain Came Down…

Gustav is a real guy’s name. Just saying it elicits a grunt. Go ahead. Say it. G U S T A V. Well, it’s turning out to be a real groaner for us in Arkansas. Though we are glad as a nation that it didn’t wreak the havoc that Katrina or Rita wrought in the same area almost exactly 3 years ago, it’s still creating some trouble. For us it’s more of a nuisance that’s turning into some localized flooding. So, other than losing power for a few hours this morning, the main trouble has been the amount of rain we’ve received.

Our backyard has a river running through it. That didn’t come with the landscape when we bought it. We found out it was an “added nicety” after the first torrential rain we received after moving in. All of this takes me back to an experience we had as a family after Rita ripped through the region with a lot of rain and tornadic activity three years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was late in the evening, about 10pm on a Friday or Saturday night. Ok, so maybe I don’t recall ALL of the details like it was yesterday. Anyway…Erin, a friend of Erin’s (Jordan), Jaclyn and I were playing a game. Bryan was with his (now ex) girlfriend. It was raining out and had been all day, just like today. The remnants of the hurricane hung over Arkansas like all of the Minnesota Viking Super Bowl losses hang over another NFL season. I digress…so, Bryan said, “I’m going to take [name withheld to protect the innocent ;-)] home.” A few minutes later I got a phone call. Let me just say that it’s NEVER good to see your child’s cell phone number show up on caller ID just minutes after leaving the house. And, that held true in this case too. “Dad…ummm, I’m in some trouble” or something like that was uttered from the other end of the line.

“What’s wrong?”, I firmly spoke.

“Well, the car is stalled in the middle of the road and the water is rising almost to the bottom of the door. What should I do?”

“Get out”, I shouted. “There will not be an airlift rescue here.”

He had only driven about 1/3 of a mile away when he ran into a flooded street which just a few hours earlier had been wet but driveable. There was a lot of construction of new homes on this street and the geniuses put material to plug up the sewer drains to keep construction material from plugging up the sewer system. Unfortunately, it also kept the water from draining. A lake was quickly formed.

Well, the short story is that we all left our game, went to help move the car from the deeper water into the shallow end not thinking about what could have been waiting for us under the water. Eventually, we got it dried out and it’s still running today. Oh, I guess I should share that I lost my temper a little. It wasn’t his fault (well it was but there were no street lights and it was very difficult to see) but I did the typical father thing…”Why did you drive the car into rising water?” Of course he had no answer. That didn’t stop me from explaining to him that if “this happens again, go the other way”. Great wisdom, don’t you think?

It’s all now just a memory but every time we get these torrential storms, I’ll remember that scene of our family, pushing our car back to our house and, eventually, laughing about it. So, go ahead, GUSTAV, let the rains fall. They only remind me of family!

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