It’s raining and pouring here in Texas and I have a watchful eye on the creek behind our house.
Last spring, after years of blissful co-existence with this creek, we had a flood. This is what our homestead looked like before the flood.
All of those labeled items… GONE!
Over the course of a few hours, we got over five inches of rain. My sweetheart got up in the middle of the night and woke me, saying, “You might want to get up and get dressed. That creek is looking really high. I think it’s almost up to the car and the horse trailer out back. We need to move them.” We had an old sedan and a small horse trailer at the back of the property that were in proverbial mothballs since we weren’t using them. Notice I said “had”: By the time I had put some pants and shoes on, my sweetheart had come back to the bedroom and told me, “Never mind. They’re gone.” Within an few minutes the water had swelled up and was threatening various other vehicles and equipment. We scrambled around in knee-deep water, moving boats, trailers, cars, and animals to higher ground. At one point, while we were soaked and floundering in the flood waters, a sheriff drove by and slowed, before continuing on as if he hadn’t seen people in distress. We continued our toil, making good use of the tractor to drag various large items to safety, and turned our attention to the house. The water was now lapping at the thresholds. We emptied a few drawers full of clothes into garbage bags for the kids, put leashes on all of the dogs, and packed everyone into the Suburban at the top of the hill by the road. We left my daughter in charge, telling her that if the water came up to the tires, she should drive uphill on the road until she was out of standing water and we’d catch up. We secured the house, shutting off the electricity and moving anything of value up as high as possible on top of tables and countertops. We packed up a few valuables and began the arduous trek through the river now flowing through our front yard to the Suburban with thunder and lightning crashing around us and trees floating past.
We drove into town and after several failed attempts found a hotel that would take us and our several soggy dogs for the night. There were wet and muddy clothes on every possible surface laid out to dry in the small hotel bathroom. There was a vigorous game of Rochambeau for the rights to shower first, despite the drying laundry. I discovered that while I had remember to pack many essentials, clean panties had not made the trip. I spent the rest of the evening commando style.
The next morning, not only had the sedan and horse trailer disappeared, but an entire large storage building had been swept down the creek in pieces.
A big enclosed trailer that we thought was up high enough and was heavy enough to avoid the flood was swept away with all of its contents. We found it up on a bank about a half-mile downstream.
The car was a further mile away, where it still rests today full of mud and rocks, and bashed in on all sides in a ravine.
We never did find any trace of the horse trailer.
As we walked down the now manageable creek, we found detritus and remains of the building that we had lost as well. Sheets of plywood that had been stacked inside it festooned the banks of the creek and hung in the trees surrounding it. Tires that we had in storage were scattered for miles down the creek, many of them buried and peeking out of the creek bed.
The cats and chickens (always the best of buddies in any circumstance) roosted in the rafters of the chicken coop together, avoiding the two feet of water that entered the coop. They were very happy to see us, and even happier to see some dry food and clean water.
The house miraculously escaped major damage, with very little water making its way inside. All that was required was a strenuous round of carpet cleaning to get things back to normal.
As much as I really don’t want another flood, some good did come of the last one. We discovered that we really didn’t need all of the things we had stored in the building that was demolished. And the flood waters gave us a nice clean sweep of any rubbish in the yard from various projects, and inspired us to reorganize the things that didn’t float away. And of course, the dog run was completely devoid of poop after the flood waters receded; my apologies to whomever received that bounty of the sea downstream.