I've lived close to the Ohio River off and on for most of my life and wonder about the air of excitement that surrounds the swelling body of water. How it covers and surrounds things we take for granted to be accessible. The media is flooded with pictures of the flood of 2018.
When the chocolate brown whirlpools form and riverbanks disappear, my mind goes to stories of the 1937 flood when the flood waters rose to nearly 80 feet. This flood is at a mere 60 feet, nothing compared to 81 years ago.
So the story goes, before they reluctantly left the house, my grandma put a statue of the Blessed Virgin at the top step and shook her finger at the statue, "Now don't you let the water get up here." The Haviland china, books, tables, pressure cooker, curtains, their wedding picture which hung on the parlor wall, all went to the second floor.
When the waters subsided and the river calmed, my grandparents climbed up on a house that had wedged against their own, took a ladder to the second story window and climbed in. There they found their things mostly intact. They, like so many others, began rebuilding their lives, cleaning up their homes.
People still refer to that flood as if they'd all been there. It's a piece of our lives, the generational memories of the weeks of displacement, the clean up, the mourning for those lost things they'd never have again.
I'll take the traffic jams along the River road, the smiles on faces of people who've never seen water out of its banks. I'll take the excited news reporters with something to actually report that is out of everyone's control. I wouldn't want to live in the dank drying out of a home, the exhaustion of cleaning. The thoughts of moving to higher ground. And yet, it is the stuff of river people, those who watch and wait and act when necessary.