Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wanted: 1 Ark.

I hardly know where to begin. At 9pm last night our neighbor called. He was rallying the troops for sandbag duty today. A block and 1/2 away from our house is a coulee known to overflow with water in the spring. The coulee winds down and around and ends up at the park down the street from us. We arrived at noon. It was windy and overcast. We organized into groups and began forming lines passing sandlbags to one another.

Optimally the sandbags should weigh about 30 lbs. But some were fairly generously packed with close to 50 lbs. We began in a yard in which the grass had begun to turn green and by the end of the day was nothing but a giant muddy pit. We used 4 wheelers and trailers to haul the sandbags in. Even Nolan stood amongst us hoisting the heaviest of bags. I was proud of his desire and willingness to work. On the homefront Grandpa and Grandma Westra were holding down the fort. Grandpa got busy plugging our drains and pulling the toilet from the basement bathroom. Thank goodness for Grandpas who are in the know!

The national guard took up patrol outside our home preventing unnecessary cars from entering our subdivision. The stream of gravel trucks was never ending. I counted 15 in about a 20 second span of time. An earthen dike was constructed across 40th avenue with the dirt from all the gravel trucks. How people will get to work in the morning is a mystery to me! The boys are crossing their fingers for a day off from school, convinced the bus won't be able to get through to pick them up. After almost two whole weeks of no school, I assured them I will row them in a makeshift boat if need be :)

As I looked back through the pictures I am struck by the one thing missing. The water! But its coming. We know from past experience it'll spread across land running over the ground still frozen in places. And it will overflow the banks of the river and swamp the ditches meant for drainage. In the morning it will look vastly different.

Its 9:00 pm as I write this. Rain is pouring down. At last report, while 1.5 million sandbags had initially been requested, the city officials just asked for an additional 900,000. They also said the area of most concern currently is our neighborhood in South Moorhead. The flood fight of 2009 is on. We're weary. We'll be sore tomorrow :) But we're also dry so far.





















11 comments:

  1. Wow.

    I hate to see this happening again already, but I so love the fortitude and generosity of neighbors. These moments, while a pain in the... umm... you know... are also the moments you are able to teach Nolan how to be a person of empathy and concern.

    You've obviously done an amazing job of that already.

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  2. Sara, it is so sweet of you to say so :) I was very impressed with the willingness of so many to pull together and to work so hard without complaint. It mattered not that we had never met some of these people. But you rest a little easier knowing they would help you too if you needed it!

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  3. I watched morning news where they talked about your flooding. Pls update...I'm praying for you guys.
    I can honestly say I've NEVER seen anything like all your neighbors pulling together...how amazing. I am so impressed with the community you have there, we don't have that here at all.
    I'm going to keep checking today...love you ~ and I'm praying...

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  4. Robin, we're resting up this morning. More rain is forecast for later today and tomorrow. They have cancelled classes at all three colleges so everyone can go and volunteer. Despite the weather hazards we choose to live here because of the great sense of community, you are so right!! Thanks for the prayers, know you are in ours as well.

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  5. Praying that the sandbags keep the water out of your house. I cannot imagine.
    I'm with you on the rowboat. Slap a couple of lifejackets on them and send them on their way! :)

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  6. Vicky - call us if you need us over there tonight, we are in the book! I'm serious, anything you need. p.s. I think you live by one of my co-workers, what's your neighborhood called?

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  7. Thanks Jill! Flagged the bus down myself and scooted them on while they protested :)

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  8. Sara, we live by Alison Parkway and Fish Park. Thank you for your gracious offer and if something comes up we will definitely call!

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  9. This must be scary!!
    Take care!

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  10. Thank you Jientje :) You see why I am entranced with your pictures of spring!!

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  11. Oh VICKY! How'd I miss THIS post???! Wow....still praying this misses you. I'm on pins and needles just looking at the photos.

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