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.
When you get lucky
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