Water Swallows All, Eventually

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

This is a bit of a “prequel” of sorts.  These photos come from my Brother-in-law, Lance Jones, who went in with my dad the Thursday (I think, these dates are getting fuzzy) after the rains that filled Toledo Bend came through.  As you look at these photos I want to try to put you into the right mind or mood, and I want you to empathize with the person, my father, as he bore witness to his house taking on more water than it has ever taken in a flood.  You are not doing it for my dad, though.  You are doing it for the now thousands of people from Burr Ferry, Louisiana to Merryville, Louisiana, and Deweyville, Texas and all the other little towns between.  Even I10, a major avenue of commerce, has been shut down because of the flooding.  Maybe with this wide array of damage and interruption of day-to-day living and business operations, the Sabine River Authority may have to look into their policies and consider some changes.

Imagine, if you will, that you are sitting in a boat, and you are floating up to your house, and you see all you have worked for slowly being swallowed by water…

And click images to make them larger and more detailed.

This is the latest family portrait that will be hanging in this old house. That's my parents, their children, their grandchildren, and my dog (Everyone's dog). This photo was actually taken yesterday as of this writing, but I really want to use this as an opportunity to, again, set the tone.
This is the latest family portrait that will be hanging in this old house. That’s my parents, their children, their grandchildren, and my dog (Everyone’s dog). This photo was actually taken yesterday as of this writing, but I really want to use this as an opportunity to, again, set the tone.  The flood line is marked where the debris suddenly stops. 

Imagin
Imagine stepping onto your front porch to this scene.  Your favorite pair of rocking chairs are taking float, the current of the water is gently tugging at your legs and it’s very cold.  You just got off of your boat, onto your porch, something you never wanted to do.  You only hope that the water does not get higher…
You look
You look out into your yard, into your carport and realize you did not get a chance to get your truck, nor your lawnmowers, out of the path of the water.  Nothing can be done now.  Now you have to focus on trying to save things from the water…
You enter your
You enter your living room area and see that there is about eight inches of murky, muddy, river water.  What do you save?  You want to save everything, of course!  Unfortunately you don’t have much time because the water is rising an inch ever 8-10 minutes.  You can only hope that the water stops rising soon…
Your kitchen is taking on a ton of water as well.
Your kitchen is taking on a ton of water as well.  The trash his spilled out of its can and has begun floating around.  Shoes are floating around and while you are on a mission, you are very upset by the fact that these cabinets you spent so much time measuring, building, and installing are about to get ruined (Again).  The top cabinets are the original cabinets from the house’s original construction in 1982.  The bottom cabinets are replacements from flood damaged cabinets from a flood in 1999…
As you approach
As you approach the other rooms of your house down the hallway you watched your babies run up and down growing up, you start dealing with a tremendous swell of emotions.  The boat ride and trudging in the water is draining you physically and the smells of unwelcome water are already permeating the air.  This feels like the end, but you have to try to get what you can…
The bathroom, the single bathroom, that has been a busy part of the house on many occasions.  giving your babies baths in the tub, letting your grown kids use the shower after they've spent all day swimming and fishing at the river.  The memories are now as heavy as the load you need to carry out...
The bathroom, the single bathroom, that has been a busy part of the house on many occasions. giving your babies baths in the tub, letting your grown kids use the shower after they’ve spent all day swimming and fishing at the river. The memories are now as heavy as the load you need to carry out…
Imagine, if you will, that this is your daughter's bedroom.  She played with her toys here.  She flirted with her first boyfriends here.  She cried herself to sleep for the first time here.  32 years later, this room becomes a playpen of sorts for your granddaughter.  Do you grab the play pen?  The baby seat that she loved playing in?  That stuff's too big to pack out...
Imagine, if you will, that this is your daughter’s bedroom. She played with her toys here. She flirted with her first boyfriends here. She cried herself to sleep for the first time here. 32 years later, this room becomes a playpen of sorts for your granddaughter. Do you grab the play pen? The baby seat that she loved playing in? That stuff’s too big to pack out…
You walk into your son's former room.  You remember the arguments you had, and you remember the time's he spent in here playing video games.   You remember watching your son playing with his ninja turtles and even remember the time he spent on his computer and perhaps even playing his bass guitar all night long.  20 years later this room becomes property of your first grandchild, and he puts his hunting and fishing clothes and some gear in here.  You remember that your wife has a guitar, but instead of bringing it, you throw it on the bed because this trick worked in 1999...
You walk into your son’s former room. You remember the arguments you had, and you remember the time’s he spent in here playing video games. You remember watching your son playing with his ninja turtles and even remember the time he spent on his computer and perhaps even playing his bass guitar all night long. 20 years later this room becomes property of your first grandchild, and he puts his hunting and fishing clothes and some gear in here. You remember that your wife has a guitar, but instead of bringing it, you throw it on the bed because this trick worked in 1999…
This is the master bedroom.  This is where you and your wife of 40 years have resided for the past 34.  You've slept side by side, night after night, planning the ways to make this place look nice.  Over the years, you talk about your successes and failures.  While these thoughts are flooding your mind, you are figuring out what to get.  So you managed to get a few bags of clothes, your guns, some money, and some important documents.  You have to leave quickly, because the water is rising.  Emotions, water, and exhaustion are wearing you thin.  You know you forgot something, but you can't think about it anymore.  Instead, you cry a little bit and feel a part of your life dying.  You think and hope it won't go higher than the last time, but there's that lingering thought...
This is the master bedroom. This is where you and your wife of 40 years have resided for the past 34. You’ve slept side by side, night after night, planning the ways to make this place look nice. Over the years, you talk about your successes and failures. While these thoughts are flooding your mind, you are figuring out what to get. So you managed to get a few bags of clothes, your guns, some money, and some important documents. You have to leave quickly, because the water is rising. Emotions, water, and exhaustion are wearing you thin. You know you forgot something, but you can’t think about it anymore. Instead, you cry a little bit and feel a part of your life dying. You think and hope it won’t go higher than the last time, but there’s that lingering thought…
Imagine this is the very last time you will see your house like this.  This is the last time my dad would see his house and his property in its proper place.  This is it.  I want you to think about that, and be thankful for what you have.  Don't take it for granted.  The house he toiled away on for many a day for him to grow his family in.  A tool shed that he used almost every day for the endless number of projects he would always come up with.  The carport that he and I built together, and one of those days resulted in him falling off a ladder because freshly cut boards are heavy.  A pump house that he build, expertly, and one we spent two days a year soaking in diesel to treat and protect from rot.  All of this is now gone.  Hopefully it will never be forgotten.  My son Wesley, and my daughter Abigail, will never get to experience this place as I or my sister, nor her son Bowen.  So much potential, washed away like sand in a tidal wave.
Imagine this is the very last time you will see your house like this. This is the last time my dad would see his house and his property in its proper place. This is it. I want you to think about that, and be thankful for what you have. Don’t take it for granted. The house he toiled away on for many a day for him to grow his family in. A tool shed that he used almost every day for the endless number of projects he would always come up with. The carport that he and I built together, and one of those days resulted in him falling off a ladder because freshly cut boards are heavy. A pump house that he build, expertly, and one we spent two days a year soaking in diesel to treat and protect from rot. All of this is now gone. Hopefully it will never be forgotten. My son Wesley, and my daughter Abigail, will never get to experience this place as I or my sister, nor her son Bowen. So much potential, washed away like sand in a tidal wave.

This article is a memorial of sorts for my folk’s place.  Water seems to be the element of nature that truly owes no one any favors.  It will give life as easy as it takes life.  It doesn’t demand respect, it simply takes it.  The next article will be more in line of things, but it will be a bit before I get to it.  Tomorrow morning I help clean up this place.  I can’t get the smell out of my nose.

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