Saturday, May 8, 2010

Here comes the sun...

What a week here in Nashville. I never would have believed this flooding (still strange to hear myself say it) it if I hadn't seen it.

A few things I used to think:

1) You have to live right on a really big river to get flooded.
2) If you live right on a really big river and it floods, well - you had it coming.

Was I ever wrong on both counts. It is hard to imagine what has happened here, and oddly enough - even harder to describe even though I've been seeing it in person this whole week. We have been told that we just experienced a 1,000 Year Flood Event, so I guess we have that going for us.

Here's what Nashville's been up to:

The great thing is that we're handling it on our own. Nobody is down here helping us - it's just us. And we really are handling it. Despite still having no power for days, there have been scant reports of looting. No crime sprees. And our beloved police chief Ronal Serpas (who, sadly for us, just took that same job in New Orleans this week), chuckled when asked how many arrests had been made for looting - 4, and 2 of them were cowards from Springfield who drove here hoping to cash in on our misfortune.

For the first 3 days last weekend, several of my children were stranded at friends' homes b/c the roads to Bellevue (I-40, Old Harding, Hwy 100, Hwy 70) were all underwater. I mean - Bellevue? Yeah, Old Harding from Sawyer Brown to Poplar Creek Rd. was flooded - as in all you saw were the rooftops in River Plantation - for days. People were being rescued by boat from the rapids in the Belle Meade Kroger parking lot. These places are miles from the Cumberland River downtown. Little creeks that you could normally hop across became huge torrents that swept away cars. Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and the Cancer Center - nowhere near any river - had their basements and first floors flooded.

Here's the scoop - at about 5:00 Friday afternoon (May 7th) we loaded up our whole family in our 2 cars, plus the grill and a couple of tables, then headed to Costco where we bought tons of typical picnic food and condiments, a case of oranges, a few boxes of cookies, paper towels, hand sanitizer, water, plates, etc. I had sent a message to my neighborhood listserv that we'd love some help, and within minutes I had $300 in donations, not to mention more donations of food. I love my nabers. We drove out Old Harding and just picked a random spot on Morton Mill (subdivision across from the driving range). We basically just unloaded the car on the corner, fired up the grill, and set out looking for hungry passers-by. It did not take long to find takers! Rest assured, friends - this meager offering was heartily received by hot, tired, and grubby workers and homeowners - even one policeman. We were thanked repeatedly. And it was nice to see so many other people driving by offering water, ice, use of tools, etc. We stayed til dark then loaded it all up again and came home. My children were very happy to have helped (they each had a job) but totally konked out in the car on the way home.

The devastation is astonishing - truly surreal to see it in person. Hundreds and hundreds of households with every item they owned strewn about the yard in musty piles -not to mention all the ruined drywall, kitchen cabinets, windows, insulation, hvac units, appliances, flooring, lawnmowers, etc. We never saw the owners of the house where we were standing, but I know what her wedding dress looked like, what color curtains they had, what size shoes they wear - it was all right there at my feet on the curb.

And so with that, I thank you again and will tell you that the Drake/Moses family will back at it tomorrow - and we'll get a much earlier start - no later than lunchtime. I am happy to share our donated goods if someone else would like to do the same in another spot. I think I'll load up the children and scope out Bordeaux tomorrow morning - geez, like I even know where that is exactly. But we'll figure it out.