I watch the weather reports a bit closer now. Others laugh when they find out I have bottled water and canned food stacked in my pantry. I have flashlights and candles in a waterproof box high upon a shelf. I have very few real plants and a pet that requires very little water. Others laugh at me. I find little humor in the situation. Not after the great flood of 1993. .
The day was gray with air so heavy it was hard to breathe as I reported for duty. Sandbagging is a dirty job. I sandbagged for days and days and hours upon hours. Sandbagging brought out the most unlikely individuals to work together, side by side, through pouring rain and blistering heat toward one common goal. Fathers, Mothers, retirees, homemakers, and businessmen lined the streets. There is no crash course in sandbagging and there is no right or wrong way to fill a sandbag. Just fill it. Each of the 24,000 sandbags weighed forty pounds that were lined one point of Ashworth Road Stooping, filling and lifting all day was a great recipe for a backache, sore muscles, callous and bruises. The word was out from City Officials; the water was rising faster than expected. The critical points were hit harder and faster as the pace quickened. Levee after levee broke sending in rushing water. Even with the hoards of people working around the clock, battles were lost. A big loss was the Des Moines Water Works. The Des Moines and Raccoon rivers exploded from their banks, flooding the cityâ€™s water supply.
With the water supply contaminated, I could not shower, cook, or even flush the commode. Sponge baths with stale lukewarm water became a treat. Kybos dotted every corner and lined parking lots while plants and pets were sustained with rain water. After standing in line for several hours at a time in the sweltering heat or drizzling rain, I was allowed two small jugs of water. On day twelve, we flushed! On day nineteen we drank! I no longer had to boil the water or rely on the bottled type.