Nashville Flood

For those of you who heard through the news outlets that Tennessee, and specifically the Nashville area, has experienced two and a half days of torrential rains and wonder how it all played out, well, here it is.

Headline this morning in The Tennessean

This is about two miles from our house

Allow me to thank the powers that be for letting Connie and I dodge another bullet…a big bullet. We are fine, thank you. But some of our neighbors and friends are not. My friend and bass player Dave Roe, and his fiancee, Jen, who just finished moving into their new house two days earlier, were evacuated yesterday (Sunday) morning because the cute little creek in the lower part of their yard (2 acres) had overflowed and was now threatening their house.

The storms brought much misery and destruction to literally thousands of people throughout the area. Roads were so flooded it was dangerous to drive anywhere. Trailer homes floated by on the freeway. An entire church wound up floating down a main road.

Watching this on TV it doesn’t look so bad. However, I have had first-hand experience with floods when, in 1972, my parents lost their home and everything in it in the Wilkes-Barre flood in Pennsylvania.

It had been raining for days on end. I happened to be visiting at the time the Civil Defense folks came rolling through at 5:00AM to tell everyone to “get out NOW. The Sesquehanna River is about to break through the dikes.” My parents’ house was one block from the dike. We got out fast. The dike broke about an hour later. Hundreds of us watched from the Avoca Airport as water flood the entire city, with ten feet of water covering downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Three weeks later the army corps started allowing families to go back into Wilkes-Barre to salvage whatever they could. I flew in from Ann Arbor to help. I’ve never seen anything so devastating in my entire life. A garage stuck high up in a tree. Cars upside down. Mud and filth everywhere.

Inside the house the piano was upside down, strangely protecting a fragile and beautiful little filigreed ballet dancer statuette. The refrigerator was on its side, door open, rotting contents stinking and spilling out into the oil covered mud. The oil from the heater had leaked out and was all over the house mixed in with the mud and debris. Everything was ruined. Furniture. Electronics. Clothes. And the family pictures, stored in drawers and on closet shelves, were soaked and mostly ruined. I saw my father’s sunken eyes taking this all in. A lifetime, drowned out in mere moments.

Floods look so peaceful when you see them on TV. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Today, in Hendersonville, it is sunny, warm, and strangely beautiful. I say strangely because while some of us may be breathing a sigh of relief, others, like Dave and Jen, are just beginning to clean up the mess to try and salvage what they can.

Prayers to those who lost loved ones, and to those who are putting their lives back together.

Leave a Reply