My home, Ames, Iowa, has just experienced the biggest flood in the city’s history. Bigger even than 1993 where the roads were closed and Des Moines didn’t have fresh water for more than a week. There was eleven inches of rain in central Iowa in three days last week.
Roads into the city were closed. People who worked at Wal-Mart were rescued by boat. A nursing home was evacuated. On Wednesday we couldn’t flush or shower. The city’s water main broke and the water was contaminated. My husband and I drove to the next town to buy bottled water. On Thursday the city was giving out two gallons free per person.
Friends were calling me from around the country who saw Ames, Iowa on national news. They wanted to know how I was doing.
We were luckier than many. Our house is on a hill. We didn’t so much as have a drop in our basement. Our sump pump was working overtime.
Living in a house with central air conditioning and a dishwasher and a microwave and a convection oven and every other appliance that makes life easy, it’s hard to imagine how quickly the most mundane chores can become challenges.
With two big pots of water boiling on the stove, I suddenly had a flashback to our family vacations in Maine. The little cabin we stayed in had only lake water (cold) and so my mom had to boil water to wash dishes — soaping them first, then rinsing with the steaming water. In the midst of this chaos, this memory makes me smile.