News » The Observer

How high's the water, Momma?


The Observer, who is lucky enough to live on the crest of a hill that will never see standing water unless the Good Lord decides to punish mankind with 40 days and 40 nights of deluge again, has watched with alarm as the folks up in North Arkansas have been inundated with rain in recent days. There's reportedly more on the way tomorrow as we write this, another amorphous, colorful blob creeping its way across the map, soon to bear down, soon to give the weathermen their rare time to shine above the perfect hairdos and tight bods on the reporting side. Springtime in Arkansas is clearly the best time ever to be a Ned Perme.

We're beginning to wonder where the hell all that rain is gonna go. On Dr. Zuckerberg's Fantabulous Electric Book of Countenances in recent days, we've seen photos of all manner of sodden happenings: cars and trucks swept from the road, a shirtless chap floating down one of the main drags up in Fayetteville astride a giant yellow ducky, the lovely one-lane suspension bridge at Beaver drowned to the point that the cables emerge directly from the river, the road deck completely submerged, and who knows what horrors beyond in the quaint little town the bridge connects to the world?

The Observer owes a lot of our existence to floods, being that we are the crotchfruit of the crotchfruit of desperate sharecroppers once flushed out of the fields near England by the storied '27 Overflow, 90 years back to the year. Our dear, departed granddad said the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers eventually shook hands in the middle somewhere out in the Delta, forming the Great and Temporary Sea of Arkansas, with only a few bridges and the ancient lump of Crowley's Ridge standing high enough to top the depths of the churning waters.

Who knows who or where The Observer would be without that soggy excuse for a Biblical plague unto our people? In prison, maybe. Preaching, possibly. Maybe behind the wheel of a house-sized John Deere tractor, chewing our chaw and thinking of the meatloaf and taters the Missus would have on the table when we tromped in dusty from the field, focused on trying to get the soybeans into the ground before the next fleck of raindrops on the windshield. Surely we wouldn't be here in Little Rock, where our ancestors retreated for good as the Arkansas River rose up and swallowed their shacks and barns and corncribs, grandma's chifforobe and brass bedstead, sending their mules and milk cow swimming for higher ground and the land buried in sand in which seeds could find no nourishment. So they came here, started roofing, and begat and begat until one of them, thank God, begat Yours Truly, for better or for worse. A child of floods, then. A scion of storms. Lord knows where we'd be without 'em, so much of life and existence turning — as The Observer has repeated here on occasion — to the most random and seemingly insignificant events of all sorts: geographical, criminal, astronomical, meteorological. But we digress.

Bless you and keep you, Northlanders. Stay dry up there in coming days. Stay away from sagging old oaks, prone to keeling over and embracing mobile mansions in the middle of stormy nights. Know when to hold 'em and fold 'em while driving, too, not venturing into water flowing over the road no matter how much the guy at the car lot told you your Jeep or SUV or big swingin' truck-nutted 4x4 makes you not only impervious to the elements, but to mortality itself. You wouldn't be the first sucker who swam away from a rig like that, buddy. Just check YouTube.

Above all, if you can stay warm and dry and undrowned, just remember to enjoy the rain. People have a love-hate relationship with it, of course, drencher of hairdos and killer of truck-nutted 4x4s, ruiner of outdoor birthday parties worldwide. Like the old-timers said, though, into every life a little rain must fall, and without it we would get none of the green, sweltering beauty that is Arkansas in the summertime. Yeah, the floods are no fun. But for that, we can stand a few days of rain.

Add a comment