I cannot honestly recall a time when we have had this much water this late into the fall. As a born-and-raised Minnesotan, I have always been led to believe that when we get later into fall it comes with frost warnings and maybe even a few snow showers.
The rainfall we have been experiencing makes it seem more like spring than fall. As a kid I waited for the spring thaw like a small child looks forward to the coming of Santa Claus. Once the snow started melting and the spring rains began to fall, the water would start to flow in the ditch in front of our house. There were many years when the ditch water was higher than the culverts could handle, which caused a whirlpool effect as it was sucked in one end and spit out the other on its way to the slough.
This would be an exciting time for a kid who seemed destined to spend all of his free time finding new ways to get wet and muddy. I can remember one time when my cousin Tom was hanging out with us younger kids and didn’t seem to be spending much time with me, but instead with some of the older kids. I thought that I needed an attention getter so I climbed into the back of my dad’s pickup and made the famous red neck statement “watch this” and then proceeded to jump out of the pickup box. To a young kid it seemed like a pretty good plan, but like a lot of plans there was a little glitch. As I leaped from the pickup, my foot slipped and I did a perfect belly flop into a mud puddle. I was now soaking wet and covered in mud from head to toe. I was not only totally embarrassed, but now I had to go inside to change my wet muddy clothes and at the same time come up with a reason for my appearance. I found out that no matter what excuse I gave my mother, my playing outside for that day was put to an end. I had been warned several times before about playing in the back of the pickup and unfortunately at that age listening was not my strong suit.
When the rain came and the snow turned into water, the “crick” swelled to “big river” status. My neighbor Roger, rest his soul, who was older than me, had an old duck boat and when there was nobody his age to play with he would ask me to hang out with him. My mother had already given me strict orders to stay away from the slough when the water was this high, but that hearing problem kicked in again because I had a chance to be Roger’s friend, no matter how temporary it was.
We launched his duck boat and headed out into the slough to explore the unknown and I soon found out why Roger had asked me along. It seems his boat had a leak in it and he needed someone to bail the water out with a Hills Brothers coffee can while he paddled the boat. I didn’t really mind being his human bilge pump as long as I was getting to explore the vast body of water that the slough had now turned into.
I knew there would be consequences if my mother found out, but I wouldn’t tell her and I’m sure Roger wouldn’t. Guess what? I had forgotten one thing. Mothers always know everything and when I got home, my clothes wet from my toes to my knees, I had questions to answer. My mind was reeling trying to come up with a good explanation of my wet clothes and then I had a vision that was instilled in me every Sunday at church; just tell the truth and you will be fine. I told the truth, but when I was asked the question of why I went against my mother’s wishes, my head was swimming and I came up with no answer to satisfy her.
I know that inside she was just glad I was safe, but on the outside I was definitely in the proverbial dog house, which meant fetching the yard stick and listening to her tale of having to fetch a willow branch for her dad when she had been bad. That story didn’t make it hurt any less and, as for my new best friend, by the time I was allowed to leave the yard he had forgotten how tight we were. I think Roger actually liked me even though he would be my friend one day and when the older kids were around he would beat on me. Like my dad always said “son, you must be a glutton for punishment” or something to that effect. In looking back, it taught me not to be afraid of the small stuff so I see it as just a part of growing up and a good life lesson.
Until next time, always be cautious around high water and don’t drive on flooded roads. The deer hunting firearms season opens next weekend so I wish all the deer hunters a safe hunt.
Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Take a little time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops serving today.