I was musing this past weekend on how I couldn’t remember the beginning of fall being quite so wet, when my all-knowing hubby, Sir, reported to me that Sunday was the 20th anniversary of that torrential downpour that tragically cost 11 lives here in Kansas City.
I remember it very well, being here on a quick visit from Sydney to see Kansas City for myself and to make up my mind whether I could be persuaded to give up my homeland to travel some 9,000 miles and set up camp here with Sir.
We’d had a very early dinner with friends in a restaurant at 20th and Main downtown and thence made our well-fed way back to our temporary digs at 106th and Holmes, only to be met with a wall of water camouflaged as rain. Sir suggested we wait a bit, I airily replied that “we won’t melt or shrink, show some hair, man,” knowing absolutely naff all about Kansas City gulley washers, and so we made a mad wet sloshing dash to the car.
“Head to higher ground,” I giggled, realizing that Kansas City was pretty much as flat as a duck’s bum and ‘higher ground’ wasn’t really in its repertoire.
Heading south, it soon became very obvious that we were going to get nowhere fast as roads were closed, water was indeed everywhere and rising, and another route seemed to be in order. Head east, young man, Sir obviously thought, and so we got onto I-70 only to come to the unsettling realization that this storm really meant business, and finding sanctuary somewhere seemed somewhat imperative. Nearly stalling and threatening to float in floodwater on the off-ramp to 23rd Street, we ended up in a church parking lot. Listening to the Chiefs game on the radio, this storm was going to be bigger than Ben Hur, it would seem.
Sir was most perturbed. “We shouldn’t be here. This isn’t a safe neighborhood; we’ve got to move on,” he muttered with increasing insistence – I believe at some point he did start babbling. My Aussie pragmatism, and my absolute blissfully naïve ignorance of this city, led me to say, “honey, no self-respecting thug would be out in this.” I don’t know that I would be quite so sanguine now.
Then we had 5 inches of rain in an hour – this time we’ve had about 10 inches in three days. Makes a difference, doesn’t it?
And so now, 20 years later, I must say I’m loving the rain, but I’m becoming just a wee bit weary of it right now. My new front lawn was reveling in it for a while, having a little grassy romp in its exuberance to live long and prosper, but I suspect it is soon going to put through a bit of an urgent phone call to its cousin, rice, to find out all about paddy fields and how one behaves in one.
But then, as Roger Miller once quipped, “some people walk in the rain, others just get wet,” to which Dolly Parton parried “if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.