Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve likely heard that the Midwest is a bit damp. Iowa in particular. Now, I have no love lost for certain parts of the state (look, it was a really long year living there), but this flooding is horrific. It’s bringing back intense memories for Tom.
He and I met 15 years ago this week at the Bands of America Summer Symposium. Yes, we met at band camp, yuk it up. The talk of the SWAGs that week was the flooding in Minnesota and Iowa and how on earth were some of them going to get home? I remember it was all just “who heard what and when,” because when you’re on the SWAG team, you’re pretty much in a media blackout. You’re working too hard. I just remember how worried some others were: how would they get home and what would they discover when they got there?
Tom was one of those worried. He was working and living in southeast Iowa then, before coming to Illinois State for grad work. He did manage to get back home, but then spent the summer on flood duty. He filled sandbags, he cleaned muck, he almost asphyxiated when the sump pump he was using to clear out a basement spewed out carbon monoxide. Tom was in the thick of the infamous 1993 flooding.
The floods of 1993 were “500 year floods.” Only supposed to happen every 500 years.
The floods of 2008 are worse. Much worse.
The very same area where Tom was living in 1993 is flooding again. I’ve been there; it’s a sweet little town and it’s getting hit hard. Again.
So what can you do? Well, the American Red Cross is a good place to start. Prayers can’t hurt either.
But please do something. These people are hurting.
Think it doesn’t affect you? Well, you’re wrong. Iowa’s fields are under water. Iowa’s fields are not growing corn right now. Think you’re paying a lot for groceries now? Guess what? Corn is in freaking everything. So is soy, from soybeans. Read a label or two next time you’re at the store. Think you’re paying a lot for gasoline now? Ethanol is made from corn. Transportation costs are going to rise even higher; trucks are having a hard time getting over the Mississippi, trains are being rerouted or cancelled, and barge traffic on the river is moving in fits and starts.
Help Iowa. Do what you can. The people of Iowa are wonderful, generous people, and they need your help.