Soggy city.

Years ago, I attended a rather raucous Columbus Dispatch party at a German Village apartment — oh, stab me in the heart now! — which was hosted, in part, by a sportswriter. About 3/4 through the festivities, it occurred to me that the host had a big day tomorrow — the Memorial Tournament was in full swing.

“Don’t worry about him,” someone said. “Golf is a sport made for hungover reporters. All you have to do is make it to the press room, and everything takes care of itself. Every hole is on closed-circuit TV, the staff brings you individual score sheets, they even bring the golfers in so you can interview them. There’s even food. You never have to leave.”

In time, I’ve come to think of Fort Wayne’s floods as my own personal Memorial Tournament. I’ve covered enough now that I could do it from the newsroom, using the city street department as legmen. Tell me which streets are closed, which neighborhoods are evacuating, where sandbags are being placed, and I can close my eyes and see it all. I even know lots of the flooded-out residents’ names, having read them or interviewed them myself so many times.

So we’re having a flood this week. It’s my last Fort Wayne flood (I think — you never know), and this time I’m seeing it from the perspective of an editor, wondering how many ways we can think of to explain the reality of a flood, which pretty much relies on several very simple concepts:

1) Water seeks the lowest place.
2) Water has to go somewhere.
3) Flooding occurs when the usual places — rivers, streams — fill up.

That’s pretty basic. And yet, year after year, we write thousands of words covering the what (see No. 1), the where (No. 2) and, worst of all, the why (No. 3). But that’s our job, I guess.

Anyway, even though I can see it all in my head, I felt obligated to gaze upon it with my own eyes one last time. I went down to the park (closed) and took the public road around it (open, at least most of its length), drove as far as I could without becoming a gawk-block menace, parked and got out to gaze upon the mighty rushing St. Marys.

Yep, that’s a flood, all right, I thought.

Now it’s time to move.

Posted at 1:49 pm in Uncategorized |

8 responses to “Soggy city.”

  1. Downto said on January 14, 2005 at 1:58 pm

    First timer.

    Enjoyable blog.

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  2. Barry said on January 14, 2005 at 2:06 pm


    Didn’t have a chance to say this before, so, I’ll say it now, even though it’s un-flood related. I’ve enjoyed your writing for years. I’ve enjoyed your writing even when you’ve laid into my beloved (yes, some of us love Fort Wayne)hometown for its shortcomings, real or perceived. (I know there are plenty of bad things about Fort Wayne, but I view it sort of like I view my family: I try to ignore the things I dislike and can’t change, and treasure the things I like.)

    You’re a fine writer. I wish you and your family much peace and success in Michigan.

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  3. Connie said on January 14, 2005 at 2:56 pm

    I have been watching floods as well. At work I am about to close on a million dollar piece of downtown property on which we will build a new Main Library. This morning the assistant director and I drove over there, turned in past the no trespassing sign, drove around the back of this decrepit industrial wreck, and pondered how high the water was on our (soon to be ours) 500 feet of Elkhart River frontage. Somewhat scary. Although it helped that we had gone to Starbucks first! According to the survey our property is just inches over the 100 year flood level.

    And Nance, enjoy Michigan. At least you will have a democratic governor who honors union contracts. I am a born and bred Michigander (the correct word), with degrees from Michigan State AND U of Mich. Spent my first year of life in grad housing at U of Mich. Have a cottage “up north.” (Rent it occasionally in August too.)

    Bought my first house there too, some 25 years ago, and paid more property taxes the year we sold it than I have ever paid again at much nicer homes.

    Good luck!

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  4. Connie said on January 14, 2005 at 3:00 pm

    Hey, Lance is flooding on his blog too! Poor guy, his flood is in his basement.

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  5. Dorothy said on January 14, 2005 at 4:33 pm

    Well I’m jumping on the (short) bandwagon, to tell you how very much I admire your writing. I found you a couple of years ago when I Googled “Irish Travelers”. At least I think that’s how I found you! At any rate, I always enjoy reading what you write, even if it involves things pertinent to your inner circle of life. Adding this comment feature has brought a whole dimension to the website, too, which makes me enjoy it even more. I look forward to hearing about your adventures in your new home!

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  6. Nance said on January 14, 2005 at 5:40 pm

    Relax, folks, this is starting to sound like a wake. I’ll be here two more weeks, and online indefinitely.

    But thanks for saying such nice things. (Sniff.)

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  7. brian stouder said on January 14, 2005 at 7:58 pm

    …And, you wear ‘sensible shoes’

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  8. Dave Reilly said on January 14, 2005 at 10:12 pm

    “People are getting nerrrrr-vous!”

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