Draining rain

Does anyone remember the huge downpour on Monday?

Ok, not the one on Tuesday OR Wednesday.

I mean the one on Monday.

I got caught in the drive thru of Starbucks, of all things, when the deluge came and the sirens sounded. Imagine being stuck, between cars, lined up getting overpriced coffee; and that this might be where I would meet my Maker….kind of fitting, actually.

From there, I took refuge in the church lobby nearby until the all clear sounded. Then I headed home to see if we still had one.

Many streets were flooded over, including the one right in front of our house; which thankfully, was still there.

I had to park up the street and ford the stream on foot to get our rake.

What? yes…our rake.

Because the reason our street floods is all the leaves from all our neighbors wash down to the low place in front of our house and clog the storm sewers.

Before I started the unplugging process, I checked on the new couple next door. They are young, with their first baby, and I wanted to make sure they weren’t trying to bail water out of their basement. The wife assured me they were fine and had checked it just before sitting down for their dinner. The she looked wide-eyed at the river where our street used to be.

I mentioned that I was going to dig the leaves out of the gutters and that would drain the water quickly. As I set to work, I was joined in short order by her young husband in waders and toting a shovel.

He didn’t for a minute think I knew what I was talking about, but he joined right in forging out in the mucky water; dragging his shovel along the curb. As he moved along, he said that he thought it just came down so fast that it was taking a while to drain. Uh….ok…..

I stood on the other side, in leather Borns that were seeping in water by the minute. Poking my rake out as far as I could without completely wrecking my shoes, I fervently hoped and prayed we would find the problem soon before he thought I was a complete nut.

Suddenly, his shovel hit the clog and he became a believer. Once he located the grate on his side, I knew where mine would be.

So in the pouring rain, on either side of the street, we pulled out gross wet leaves until the pavement was once again revealed. Then he helped me carry the heavy masses to yard bags so they wouldn’t wash back in during the next onslaught of water. “Let me get those!”, he kept saying.

He marveled that I had been right. Now that he knows, he said, he would keep an eye on them in the future when we have a heavy rain.

How did I get so smart?

Well, I used to be the new, young neighbor digging out leaves with the older man next door. The one whose family our new young friends bought the house from this summer.

He passed away last winter. I miss him so much. I had to smile thinking of him looking down on us and belly-laughing that he was free from this kind of task!

Monday, as this young man headed back to his now-cold dinner and I threw my drenched clothes in the laundry room, I realized….we need each other – the older and the younger. He needed what I had learned, and I needed his help. Just like I had needed Howard’s knowledge and he had needed my energy almost 20 years ago.

Sometimes we build bridges over the waters and sometimes we muck out the drains, but let’s join forces across generations and respect what each brings to the project.



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