Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Everyone is Helpful, Everyone is Kind

Well, I didn't have my camera on me this morning when I went to relocate sandbags, but I did use my phone. The quality definitely suffers, but at least I was able to document the clean-up a little bit. This first pic is of the railroad bridge between EPB and the main library, for any of you Iowa Citians or ex-pats. You can see the water reaches right up to it. It has gone down some, so I don't know how high it actually got.

This is partly how we moved sandbags. We formed what we used to call a bucking line when I was in the California Conservation Corps. and used to buck wood from a crib to a bonfire. We then deposited the bags into a loader, which in turn dumped them into trucks that took them to flooded areas South of here.

It was great how much help we had. I know some of the athletes at our school have had their run-ins with the law, but today there were plenty of football and basketball players to make up for those other assholes.

This is a photo of the passing line. These bags of sand came out of the engineering building and were not only heavy with sand, they were also wet, so they were gross too. They left weird brown patches on our forearms and Coadster joked that we all looked like people who didn't know how to apply our quick tan lotion correctly.

There were also some who joked about how there really wasn't any flooding South of us and that this was all a ploy by the University to get people to remove all the sandbags for free. I'm sure CNN and all the other news websites were in cahoots using old pics from other floods, right?

The one thing I love about these kinds of experiences, is how they bring people from all different backgrounds together. So that the Middle Eastern engineering professor is cracking jokes with my high school aged daughter who is warning a college student wrestler from Las Vegas how heavy the next bag is. I just hope all this work actually does some good.


Remiman said...

It is always comforting to see how catastrophe breaks down barriers and brings humankid together, if only for a brief time.

evil-e said...

I guess you just have to enjoy the time when people actually get a few days this lesson will be forgotten due to the general publics' ADD.

I am surprised no celebrities showed up to get that valuable face time on CNN.

Mr Atrocity said...

Things like that make you realise that it's not such a mean old world after all and most people are actually good folks really. I have a warm fuzzy feeling now.

dmarks said...

Evil-E, Obama did show up for a sand-bagging photo op in an Illinois flood recently.

another good thing said...

What an experience. Great pics, by the way... much more informative than what we're getting on the news.
and, hey. an impromptu paid vacation. Not bad.

jenny said...

I agree - it's really comforting to see how people will pull together in a crisis. I can't imagine how difficult the clean-up must be, particularly in some of the areas that were hardest hit.

Tara said...

I love it when people work together and/or make the best of things in those types of situations.

Susan said...

I hope it helps too. It gives me hope for the world seeing people come together like this.

booda baby said...

It's obviously already done its good.

NoRegrets said...

Ah, another photo that makes me think of soylent green. Glad things are ok.

Minyo said...

Iowans working together...makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

laura b. said...

I think spending a day doing something useful and selfless like that entitles you and your daughter to some more escapism!

Poptart said...

Yea! I love the pictures and the story. it is SO cool when people come together for something. I just heard an NPR story about how the US is getting so split up by beliefs and lifestyles (we all apparently want to be surrounded by our own) that situations where we mix it up a little are rare - and as you said, fun!

stepping over the junk said...

it reminds me of being stuck on a broken down train at rush hour for a few hours and suddenly everyone is everyone's best friend, even after seeing each other on the train at the same time every day for years but never talking or barely acknowledging each other. (yeah, Boston!)
Oh, and what you said on your comment about a long distance guy...would be perfect. Or a guy who is really busy and just has some time a few days a week...if that. :)

minijonb said...

It's great to see your community come together in a time like this. And your kids seem to have a great attitude about it. Maybe they were just glad to have you home all week?

Churlita said...


It's so true.


George W. was supposedly in town today.

Mr Atrocity,

Is there a special cream you can use to treat that?


There are some perfect photo ops this Summer.


yeah. That's what I love about blogs. You get to see what's really going on in someone's town, not just what you see in the news.


I know. We keep talking about how bad Cedar rapids probably smells right now.


I know.Iowa seems to be amazing in that respect.


I know.

Booda Baby,

Exactly. Just working together is pretty awesome.

Nor Regrets,

It's people, you know.


It's so true.

Laura B.,

It's the perfect excuse.


How's you mom doing in their river town?


It's a lot like that, except we were all dirty and stinky and sweaty.


We got so much help after the tornado, that they are both excited to pay other people back.

Anonymous said...

Hey sissy-in-law,
If you touched those bags, and they were wet, PLEASE check your tetanus status. If its been more that 7 years, get a booster ASAP.
We are giving out booster shots like candy down here. Most county public health outfits give them for less than $15....
Its pretty cheap insurance against a rather painful death.

your Bro-In-Law from the Ottumwa Flood Emergency Operations Center ... 20.6 ft crest ... levees holding..not one house or life lost.

Poptart said...

Ps are fine (much of Burlington, including them, is up on the bluffs) but the bridge was closed and a couple of the Illinois towns across the river are totally wiped out. Totally dramatic and freaky down there.