While contemplating a column about the recent floods in the heartland it does give me pause to think about similar events in my lifetime.

Most notably on a similar vein the Great Flood of 1993 tops my list. Floodwaters actually hit their highest point in the summer and stayed high during the height of the travel season. Visions of people operating boats with skiers on top of alfalfa fields showed the depth of the water and while it showed a lack of common sense for the boat operator and skier it did provide comic relief. It reminds me that in the height of disaster, smiles, hugs and laughter is important to the recovery process.

Other notables were a tornado that struck Chapman in June 2008 and nearly destroyed the entire school complex yet the residents were resilient. It took several years to get everything in place and I felt compassion for students and teachers who spent 2 1/2 years in temporary classrooms. My respect will never waver for those folks. If you have never been to Chapman to see and feel that pride it is worth the experience. The Fighting Irish is an appropriate mascot.

When I first arrived to take a job in Winfield, Kansas, at the Daily Courier, the Walnut Creek was at flood stage. As a northwest Kansas native, I rarely experienced such feats by Mother Nature. I remembered a freak downpour in the mid-1970s that flooded creeks and rivers that oftentimes had little water in them to begin with. I quickly found out in the southcentral Kansas community in which the Walnut River went through town and the Arkansas River flowed west of town, before winding down southeast of Arkansas City, that rising waters was something a resident had to watch for because it rained much more in that region of the state.

Anyone who went to the iconic Walnut Valley Festival in mid-September every year almost always had a story about downpours and localized flooding that added another dynamic to the event.

Growing up in Kansas one learns to not take Mother Nature’s testy temper for granted. Mostly the state is best known for its tornadoes that have hit communities such as Wichita, Andover, Hesston, Greensburg, Udall and countless others.

For me, those occasional ice storms and blizzards seemed to hit home, too. In December 2007 an ice storm in Abilene meant no power to print our newspaper and shoppers had no place to go to get gifts or groceries for several days.

A year in high school when school was closed for nearly a week when a February snowstorm delivered a massive punch remains a fixture with mountains of drifts.

Years later a Halloween snowstorm meant many kids lost out on trick-or-treat candy. It also forced the postponement of a football game between Abilene and Chapman and reminds me that covering any outdoor activity in the months of November until spring was on many occasions never easy.

As I think about what my friends to the north are facing it makes me realize how fortunate I have been, even when I take into my own experiences.

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