Saturday, May 7, 2011


For the first time anyone can remember, Interstate 40 in Arkansas is closed due to flooding.  The White River has reached heights not seen since the 1930's, long before the levee systems were completed.  A temporary gauge installed at the 1-40 crossing shows water reaching the top of the guard rail in the median strip -- meaning that the roadway is under a few feet of water.

My mom and dad were on their way up to see us from their home in coastal Georgia when the interstate was closed, and decided to come on ahead from their halfway stop in Alexander, Alabama.  It took them 11 hours, a few of which were spent stopped or crawling on the detour that thousands of trucks were taking, more than 100 miles out of their way.

Although the river seems to be cresting in the central part of the state, it will take quite a while for things to get back to normal.  Granny Lou and Papa were originally planning to attend church with us tomorrow and leave after lunch, making their leisurely way back south, but given the uncertainty of travel on the back roads and detours they'll now have to take, their departure has been moved up to early morning.  I wish they could stay until the road opens up and things are more settled, but they have appointments and more trips coming up, and we can't predict how long the flooding will disrupt travel.

It's been a very short stay -- only two full days and part of an evening -- especially when you consider it took two full days to get here and might take as long going back.  You wouldn't ask any one to go through that willingly.  Yet the kids have adored having them here, keeping them hopping with games of all kinds, along with bike-riding and other outdoor activities on the loveliest weekend of the spring so far.

A day in the car dodging floodwaters and studying maps isn't my idea of the perfect Mother's Day.  I hope Granny Lou can accept the two days of grandchild love she got while here in exchange.

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