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Flush Day and other signs of progress

Fri, Sep 7th, 2007
Posted in Commentary

The porta-potty is gone from our front yard, leaving only a three foot square patch of dead grass and a strange memory. Last week we celebrated "Flush Day"-the day Rushford residents were told it was okay to flush toilets again. This week after two and a half weeks, came "Shower Day."

With a "can-do" attitude among the residents, and the assistance of a myriad of volunteers, flood clean-up has continued at a steady pace in Rushford.

I live near the new "dump" by the water tower, unofficially named Mount Mess. We can hear the rumble of trucks constantly, some hauling debris in from the damaged homes and businesses, some hauling it away. The pile never seems to shrink to us onlookers.

Around mealtimes, you can still hear the low horn of Red Cross trucks driving through town, followed by a voice on a loudspeaker. I can never hear exactly what they're saying, but I suspect it's some version of "come and get it!" The truck offers hot meals and cold drinks to anyone who asks.

Montini Hall is still the place to be, not just for the comfort food dished up there, but also for the camaraderie and the opportunity to hear flood news.

"Did you see how fast they took down the Kwik Trip building? I hear they can rebuild in less than sixty days."

"No kidding? Hey, did I see that the bank drive-up is open?"

"Yeah, opened Tuesday. Hey, I heard Stumpy might fire up his pizza wagon downtown somewhere. That'll be good."

I try to remember some of the things people have said. "Mother Nature is apologizing to us," Alfred Semerad said last weekend, commenting on the beautiful weather.

And just a week after the flood, our dentist, Dr. Marcoux, said to me, "I've had hurdles in my life, and I'm trying to think of this as just another hurdle. Okay, it's probably the biggest hurdle I've ever had...but still just another hurdle." Dr. Marcoux's office was severely damaged and he lost all of his dental equipment in the flood.

We've grown accustomed to the television trucks with their satellite dishes on top. Many of us haven't even seen the news since the flood, so we don't really have an appreciation for our fleeting fame. I call my mom occasionally to find out what's on the news about Rushford.

And speaking of famous, the Famous Rushford Flower Baskets hanging throughout town are a delayed casualty of the flood. They're dried out tumbleweeds now-Roger Colbenson and crew have had more pressing matters to attend to-and they still hang from the light posts like crazy Halloween decorations.

It's sad to look at those dried baskets. But I don't have the slightest doubt that they'll be back, one way or another, in all their colorful splendor, next year.

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