WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE--AND NOT ONE DROP FOR DRINKING.
Before buying the large and beautiful condominium in my home town of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, I learned it was located in a flood zone. After checking with many flood experts, I was told the condo had “taken” a few inches of water--only one time—and that one time had barely-wet a small area around the front door.
City officials assured me—any and all flood waters were now kept “in check”. Years earlier, the city had updated their over-flow system by installing expensive Flood Gates. These modern steel doors were immediately closed each time storm warnings indicated possible flooding of any kind, especially in Flood Zones.
So--I purchased the elegant structure with confidence. I furnished it with my treasures, antiques and pretties, many I’d lovingly-restored. Of course my most valuable possession--- my handmade, concert grand Steinway Piano—was my true love. I'd purchased it from a military soldier-- turned-piano teacher-- who’d been unexpectedly called back to active duty. Forced to sell his piano, the musician turned soldier, seemed satisfied to have me as the new owner of his beloved Steinway. I’ve always treated my belongings with love, respect, and gentle kindness and--if I say so myself--my treasures transformed my new condo into a-- “show place”.
Months later, when I announced my intent to run for Mayor of my hometown--on the Republican ticket--I never imagined I would soon become the Democrat Party’s target of hate; the Party’s number-one-enemy! It was only after finding my tires stabbed and slashed; my car deeply “keyed” on both sides; and my car’s vinyl top sliced in multiple places, that I realize how low-down and dirty politics could be BUT---- ONLY if you’re challenging a Democrat!
When the low-lying areas of the town began flooding; when the creek near my condo over-flowed its banks; when water began lapping at both the front and back door of my condominium--I was horrified.
I watched as tons of filthy, churning water steadily-dripped-- then poured into my home. I frantically-grabbed lamps, pictures, stools--throwing them on top of dressers, beds, and cabinets, but--I was only one person with only two arms, desperately- fighting tons of rapidly-rising water.
When the rain finally-stopped outside, and the rising water finally-stopped inside, I remember feeling overwhelmingly-sick. I watched, completely helpless, as the dark, greasy water continued its efforts to invade my piano’s keyboard.
Yes, I had flood insurance but, like most insurance, it only covered bare necessities. Insurance didn't cover the endless days, weeks, and months, of cleanup or---reward me for overwhelming loss, countless inconveniences, maddening anguish, and too-many unexpected snake experiences.
Everything in the bottom drawers, lower shelves/ cabinets and lower book cases, was instantly destroyed. Chairs and sofas had to be rebuilt then re-upholstered. My brand-new mattresses were forever-soaked and, within days, growing mold. My appliances—including stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and washer/dryer were declared useless and needed to be replaced. Everything underfoot-- including hardwood floors, rugs, carpeting, ceramic and vinyl tile--was destroyed. Nothing survived-- not the wallpaper or the door frames, handmade bookcases-- AND--certainly not the wiring or the plumbing. The only survivor of the waist-high waters proved to be the condo's basic structure.
Weeks after the flood, I received an anonymous letter in the mail. The letter was well-written and I had every reason to believe the message inside. The writer's house was also flooded and he’d done some private investigating. He was so angry he actually paid a city official to tell him WHY ---after living in his house for nearly forty years---his house had flooded this time--for the first time?!?!?
The city official (unnamed) admitted the Mayor (a life-long Democrat), had--- for the very-first-time--- ordered the Flood Gates to stay "OPEN” because, in his words: “Sally Miller needs to LEARN a lesson”. Don’t tell me about Democrats or just how far they will go-- to WIN.
That single experience with flooding--- taught me an important lesson. Today, I take nothing for granted and leave nothing to chance---including the weather. And--- you can be damn-sure I will never-again under-estimate my enemies----never.