This post is written in conjunction with the 30 Days of Writing, a blog challenge devised by Nicky and Mike at “We Work For Cheese.” I’ll be participating throughout the month of June. If interested, you can see my post with the details of the challenge.
Please note that some of these posts will be serious, some will be normal, and some will be an attempt at humor. This one is on the serious side.
For many years, there is a road in our area that has been known for flooding.
It’s a back road that runs pretty much parallel to a state highway. As the two run close to one another just outside of our village, there’s a beautiful covered bridge. It’s an historic covered bridge and a wonderful spot for photography.
On the county road — the backside of the river — the road dips awful low for a bit and then zig-zags away from the river a bit.
It’s that dipping part that has always been something to watch when heavy rains comes. Unfortunately, it can also result in tragedy. Let’s go back in time to revisit something that this area will likely always remember. At the time, it was one of my biggest freelance “breaks” in my professional career, but if it could erase what happened, I’d gladly give back the opportunity that I received because of it.
‘Twas early evening on a cool and rainy Fall day in late October 2003. I was semi-employed at the time as I searched for work after completing my Master’s degree in May. I had covered a game for the local daily paper and had dropped off a roll of film for them and was heading home.
I got a call from a friend who was working for said daily and he noted the New York Daily News needed a freelancer to help with a story that was happening in my town.
And, being the News pays well, I had a hard time saying no.
The way things happen with a paper like that is the person upstate doesn’t really write. My job was to call around to people, get some quotes, comments and whatever else to help the writer back in New York. They paint a picture that way. They make calls as well and then weave everything together in the way a daily tabloid can.
So, I did what they needed.
But the story itself was tragic.
There had been a lot of rain the previous few days and there was a bit of flooding. A lady, driving home from work, went via the back road. In her car, buckled into their child seats, were here 10-month old twins.
As she rounded one of the corners and hit one of the dips in the road, her car was swept up by flood waters and taken into the fast-moving river.
According to reports, she said she attempted to escape by rolling down a window and tried to release the child seats. But she basically was sucked out of the vehicle, which then kept heading down river. After gettingShe ran as fast as she could to find help. Nobody was home in a nearby house and after flagging a motorist, she was taken to the hospital.
Search crews went to work as fast as possible. And the search went throughout the night.
The following day, the bodies of the twins were pulled from the water. It was a story that attracted local and national attention. In the end, two children lost their lives before they ever got to have them going.
One area media reported that a county worker was en route to close the road as this tragedy happened. Reports of water on the road had come in shortly before and he was being sent to close the road.
But, it was too late.
Those twins would be nine-years-old now. They’d be in school and looking forward to turning 10 on New Year’s Eve. But Mother Nature and a bit of nasty fate took that away.
And that’s sad.
The only glimmer of hope from this is that something good would hopefully come out of it.
Since that day, whenever heavy rains come and there’s a chance of water creeping up too high, the county closes that section of the road as fast as possible. No waiting. Roadblocks go up until the water comes down and it’s safe to pass through that area.
I often drive that section of the road. It’s scenic. There are wonderful photo opportunities. But each time, I pass by the makeshift memorial that has been built for the twins and it makes me remember that fateful night.
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