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The Flood of Aught Nine

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So, as I was saying,(please see the prior blog entry of the Girl Scout Camping Extravaganza) Jennifer comes in the tent and says, “Gary (the site director says that the road into camp is flooded. No one can get out, and no one can get in. He says that the Army Corps of Engineers is working on this problem at the Cheatham County Dam, but in his estimation, we have about a 5% chance of getting out today.”

What? WHAT?????

So there we are with the 35 people from our group, and over 200 from the Clarksville, TN service unit, who were also camping at the camp that weekend, stuck. Our troop has supplies for breakfast and lunch, but that is it. 250 trapped Girl Scouts, and the rain is continuing to fall.

Who ya gonna call???

Well, in lieu of Ghost Busters, the father of my son’s best friend just happens to work for – are you ready for this? The Army Corps of Engineers. Yup. Jeff goes to disaster sites all around the southeast, and rescues damsels in distress for a living.

Do I know the right kind of people, or what?

So I called home and informed my dear, dear husband of our situation, and then told him that he needed to do two things for me: First, get on the phone with our friend Jeff, the engineer, and find out if he knows anything about what’s going on over here, and tell him to get busy and get me out of here, if at all possible.

Also, since I had tried to contact a couple of my nearest and dearest at the Sonlight Forums, and all were unavailable, would he PLEASE put in a prayer request on those forums, and get people praying for us.

Meanwhile, Gary the site manager had to ride off and rescue the Brownies, Cadettes, and Seniors, who were all camped in the lowlands of the camp. Y’all, he got to the Brownies camp, told them they had to evacuate immediately, and by some heroic efforts, our leaders got those Brownies packed and out of there in 15 minutes. Which was an amazing feat in and of itself, and becomes even more amazing when I tell you that within 15 minutes after the Brownies were evacuated to our campsite, the road into their old campsite became submerged. There was a barbed wire fence and gate beside the road blocking access to a pasture. When I walked down there to check things out later in the morning, that 4 foot tall fence was completely submerged, all but the very top of the tall gate was under water. The creek had not only overflowed its banks, the whole bottom land of the camp became a rolling, brown, white water sea. That may sound contradictory, but I can’t think of a more accurate description. It was too wide to be a river, moving at amazing speed and carrying huge logs and trees at a rapid rate. Quite frightening in its power, actually.

So, my dear, dear husband, the Big Bison, gets on the phone with Army Engineer Jeff. Jeff says that yes, the Army Corps of Engineers is indeed working on the problem, but their goal is to let the water out of the dam (which is what would help OUR situation) ever so slowly – only just enough to keep the dam from overflowing, because further down stream are two huge dams that are in need of major repair. (One of them was the Wolf Creek Dam, if any of you have heard of it.) If these other two dams become overly taxed it will result in the drowning of thousands of human beings. So, Jeff says, “Dude, I wouldn’t plan on seeing her till Sunday, and it’s just possible it could be not till Monday.”


Well, Gary the camp site director comes back, questions me intently on what I have learned about what the Army Corps of Engineers is doing. Then he says that they are going to throw open the main kitchen of the camp, and we can all gather down there for lunch and evening dinner. He says that one of the Clarksville Girl Scout Leaders is a chef used to cooking for large groups of people. (Hallelujah!) We thank him, tell him we’re good for lunch, but we’ll come down to help with the evening meal.

And then we pray. And many of YOU prayed. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We did a craft. We took a hike down to see the brown, rolling sea/river. Holy Guacamole! Kinda looked like the world’s biggest latte in turmoil. That was around noon. Then we handed out Cookie Awards to our girls, for all the cookies they had sold earlier in the year.

And then, we took a minute to just process the situation as a group. Lisa, our leader, said, “OK, let’s take two minutes and whine.” And honestly, this may have been my favorite moment of the trip. I think we got out about one – maybe two whines, and before you knew it, this remarkable group of young women were laughing and joking and talking about how much fun this had been, and I thought my heart was going to bust, I was so proud of them.

I’m going to go ahead and brag on them just a little more, and say that Gary told me privately that the other groups were not handling being stuck well, but that our group was just so completely different. (AND YOU KNOW IT WASN’T BECAUSE OF ME AND MY SHINING INFLUENCE, SO YOU KNOW I’M NOT BRAGGING ON MYSELF!!!) But this, my friends, is the difference that Christians SHOULD be making in the world. The old salt and light thing – we weren’t showing off. We were just allowing what Jesus had done on the inside of us to be lived on the outside. Anyway, as you can tell, it was a noticeable thing, and a blessing to poor beleaguered Gary.

I took another walk down about 3:00 in the afternoon, and the water was higher still. Oh, well, I thought, so much for getting people to pray.

And then a miracle happened….

Just before dinner, around 5:30, I asked Jen to walk down the hill with me one more time, and lo and behold, it was as if somebody had opened the bathtub drain, and all the water was draining out. I could see most of the road out of the camp!!!

Jen and I looked at each other, our eyes wide with amazement, and hope sprang anew!

We ran back up the hill, and told the girls to start packing up the cars JUST IN CASE we might be able to get out that night. We went down the hill, ate dinner, and then came the glorious news: WE WERE RELEASED!!!

I don’t think any prisoner held in chains in the darkest of dungeons has felt much more joy than I did in that moment.

Five per cent were the odds we were given! But with mighty prayers ascending, and the sweet, sweet grace of God, Camp Tickamore was in my rear view mirror at 7:45 on Saturday night before Mother’s Day, and Flood of Aught Nine (’09) was history.

Praise God for friends who pray, for girls with AMAZINGLY upbeat attitudes, for husbands who harass the Army Corps of Engineers, for Engineers who do their jobs well, for husbands who post prayer requests to imaginary friends, and most of all: for clean smelling bathrooms, a roof + 4 walls in a storm, and a complete lack of ticks and spiders in my bed.

Karen (KayKay)

Monday 18th of May 2009

That was quite an adventure. I'm glad that you and the troop are all safe and sound. And I'm really glad that it happened to you and not me! ;-)

Theresa in WV

Sunday 17th of May 2009

Hoo, boy! What a weekend! Praise God for what He's done for and in your group!


Sunday 17th of May 2009

Wow Susan - what a wild weekend! Something the girls will tell their grandkids about. I love the way you tell a story.

[email protected]

Sunday 17th of May 2009

What an amazing adventure.... one I hope to never have, but certainly gave you some great blog material :-)Kristal


Sunday 17th of May 2009

I'm proud of ya' girl! Just tell me this - you don't have to do this next year, do you???Kristi ITC