Instead, the lady counting the flats and keeping everyone in line is Ann. Ann, pregnant as well...expecting new daughter Lizzie, imminently, as in next week. She is stepping in to help, even though she cannot bend at the waist, because she has no waist! Perhaps this day makes the waiting go faster, but with Aaron at home already, I know this day is her gift to all of us: her sister, her mom and dad and this day of necessity.
It is a warm sticky day. Or is it a wet muddy day? This is the problem. I don't have the pictures to trigger my memory. I am picking out baskets, carrying out baskets, 4 at a time, 10 to a cart. I am worried, concerned, on edge on all levels from the most superficial to the core of my being. But this is not recorded...I can summon all these feelings like it was yesterday, not six years past. But I can see only vignettes in my mind.
Elizabeth Carol is born May 4; Blake and I stop by home so I can paint her banner and hang it from the porch for all to see. She is beautiful from birth, pink, sweet and unmistakably girly. Her big brother is proud and gentle with her.
Lee sneaks away to visit Miss Lizzie at home. There are a couple of pictures from the brief interval that Lee is still expecting and Lizzie is here. Family legend has it that Lizzie is whispering to her little cousins: Come out! I'm here waiting!
Sunday night Lee and Ryan listen to the weather warnings and decide the risk of being stranded at the farm is too great. Giant storms roll through; they pack an overnight bag and try to rest in our spare bedroom in town.
Monday morning, we are all awake early despite the ongoing rain: it is time to go to the hospital. But Highway 59 is shut. In my memory, Ryan is silent and Lee is unreasonably calm. Can this be? Blake and I slosh our way to the sodden greenhouses; the weather keeps business down but we have had no difficulty using new grand babies as reasons to stay home....
And new babies arrive! Lizzie's pink banner gets three days top billing before the lime green full sheet declares the birth of John Gabriel and Abigail Louise. The passing years cannot dim the thrill and thanksgiving I feel each time I relive those days and realize our amazing blessing and good fortune in the midst of the chaos around. We wend our way through the country on state paved roads and gravel until we find an open route over the Tarkio River. Soggy but ecstatic, we get to meet Gabe and Abbie
. Later that evening, after work, Annie and Lizzie accompany us back to the hospital. This time it takes us a full hour to travel between Tarkio and Fairfax. The good folks at the hospital say not a word about our late arrival and let us come in.
Even though in the record books the May 2007 floods will not go down as the worst flooding ever experienced in the Midwest, in many locations May 2007 flooding was in the top three events of all time. More significantly, two cities experienced the all-time record flood levels at their locations. The Tarkio River near the city of Fairfax, MO experienced a record high river crest of 25.78 ft recorded Monday, May 7th.