Sunday, April 19, 2009
First of all, to the friends from outside Manitoba who read this blog, yes the flood situation here is serious, and no, it's not as critical as the media makes it sound!
I've been watching the local and national news, and watching the Red River, as it's only a couple of hundred feet from my house. Based on what I've been seeing on TV, I should be sandbagging myself into a frenzy, as intense news personalities wax poetically about the devastation they are witness to. The "Red Sea", as the wags like to call the flooded Red River, is inundating the province, and we are all canoeing to work. The fact of the matter is, the flood has been devastating to some communities south and north of the city of Winnipeg, and yes, some people living in diked communities actually have to boat or canoe from their homes to higher, dryer land. Within the city there have been a couple of neighborhoods on alert and busy sandbagging (including a street right by me), but for the most part most larger towns south of the city and the city itself have been protected, either by a system of dikes, or by the floodway, which diverts most of the flood water away from the city.
Of course, a news story that says "most communities safe, flood preparations have worked quite successfully" won't sell papers or have TV viewers on the edge of their seats. So instead of "majority of communities safe" we have stories like the one AGF and I saw this morning, where a talking head spoke gravely to a bloke who stayed home to man the sump pumps and canoe to work, while his family moved to the city.
While we appreciate the empathy that the news-types have shown for our little province, we couldn't help but come up with our own version of a Manitoba flood story, so here goes:
FLOOD WOLVES RAVAGE CITY
Talking head: "Breaking news from Winnipeg, Manitoba, somewhere in the western territories: brave but misguided plains-people struggle mightily against packs of dripping Flood Wolves!! Over to you Jerry!!"
Jerry: "That's right talking head!! The simple-minded but brave folk who foolishly decided to put their "city" in the middle of a flood plain are struggling naively against the barracuda of the prairies, the "Flood Wolf"! Every other year or so, as the Red River overflows it's banks in an attempt to innundate the simple, accordion-loving sod-busters of the plains, dormant Flood-Wolves awaken to quench their unending hunger for canoe paddles!"
"As the inconsequential westerners continue their never-ending struggle against "mother nature", who hates them by the way, their daily canoe-trips into the "city" of "Winnipeg" are beseiged by packs of ravenous and artistic Flood Wolves. Hungering after their canoe-paddles, the Flood-Wolves perform Esther-Williamsesque water ballets intended to confuse and arouse these hapless dimwits. Just yesterday, a "farmer" (that's someone who sticks seeds in the ground and waits for it to grow, instead of going to a store for their food like a civilized human being, talking head) was hypnotized by a pack of Flood Wolves performing a "floating star" pattern, while their comrades seized the poor "farmer's" paddles and made off with his only mode of locomotion. This "grower", as the primitive locals like to call them, drifted for days and was only rescued when his canoe drifted into the network catering truck, parked in the edge of the "dike", or pile of mud."
Talking Head: "Shocking news Jerry. I hope you didn't get too "dirty" walking to the catering truck."
As I've said, I don't want to minimize the effect that the flood has has on us. Hundreds if not thousands of hectares of farm land are under water, and a couple of thousand people have had to evacuate their homes. I just don't want us to forget the plus side: thanks to a heck of a lot of preparartion since the last major flood in 1997, we didn't have to ask for the help from the military, and most people and their property have been safe. With further work, we should be able to make most communities safe for the next time.
Except for those darn Flood Wolves.