Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sink or Swim

For those following the never-a-dull-moment adventures of the Knight clan, today was my turn for a near-death experience!
It wasn't fun AT ALL!
I was traveling today to Gray Center, a 3 1/2 hour drive from home, for Clergy Day at the Miss. Conference on Music and Liturgy, which started at 10 am. Weather in Jackson was pretty bad, and it was slow going from there to Canton. Unknown to me, the Canton area (Gray Center is just north of Canton, out in the "country" had suffered some flash flooding during the night, and all area ditches, streams, etc. were quite full. Even some of the lower rooms at Gray Center got water in them last night, which had NEVER happened before.
Remember I said "unknown to me"!
The bottom dropped out about 5 miles from GC, but I carried on, going slow, taking my time. I made the turn off the hightway onto lil ole Way Road, a mile drive to GC. There was water on the road, on the sides, but the center looked fine, I could see the yellow lines and it all seemed ok.
Suddenly, as I was driving slowly down the center of the road, water started rushing at the car from direcly in front of me. I was immediately surrounded by pretty deep water. Looking behind me, the road was swamped there also. I tried to continue, thinking I was closer to high ground in front of me (turns out that was true, not that it helped), when a "surge" came at me, it was like a dam had broken or something, water came over the HOOD and my engine died, of course. I couldn't get it started, and there I sat, water rising all around me, thinking I am the world's dumbest person.
For about 10 seconds I thought - this is not really happening. Then I went to "what the *&*^%(* do I do now? Do I leave the car? Do I wait and see if the water goes down? I was not floating (yet). I rolled the window down (it was POURING remember), in case i needed to go out it (power windows). I decided first that if any sign of the car floating occurred, I was out the window. You can't swim IN a car! The overflowing ditches on both sides resembled rapids, with very swift current, but I wasn't quite submerged where the car was floating yet. Looking ahead, the water was piling higher - this was not good news. I tried the phone (cell service is VERY sketchy in this area). Couldn't reach anyone. Finally got my daughter who was on camp staff all summer (although not on site at this time) and was able to convey to her that I was trapped and water was rising in my car and please call GC and see if anyone can come help - a truck with a rope perhaps?
Water is now filling up the floor boards. In my mirror, as I continue to think "what the 8(**^&*^& do I do now?", I saw a truck from Entergy, the local power company. BIG truck! They are stopped at the highway and I frantically wave at them. They drive forward, but when they hit the deep part it sends a WAVE (wake?) forward which lifts the rear of my car several feet up. WOOHOO! OK, it really wasn't fun. Then these two wonderful lineman from Entergy get out and wade to my car. The water is above their waists! By now it is over the seat in the car! I ask if I should get out and they say not yet, trying to figure out a plan. They can't come around me with the wench because it's too deep and can't tell where the ditches are. About then, Joe Green from GC staff arrives on the other side of the road, and he wades in also. These are really great people! We decide the 3 of them can push / float the car back while I try to steer it away from the ditches.
And we did! They did! Made it all the way back to high ground near the highway. I was saved!

It really was touch and go for a time, especially when the phone would not work and no help was in site, and I was contemplating making a dash (swim) for it. The water was flowing so fast and was really high at that point. As someone who has always wondered how people can be so DUMB as to drive into a flash flood, I can honestly say - I get it now. This water came from nowhere, on a road I have driven a million times. I was shocked / stunned by how fast and furious it came. I am grateful to God, and Dwight and Andy of Entergy and Joe of CBG / GC.
The car was towed to the Toyota dealer. It's probably a total loss. My middle child who is in Jackson this summer arrived as I waited for the tow and we went to lunch and then to rent a car. I am home, cleaned up and thankful.
As I read Facebook posts on my wife's FB page of all the people who were so glad to hear I was ok, I shed some tears. Thank you all for your love and support!

1 comment:

CDYOSTE said...

Goodness Gracious.

I feel a little bad for laughing at that story, but you tell it well.

Sometimes the scariest/worst stories can be humorous in retrospect. haha

Glad you're okay :)