Wednesday, October 19, 2005

High Waters Changed Our Schedule

The excess water from the heavy rains that fall here causes small brooks to rage like the Mighty Mississippi as they flow into the Delaware ,which rushes down from upper New York into Pennsylvania and along New Jersey. Last year the Delaware flooded this area twice.

We arrived here from Maine last September 2004 and found ourselves trapped at every bridge leading to Barryville. All bridges were closed preparing to be flooded. We were stopped at one point about 7 pm and instructed to go to the nearest elementary school where a shelter had been set up. That evening’s experience in the make-shift shelter was not unpleasant. The local Red Cross volunteers and the school cafeteria manager were well prepared: food already in the refrigerators, cookies baking, drinks in the coolers, games and books in the common room; and finally in the gymnasium army cots and shells that looked like one half of a mummy coffin with no padding were set up. For four hours we sat around getting acquainted with the folks who’d had to leave their homes located too near the rivers and streams. Finally, too tired to small-talk anymore, we chose a shell, put an army blanket under and one over us and tried to nap. The dank odor of the blankets let us know we were the first to use them in a loooong time! Not an hour passed before we were awaken to say we could return home.

However, we were the only ones who had to cross the Delaware. The only solution to our getting to Barryville was to go north on Hwy 84 from Port Jervis, NY to Middletown, then west on 74 B and south to south on 55 to Barryville. This included no bridges. After four hours of driving unfamiliar roads in the rain, we dropped into our beds after 3:30 am . I have to say all the people staying in the shelter were quiet and courteous to each other and to the volunteers.
We were grateful for the orderliness of the Red Cross, the preparedness of the cafeteria manager and their interest in our comfort. From that experience I've learned to carry a paperback book everywhere so boredom doesn't set in wherever we may land.

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