Good lord willing and the creek don’t rise: how to survive a flood when you never learned to swim

Good lord willing and the creek don’t rise. It’s an old saying that means I will go where I said I would or do what I agreed to do, barring the unthinkable. Sometimes folks just say good lord willing. In South Carolina, the creek, quite literally rose and life was put on pause. In the 15 years I’ve lived in Columbia, I could probably count the number of days we had off for weather on one, maybe two hands. Then college happened. We had 3 days off for snow, then 2 more. And now a week because of flooding. 3 weeks ago I was flying home from a football game in Columbia ,Missouri. When I left Columbia (South Carolina, not Missouri) I had no doubt in my mind that I would be able to get home, good lord willing. Then the creeks rose. & the dams breeched, and the roads flooded and crumbled as if they were made of paper. My mother and I were stuck. Contrary to the popular stereotype, I can swim, at least enough to keep me from drowning, but that wouldn’t help me in this situation. We were lucky. We experienced minimal flooding in our pantry. It’s the only room in the house that still has carpeting, and something tells me that replacing it is not going to make parents too sad. We were okay. but just blocks away from us, some lost everything. At this moment,t there are still folks who can’t leave their neighborhoods because the roads are closed. There are people without homes, businesses destroyed, and lives lost. We don’t deal with this kind of thing in South Carolina. We lay low. And yet, here we are again, the cover story for national newspapers. It’s been rough year to be a South Carolinian, and yet, we keep bouncing back. We keep surviving floods, even if we never learned to swim. Walter Scott, the Charleston 9, the Confederate flag, and now the flood. Certainly natural disasters are different than man-made ones, but the fact is, in the face of turmoil, we somehow find a way to figure it out. It isn’t always pretty, and the roads to recovery and reconciliation are long, but we can do this. We always do.

In the spirit of being a voice and not an echo, my roommate, Kitty Janvrin, wrote an excellent column on her experiences helping the victims of the flood. It can be found here.

If you would like to donate to the cause, please contact United Way of the Midlands or the American Red Cross.

A note: I’ve done a disservice to myself and to my readers. I often think, I’m going to blog about xyz, and then don’t. Life gets busy, but I owe it to myself to finish what I started. Feel free to stop me in the grocery store to tell me what you think or if you have ideas. You can always email/call/text/message/tweet me.

Yours in activism,

Karli Janay

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