Rainy days provide time for contemplation

Heavy rains reminiscent of May in 2011 evoke memories of the flood that summer that drove us from our beloved house in the country to a basement bedroom in the city of Bismarck.

Air-conditioned, damp and just-not-our-own, it was like being condemned to an institution. Our hosts were the most generous, gracious people in the world and we owe them a lot for taking us in during our most desperate exodus from our life. But it was a painful situation for everyone involved. The flood lasted twice as long than those of Biblical proportion. Ninety-five days to be exact.

We got out early with the help of JC’s cubical mates. Nearly the whole staff at NDAREC came to our aid with boxes, muscles and storage space for our belongings. In two days we completely packed up our house right down to the hot water heater and then watched the semi-truck of our life roll out of the driveway and up to the hill only a couple miles away. It stayed there for 95 days.

We watched the water rise first from the house. It filled the irrigation ditch and the ravine. We kept saying to our selves, “That’s it, it’s reached its peak and we are safe.”

The road became covered, the second road to go underwater in the whole county. We said, “It’s okay, it just means we can’t stay here because we can’t drive to work.”

But by the first week in June, the water had crept over the edge of the yard, over the garden and covered the entire property with about two feet of ice cold Lake Sakakawea. There it stayed for the remainder of the 95 days.

Not knowing where we were going or what to expect, we left with just our clothes. Not being one to sit still, I had to have a project to keep my hands and mind occupied during the wait.

So I went for the simplest thing I could. JC drove me to Hobby Lobby and I selected the largest spool of #10 thread I could find; about 1.5 miles. I had to buy a hook too, because mine were all packed away.


Closeup of the motifs used in the flood cloth.

I found a pattern online, a one-pager for a Duncan Phyfe motif and began working one square each evening after work. As I went along I had to do smaller motifs to connect them. When we finally returned home on August 26 for good, I laid the project aside as we began to rebuild our home.

The tablecloth needed its ends tucked in and a border. I tried once to figure out what to do and couldn’t… until now. Three years must be the statute of limitations on heart healing because I finally, finally decided how to finish the piece and went about tucking in ends and crocheting some additional pieces for around the outside. In addition to the story I wanted to share the final tablecloth with you all. Marcy Narum did a wonderful, wonderful story on that tablecloth and I wish I could find it online, but it has since disappeared like many of our digital moments….

The tablecloth, well here it is.

final tablecloth

The 95-square crocheted lace that represents our time away from home during the flood of 2011.


PS: My second granddaughter Lucy Mae was born the day we moved back into the house. Both events were enormous blessings in my life. Perhaps one day I will pass this piece to her.

If you are at all interested in the videos of the flood. Here is a link to my YouTube channel.


About spidersue

Working on books, working, gardening, baking, canning, knitting, crocheting, reading, walking, getting older, getting wiser, love my children, love love love my grandchildren.
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