Charlie Hodge column.

Hodge: Mother nature’s force

I had my own flood flashbacks take place earlier this month while moving boxes out of my basement

It’s times like now when a writer, prone to the use of clichés, must suppress the desire to paen such lines as “constant change is here to stay,” “careful what you wish for,” or “a prisoner of circumstance.” There is little humor factor to the devastation and stress facing so many Okanagan families this month.

Sadly, flooding throughout the valley is far from over. In fact it is a scenario we could easily be dealing with until mid July, just in time for the fire season to kick in. Anticipate that situations could very easily become worse before they become better.

Snow levels in the upper reaches of the valley remain huge with little melt off having occurred so far. We have already reached major flood levels and have another month go before we reach the traditional end of June full runoff.

Such an emergency scenario has made many residents feel like prisoners—either locked in or out of their homes, unable to do a whole bunch until mother nature has stopped her relentless attack. Even many of those not directly impacted are experiencing frustration or disruption from the impacts of the flooding creeks and lakes.

Ironically I had my own flood flashbacks take place earlier this month while moving boxes out of my basement. I decided to move a number of storage bins and other personal items off the floor downstairs since our home is located in potential flood plain area and we have had minor issues in the past.

In doing so I naturally took a peak in one or two boxes. As if by plan I found a childhood photo of when my family moved from Summerland to Kelowna in the early 1960’s. Our first rental property was the home of Maude Roxby where we lived for a year until moving to a rental home at the corner of Truswell Road and Lakeshore (right next to the bridge at Mission Creek). The photo is of my mom standing near the flooding banks of Mission Creek hoping that the house would not be filled with water.

Just three years before that picture was taken mom and dad lost a great amount of personal keepsakes and items including all family photos when our home near Trout Creek, Summerland was completely flooded. Mother never really got over losing so much.

That trauma was part of the inspiration for dad and mom to pack it all up and start again in Kelowna. As mentioned that first home in Kelowna was the Roxby location. Today the property (now the Roxby bird sanctuary) is completely under water.

It was while moving the boxes that another adage popped into my head. The one about be careful what you wish for. Frustrated by a terrible tenant who would not pay rent, was trashing my basement, and playing other illegal and dangerous games, I sarcastically said to Tez that the only way we might get rid of the jerk was to have our basement flood.

I immediately bit my lip at the comment recognizing that while the thought might, pardon the pun, hold water, the ramifications were not worth the wish.

Thankfully the squatter finally saw the wisdom in a peaceful departure, reducing at least one stress factor in our world.

Tez and I are lucky so far, but hundreds in our community are not and could certainly use your support or kindness. If you have a spare room for either people or private property please make an effort to assist.

Added to the flood confusion is the additional state of flux many are now in due to the potential change in government. With so much of the flood control and support connected to provincial programs and funds there is cause for consternation by many.

I encourage readers to be patient and practical with your needs and requests. If indeed your home or health is not in significant threat then please avoid seeking emergency services as there are many in immediate dire need.

This community was severely taken to task by mother nature in the past and rose to the challenge. The challenge of 2017 has really just begun. Dig in folks.

Help one another.


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