Meet John Beecher, who lives just south of Moorhead, Minnesota on the banks of the Red River. If he’s lucky, you’ll never hear of him again, because if you do, it means flooding has again threatened his home. He’s one of the people I’ll be following in the spring, should the region have flooding as severe as that in 2009, requiring the presence of News Cut to help tell you about it.
Mr. Beecher can tell you exactly how high the river behind his home of 26 years got that year. His wife put a Post-It note on the cupboard back then, and there it still sits.
John’s house appears to sit closer to the river than people downstream who have more significant flooding, and yet — he points out — it only reached his bird-feeder in 2009.
John is one of only three houses in what city slickers might consider the middle of nowhere. He’ll likely buy sand for sandbagging soon — unlike other communities, his township doesn’t provide sand for nothing — and hope some volunteers show up to help him out.
He admits he’s not getting any younger — he’s in his ’70s — and that thinking about what the river might do disrupts an otherwise fine winter.
He and his wife raised their kids here and it’s clear there are lots of memories in the house. But he quickly acknowledges he’d take any buyout offer that might someday come from some government somewhere. With just a hint that he might be steeling himself for the eventual decision, he says leaving the river wouldn’t be a big deal for him.
But he adds his wife has an entirely different view, not because she’s more sentimental, but “because it’s a perfectly fine house,” he says.