Flooding brings out our best selves

Volunteers fill sandbags along the Missouri River in St Joseph, Mo. Orlin Wagner | MPR News

From the look of things, there’ll be plenty of grief accompanying the flooding around Minnesota; that’s the nature of floods of course. Things go underwater, our commutes require detours and more time, possessions are lost, the mold grows in the basement and who’s got time for any of this, anyway?

Floods are also one of the last things that bring out the best in us and requires us to put aside the media-fueled political battles for a common good.

A road is underwater in Henderson, Minn., for example.

Three roads leading into town are closed, which makes it hard for a place like Henderson Roadhaus, a popular spot for motorcyclists, especially on weekends.

The road closings hurt business; so the locals, who know the back roads, showed up to take up the slack, the Mankato Free Press reports.

Highway 93 is blocked by a large metal flood wall. Volunteers built it.

“When you’re available you come help. It’s kind of a stinky job when you take it down because it’s really muddy and wet,” Mary Menne tells the paper. “But everyone helps out; there were over 35 people.”

The river crested on Sunday; the worst may be over.

In Dell Rapids, S.D. — a little west of Luverne, Minn. — the Big Sioux River has come calling.

People are moving things to higher ground and, in some cases, moving out. But every time someone needed help, someone was there to help.

“We’ve really seen how well this community comes together,” Shannon Cortes, who’s only lived there for a year, tells the Argus Leader.

The river will crest Monday.

In Waite Park, where diners had to be rescued from Anton’s restaurant because of a flash flood on Saturday night, misery is on the menu.

But there’s optimism on the side.

“That’s the great thing about family business. We stick together,” Patty Gaetz, one of the owners, tells the St. Cloud Times. “It’s a little devastating this morning, but we’ll be OK.”

In Moorhead, officials are looking for volunteers to help sandbag against the Red River. History says they’ll have no trouble finding them. Quite often school kids get out to help.

In Hudson, Wis., Mark Erickson’s home is one of the few threatened on Front Street. He needed help. A call was put out and Erickson figured about 10 or so people would show up to sandbag. Instead, nearly 100 arrived on Saturday morning, the Hudson Star Observer says.

By this time next week, perhaps, the worst will be over. The cool nights and warm days have been perfect for dispatching the remaining snow cover. With a little luck it’ll continue.

In the meantime, look beyond the drama and you’ll find a truism: we’re better than the way we often look on the 24/7 cable TV channels.

Related: On The Road: A Look At Redwood County Flooding & Snow Pack (Minnesota Prairie Roots)

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