When “True Love” Washed Down the Creek


I never got to see the potted flowers Scott bought to welcome me home. They were gone—along with our ladder, Coleman lantern, coolers, and other random items stored underneath our 5th wheel. It all happened the day before I came home.

I never saw our lovely blue outdoor rug twisted in a knot and filled with mud. They evacuated the low area where we had been parked and everyone helped to move the trailer, clean and move our battered belongings, and make sense out of chaos before I arrived home. I am grateful.

It is a bit disconcerting to leave your home for a month and return to find it in another location. When I am inside I still feel like it faces the direction in which it was parked three years ago—but that was two moves ago and three different directions. I am trying to get my bearings, but I still have a home.

I was in Washington State with my daughter when half of my life tried to wash down the creek. I flew into Seattle on Thursday, the 28th of June and she closed on a home the following Monday. We had four days to be ready to move. Two and a half weeks later, I was on a plane headed home. The house was completely set up—even with her going to a conference for five days. We have mad moving skills.

The day before I flew home, a storm came through Manitou Springs. One reported dubbed it as the one in 500-year storm. There was a tornado warning, inches of hail, and torrential rain. The RV Park, in the middle of a huge construction project which had diverted Fountain Creek and taken down barrier walls in order to widen roads and improve drainage (not in time), simply tried to wash away. Our 5th wheel (with Weber inside) along with both our cars and truck sat in the path of least resistance. One minute it was a trickle, the next a raging river. I saw a news post on Facebook and knew we were in trouble.

The park was full. The main tent row washed away. The executive pull-through section was swamped from the creek overflow but thankfully only the trout from the creek lost their lives. The Pavilion and Arcade became a river and an International Order of Foresters (IOF) group having an event in the pavilion called for a water rescue. In the midst of all this, they called Scott on the radio and said, “You need to get your cars moved—fast!” My CMAX is muddy and the water line is visible right under the door. Scott waded through knee-deep water which was freezing cold because of the hail. The second time, on the way to the truck, he tripped and went face first into the water. He went back a third time for the park’s golf cart. The water came within fractions of an inch of the underside of the trailer. Weber was inside. Sheet lightning was lighting up the sky. Hail was pounding the roof. It was deafening.

This is about when I called and got Scott on the phone. He was coughing, out of breath, and now I understand, soaking wet and shivering. He told me, “The cars and trailer are OK, but the flowers I bought you washed away.” Yes, true love washed down the creek, but the McConnaughey family is still standing—barely.

This summer has been a time of reflection about earthly belongings. Five years ago, our belongings filled a five-bedroom condo. This summer, while helping my daughter move, I sorted out what had been stored in her garage for three years. I decided it would have to go in the bedroom, be used in her house, or fit in the under-the-stairs closet next to my bedroom. That leaves me with what is in the trailer, a closet, a bedroom, and my office. I probably only need a third of it. I will just keep working at it. It is disappointing that the flood took some things we really did want to keep and left some things that would have helped us downsize!

In hindsight. Scott probably should have left the vehicles—but one is a truck that we have had for 20 years and it just keeps running. The other will be paid off this fall. It would have been a huge hit, but maybe not worthy of dying. No one really considers that very well in the midst of the storm, so I am grateful that Scott and the vehicles are all OK. I am also glad I wasn’t here. I would have been in the trailer with Weber and he would have tried to rescue me. So, maybe the symbolic representation of true love washed down the creek, but we are still standing and heading toward our 40th anniversary.

Thanks to all the staff who kept everyone safe and are helping to clear the mud and keep the business on track. Thanks to the IOF group who once rescued and the water receded, pitched in with squeegees to clear the water out of the Pavilion. Thanks to all who took care of Scott and helped him make sense of our chaos before I arrived. I have come to understand that when the chips are down, the RV community stands by their own.

Finally, anyone who knows our family, is well aware that there is never a dull moment. We really need one of those right now. Dull. Quiet. Peaceful. Restful. I am looking for you!

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