Thursday, March 11, 2004

Happy birthday to me. I can see grass in the flatlands! As soon as it dries out a bit we'll be out there cleaning up the debris. Although in my heart and mind my age is 39, I think I'm 68 years old today. The only time I even think about it is when somebody asks and half the time I have to think before responding. Why do I tell this big 'secret?' I've lived in the same house for 45 of those years. Five of our six daughters were toddlers; the sixth one was born two years later. During those 45 years half of our one acre lot has flooded regularly every year in the springtime. It was a novelty. We took photos of our 'riverfront' property. I even created an oil painting of the kids down by the 'river' looking at the water up close and personal.

During the first few years we kept a vegetable garden in the flood plain. Then one year we had a September flood and our garden was destroyed. After that we didn't waste our time with a garden. Management of the dams upstream had become less reliable. During our 'garden' experience we used to burn weeds around the ditches and whereever we had no garden. Learned that from a neighbor. Everybody did it. Many people still do. Dioxins are a natural by-product of fire. Did you know that?

After that we planted grass. We planted asparagus along the ditchline dividing our property from the farmland surrounding us. We planted trees along the open side of our property line... they died and we planted more trees.

In September 1986 we had 60 inches of water in our house. We cleaned it up and life goes on. I like the location of our home. I like to ride the lawnmower... even down in the 'flats' also known as the flood plain.

My husband and I are both healthy... but I'm sick and tired of hearing people blame Dow Chemical for their ailments. Somebody heard the word 'dioxin' and found a scapegoat. I can understand that. When you're sick you want to know how to make it better. Well folks, it isn't that bad old 'd' word! I'm hoping you will educate yourselves about it. I know lots of people who have lived here longer than us. They're healthy too.

I plan to learn more about dioxin. More important... I plan to learn more about the people who have lived around here even longer than me... the folks whose cattle used to go down to the river for drinks and ate the grass and hay on the flood plain. These people also drank milk from those cows. They made butter from the cream. Can you imagine? Most of these people lived long healthy lives.

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