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Interesting Detritus from the Flood of 2011

September’s historic flood waters brought interesting gifts from upstream, nonchalantly and gently leaving them stranded on my lawn and driveway.

How did the three-gallon gas can end up in the flower bed, upright, as though I had left it there myself while mowing the lawn?

Whose pack of 1992 Topps baseball cards had been burnt around the corners before mysteriously arriving? And why were they burnt? A frustrated mother or angry girlfriend?

The cigarette pack was the most incongruous of all, at least in our neighborhood. Lying there in its minty mentholy promise, it looked like a social land mine, or lawn cancer. My tired hands found it first of all the new things, and trashed it first. Mind you, I’m an occasional pipe smoker and hardly a tobacco Prohibitionist. But let’s face it, cigarettes are a dirty habit. The soggy pack reminded of that.

Various childrens’ things, like a slipper, a sneaker, some small plastic toys, all were straight forward examples of the shared family sameness from Scranton to Harrisburg. Those were easy to trash. Heck, I’m throwing away my own kids’ leftover artifacts every week, anyhow, so the newcomers were nothing new and in good company.

Someone is missing an important part of their split rail fence. Not to waste, it’s now part of my eight-cord wood pile and will heat my home for an hour on some upcoming winter day. Undoubtedly the least showy or remarkable, it is probably the most useful of all the flotsam. at least after I chainsawed it into 18-inch lengths.

Some buildings in my neighborhood had finning, flopping, fish in their basements. Now you know that if the fence rail felt out if place lying in my lawn, then those fish certainly felt like a fish out of water, so to say. They probably survived and are back in their river now, albeit a bit more migratory than their kind is accustomed to. Just this year, fellas, ok?

While the five feet of water in the basement upended our plans and schedules for the next six weeks, at least, we enjoyed the unusual fruits dropped off by Mother Nature on her way down to the Chesapeake Bay that September weekend.

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