• Dale Bowman

Flood & 20 years: Ramble with the Lady

The water roiled so fast and thick, so thick and muddy, that the Kankakee dam was obscured, indicated only by the roiling and rolling.

Twenty years of marriage. There's your symbol.


A couple guys had rods hanging out over for catfish and walleye, but I noticed they did not have enough weight on to effectively fish in these conditions and they were casting out into the current. If they caught something, it would have been a stunner. To fish with any hope in those conditions, far better to fish tight to shore in calmer eddies with enough weight to hold.

I digress.

But I do notice things like when I am out and about, things like not fishing the right way for conditions. But I think the group was mostly there to share in the awe of the power of a flood. That I understood.

My wife and I were married 20 years ago yesterday.

Our hopes had been we would be able to get away and revisit our honeymoon spot on Michigan's Upper Peninsula to celebrate. On honeymoon, we stayed at a bed and breakfast near the shore of Lake Michigan, then spent our days exploring the UP all the way to Lake Superior.

The day we visited the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Paradise, Mich., the air was so cold, I mean in the low 40s, that we had to buy sweatshirts from the gift shop. My wife still has her blue sweatshirt from that day.

But money and work schedules made that getaway impossible this summer.

So last evening, we told the kids were going out for some time and we drove around Will, Kankakee and Iroquois counties and talked about 20 years. We first stopped for ice cream and finished that up while watching the raw power of the flooded Kankakee.

Driving has always been our together time, our talking time.

It goes back to when we were first married and lived in Rogers Park. Some days we would drive up Sheridan Road or other roads near Lake Michigan all the way across the Wisconsin line, then back.

Last night we made it west to where there started to be signs of the tornado cleanup around Coal City, then we veered slightly. My wife works as a librarian and she wanted to see Fossil Ridge Library, the aptly named one in Braidwood. It is on a back street, but I managed to find it and show her how big it is for a small town.

A few times I used Fossil Ridge to file stories after doing something at Braidwood Lake or Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area.

As we drove into the sunning sun, what peeked through the clouds, my wife, ``I did not think we would make it this long.''

I could have been offended, but there is a reality there, a reality anybody who has been married long enough understands.

Probably what saved us are some of the tough patches in life, especially the two times it appeared our second son would die.

But he lives on and I think those experiences pulled us together, or rather made us pull together.

Night came down and we finally wandered out to a big road, after I nearly whacked a doe standing along a bridge over what I think was the Mazon River.

So this morning, rambling off with Lady, our family's mutt, I was much distracted and did not pull out of my head until we crossed the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond.

What pulled me back to this world, or rather into the natural world I try to focus on in rambles was a squirrel, a black one with an oddly colored tail. It looked like a muskie bait, a bucktail.


Geese were all clustered on the south old clay pit, a bit of an oddity. But it made a nice scenic shot. or at least I thought so.

A green heron squawked off from the south end of the south pit.

There are not nearly as many mulberries or raspberries this summer as other recent ones.

The water puddles and the ditch east of the pits slowly begin to recede.

Back on the edge of town, only a few mourning doves flew off from the grit area by the grain elevators (Hello, Charles Demuth.)


But I did notice a new line of cars on the side rail by the elevators. One of them caught my eye.

I could not read the graffiti, other than I think the last word was high.

In the yard by the alley behind the bus barn, a quarter-grown baby rabbit hid quite successfully in the thick white clover and grass. But when I tried to get a photo, Lady finally spotted it and flushed it with a lunge.

Back home, a pair of doves whistle-fluttered off from the front porch.

Year 21 begins. Time to make my wife's green tea and eggs.

5 views0 comments