More thoughts after spending Monday working on the West Quincy levee ….
— I can’t stand up right now.
— Gary Birch joined our crew mid-morning. He wore tennis shoes. He will never wear them again. Like everybody else, he busted his you-know-what and never complained.
— These folks in West Quincy eat like kings. We had hot pork sandwiches trucked out to us at 11:30 a.m. They’ve had ribs, pasta, you name it. The support staff is tremendous.
— I can’t get over how muddy it is at the base of the levee on the land side.
— Several times I crept to the top of the levee to peer over, and there the river was, zipping right by, the water up to the edge of the plastic tarp. It’s about six to eight feet below the top of the levee in most places. A row of trees blocks the main river view. At one point, a big section of dock came floating down the channel right by us.
— Bo Knapheide is a leader. Period.
— The farmers on the land side of the levee are experiencing flood damage. If the levy holds, will they get federal assistance?
— We formed chains and flung sandbags all day. Three scoops is suggested to fill the bags, a little over halfway. Many bags were full and water-logged. We called the heavier bags "Bo Bags," because Bo likes filling them to the top.
— A huge difference between 1993 and this year is the heat and humidity. The sun puts a beating on the levee workers. but in 1993 it was hotter and far more humid. We’ve been fortunate with the weather … so far.
— How long will crews be out on the levee? Until the water subsides. The latest National Weather Service prediction is that the Quincy water level will still be 25 feet at this time next week. That’s too much water putting too much pressure on the levee. We are far from out of the woods yet.
— Bo pointed out the 1993 levee break area. The flood 15 years ago gets talked about, but very little is said about Jimmy Scott, the man convicted twice of breaking the levee and intentionally causing a disaster. It’s almost like bad karma if you mention his name.
— Fighting the flood is all about attitude. It’s about mud and sweat and back-breaking effort. The leaders of this fight are bone-tired but never complain and stay positive.
— You know how much is at stake. If we lose the Bayview Bridge …
— I wore green duck boots and shorts. It took 20 minutes of shower scrubbing to get all the mud off my knees. My Quincy University baseball T-shirt is trashed. I’m throwing my socks away.
— No horse flies on the north side of the levee Monday, thank goodness.
— There’s going to be a lot of stuff to clean up when this is over.