Confession No. 144 — The flood water is just the beginning

Our days and nights have become a blur. We overdrew our energy supply a couple days ago and are operating on adrenaline fumes and combustive emotion.

I’m so exhausted that I had to double-check with my wife about today’s day and date. Such, as I’m learning, is just one of the many effects of the country’s worst ever flood.

I know that I’m preaching to a mass choir of people who have been where we are. Katrina. Ike. Sandy. Even Allison, which is the only non-hurricane (to my knowledge) to ever have its name retired.

There are also the life-changing events that rarely manage to garner attention beyond the local headlines — catastrophic house fires, deadly car crashes and massive plant layoffs. I covered countless numbers of those stories during my 15 years as a print and broadcast journalist. And, despite that I had an excellent track record of no corrections required, I realize now that my stories about those victims barely scratched the surface.

As I break to write this, hundreds of thousands of people within a few miles of us are piling the entire contents of their homes at the curb. They are drained, dirty and downright numb.

Mario and me after a(nother) exhausting day.

Mario and me after a(nother) exhausting day.

Tomorrow, they might wake up in the dank confines of their ruined homes, or from a hotel bed if they are lucky. They could be eating bologna sandwiches handed over by volunteers, or wearing the very clothing that they donated to someone else just months ago.

Here, right now, there are country club members with yachts in dock who are riding in the flat-bottom boats of their country folk counterparts. There are minimum wage store employees who have left their own damage so that everyone else can escape from the doldrums and buy a cold soda. And then, there are non-denominational people attending a Catholic mass of thanksgiving.

Aside from drinking a beer with a monsignor at Durty Nelly’s Pub, and selling some antique rosary beads on eBay, my closest connection with the Catholic church has been practicing Little League baseball on their fields. Yet, Catherine and I began our day Friday trying to follow along at a gathering of multiple Catholic congregations who were praying for people like us.

We attended at the invitation Mario and Linda, our neighbors, guardian angels and new best friends. Though we never knelt, bowed at the alter or made the sign of the cross, it was indeed a spiritually rewarding respite.

Just as we didn’t know what yesterday was to bring, we have little idea about tomorrow. Or the next day. And despite what you see and read on name-brand publications and TV channels, those storytellers know even less about what’s in store.

We appreciate the many of you who have reached out to us with your love. The breadth of generosity has been so extensive, we could not repay it in a hundred years. Instead, we will take everything from this experience that we can, and use it to help others in the future.

Just as people have done for us.


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  1. What a great post! It has hope and hutzpah. I am looking forward to your posts featuring the new Butch and Sundance (you and Mario). It will be quite an adventure as you bring your lives back to “normal”.

    • adamjholland says:

      Well, this is ‘Harvey’ hutzpah and believe me, he had it! 🙂 I’m thinking Mario might just be the guy who settles me down. Notice in the photo that I am without my normal goofy smile? (Granted, I was extremely tired.)

  2. Adam, my heart goes out to you guys. I know there is nothing I can do here in ireland except offer my support and to let you know let you know I am thinking of you as you endure this awful ordeal. If you think of anything that I can do, please ask.
    Best as ever,

  3. Heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. I’m glad you and Catherine were to find some… courage perhaps? at the service. It can be very grounding.
    So can fabulous new friends made under the worst of share tragic circumstances.
    Proud of your perseverance. And for your neighbors hearts.
    I know that this is a dumb question at this time but I’m going to ask it anyway.
    Our shared clubhouse of late, the Jimmy Rockford, what is it’s current status?

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Jill. The Jimmy Rockford has a giant canvas tarp over it (thank you, Mario) and has power. It’s about as uneven as a mountain highway, thanks to the little tornado. Waiting on an adjuster to come talk about repairs.

  4. Oh Adam. What you and your family have been through. That you have been able to find such good around you is heartwarming. As I watched your trials on facebook, I could only wish there was a way to help. But, you have found more than help and that is amazing. Friends and a community stepping up to help. I love reading about all the good you are seeing, and look forward to reading more.

  5. What about everyone’s jobs and income? Is everyone loosing wages during all of this? How long will it be until businesses open back up? And of course I worry about all the pets. Besides the horrific times that you’ve gone through with the water and the damage and from the bits and pieces I see on National News, it’s just mind boggling to think of all of the many ways this effects everyone.

    • adamjholland says:

      In fact, Lea Ann, a friend of mine (who happens to take care of my hair) has been out of work for more than a week. Her salon flooded. Our daughter has two jobs — both hourly — and she too has lost wages. I’m sure there are thousands of others. It’s heartbreaking.

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