Editor’s note: Rep. John Mayo of Clarksdale is a member of the Mississippi legislature. His district includes several counties in the north Delta. Following is his account of meeting one farm wife who demonstrates the resiliency of many in this region. Photos of flooding can be found at Mayo's website.
One of the most sinking feelings, I suppose, for a politician is when you realize you cannot make the issue go away, and, therefore, you are not only helpless… you are useless to the constituent facing the problem.
She stood at the door as we made the introductions. “Hi ma’am. I’m John Mayo from Clarksdale. I passed your home earlier today and saw you building a levee around your home. How are you?”
“Well, we’re doing okay,” not only smiling, but upbeat. “I just wished they gave us 10 more days. We have our best wheat crop in years and before we can do anything with it, we’ll lose 2,600 acres.”
Surprisingly she did not whimper, hesitate, or tear. She and her family were facing a problem and dealing with it the best they could. Her boys were finishing up packing. Almost everything inside was in a trailer rig outside.
I talked to her oldest son who was covered with dust and dirt. I am not sure, but he may have been driving one of the four dirt scrapers the family had employed to ring their home with a pretty good size levee. They had ringed all their property including a 4- to 5-acre pond in front of the home, but had to tear that down…wrong soil.
She is a nurse radiologist and her family was moving into a farmhouse the doctor she worked for owned in Yazoo County in the area hit last year by the tornado.
Mississippi hasn’t caught a break for five years. Hurricane, flood, tornadoes, and as I see it there is one thing left and I will not mention it because we don’t need to feel it with the water this high.
I left my name and number and told her to call me if she needed help later.
Her home was in the south Delta, the next area that will feel the brunt of the flood of 2011. Miles around her home in south Humphries County is dry as a bone. But, backwater from the Mississippi, Yazoo, and Sunflower rivers are rising and will crest in this area sometime next week.
If the water rises as expected and if her levee is breached, she could have 2 feet of water in her home, miles from the Mississippi.