How High The Water

Black Creek today, looking down about a 30 ft. drop.In recent correspondence with Phillis, we’ve been comparing rainfall. Here in northern California we’ve been running just ahead of “normal” rainfall, at nearly 40 inches. Phillis, says her area is running short on rain. Doesn’t it seem there could be a balance somehow? Although I remember a few years back we were in a 4-5 year long drought. So I don’t complain about our rainfall now.

Thank you to Phillis for the use this of part of her story. This exerpt outlines family events and water in their area:

Exerpt from From School Room to Plum Thicket, © 1981 Phillis Gibbs Ballew  and ©2001. The following was written by Phillis Ballew as part of  historical documentation for the Shattuck, OK area and family:

School was usually in session for only four or five months during the winter.  By this time Kenneth (my Dad) was going to school and he remembers his dad (O.G., the schoolteacher) riding a saddle horse while he rode a donkey to the one-room Ivanhoe schoolhouse every day for two years.  Kenneth’s donkey would let two or three big 15 or 16 year-old boys on its back and run the length of the schoolyard where it would abruptly stop and dump them off over his head. Drinking water came from Ivanhoe Creek.

One year the river was unusually high and the boys (Dad and brothers) went down and found some young mules in the flood and pulled them out with ropes.  The mules had climbed up in the bushes and trees in order to stay out of the water.  Sometimes the cows would have to be hauled out by the boys on horseback.  The Gibbs lost one mare in a flood and once when Geoffrey and Dwight (brothers) were on the north side of Wolf Creek, they heard a roaring sound and ran back across just in time to beat the high wall of water as it was coming down.

Travelers many times would stop at the farm for a drink of water from the well.  Indians would pass with wagons and on ponies going east and south for the winter.  Choctaw and Cheyenne/Arapahoe probably would come out in the fall to hunt.  One could also see bands of gypsies going by with their colorful wagons. 

O. G.  wore a handlebar moustache and was slender all his life.  He also said the shortest “thanks” on record before meals. None of us quite remember the words, but it was SHORT!  It may have been “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food”.  Of course, that was okay by us, (the grandkids).   He rode horseback nearly every day and his favorite saddlehorse was the white horse “Cuter”.

About robinofrockridge

I write books for kids.
This entry was posted in farming, Horses, Ponies, riding, Writers. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How High The Water

  1. In the ’86 Russian River flood, I crossed the chest high water running down the street, supported by my husband and son. I can easily imagine the boys rushing to safety from their wall of water. The power of big water is amazing, scary and easily miscalculated! Stay dry, all.


  2. That must have been quite the scary experience, Arletta. I can only imagine that feeling of being chest high in flood waters from the Russian River running down the STREET. I don’t even want to think about how high the river was if it was that high in the street!
    Thanks for sharing that experience.


  3. Jeanne Jusaitis says:

    Water, water everywhere. . . now if we just had the facilities to store it all.
    Alas, our reservoirs and dams aren’t up to the full challenge. It seems like it’s either too much or too little. At least, when it’s too much, it’s good writing weather.


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