published Thursday, May 12th, 2011

‘Ol’ Man River ...’

“Dere’s an ol’ man called de Mississippi ...

“Dat ol’ man river ... He jes keeps rollin’ along ...

“He don’t plant taters, He don’t plant cotton. An’ dem dat plants ’em is soon forgotten.

“But ol’ man river, He jes keeps rollin’ along.”

Indeed he does. The Mississippi has crested and rolled past Memphis, but farther downstream, people in the Delta were preparing with sandbags as the rising water approached record levels.

Vicksburg, Miss., and other towns in Louisiana and Mississippi were waiting and watching.

People and wildlife alike were seeking higher land, which seemed in short supply in the area near the Mississippi.

Cotton? Under water. Wheat and soybean crops? Under water. The first stories of many farmhouses — and city houses, too — were swamped.

Levees helped in many areas. But some were not expected to be high enough. It was predicted that the water at Vicksburg would be deeper than it was in the big flood of 1927.

It will finally peak and go on downstream, into the Gulf of Mexico. It always has. But what then?

When the many people now in shelters are able to venture out, what will they see?

Soggy land. Muddy fields. Ruined houses. Lost crops. Damage from which some folks sadly may never recover.

“But ol’ man river,/ He jes’ keeps rollin’ along.”

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