Stampede 101 is over. The million dollar rodeo and Rangeland Chuck Wagon races declared their champions yesterday and it was somehow fitting that Jason Glass from High River won the $100,000.00 prize in the Rangeland Derby. While the majority of people attended the fairgrounds, or watched the event on T.V., countless others were in High River helping people clean out their homes after the flood. There is no celebrating yet in that devastated community.
We decided to drive around the city this weekend to survey the flood damaged areas. Having lived in Redwood Meadows we were of course curious to see the community and that of Bragg Creek where I taught preschool for years. Shock is the only word to describe the aftermath of the flood. The Elbow River cut a whole new path for itself through both communities. My husband drove me around Calgary to point out some of the worst hit areas there. Again, shocking to see the damage, but so encouraging to see how the City has, in a relatively short amount of time, made repairs and for all intents and purposes it’s “business as usual”.
Perhaps the thing I saw yesterday that impacted me the most was not even flood-related. It was seeing an empty lot with a chain link fence around it on 84th St. N.W. in Bowness: a big sign reading: “Future multi-family development”. How hard to see the yard that my husband and I had once lovingly tended, and no trace of the tiny 700 square foot house we had lived in shortly after we were married; our very first home, torn down and an empty lot the only thing left there except a multitude of memories.
Why was I saddened to see it? We had not lived there in years. After we moved, our emotional attachment to the house and what once was should be over, right? I thought about how things never stay the same, time marches on, as it should, and we should either embrace or adapt to the changes created with the passing of time.
I couldn’t help compare what I was seeing there, to what so many, many people will face in the weeks and months ahead as they rebuild, replace and restore what was taken from them in the flood. Parked there on the street where our little house once stood, I asked my husband if he thought Calgary and Bragg Creek and even High River would ever get over the flood and be the “same” again. “Yes,” he said, “and no.” I had tears in my eyes as we drove away from that little empty lot in Bowness. Truer words were never spoken.