Stinking Creek News

Irma Gall

Lend-A-Hand Center

Is it a high tide or a flash flood or will it be a disastrous flood? Lend-a-Hand Center is located in the Stinking Creek flood plain so we are accustomed to rising water. We even have markers and names for the various danger water problems. There are times when the creek is full which means it is up to the level of the field. Then it becomes a “high tide” when it breaks over the low places along the bank which is usually an entry way into the creek.
When it comes sneaking into the bottom of the field, we know the Cumberland River is full and backs up Stinking Creek which then spills over the bank coming up the creek. We don’t mind that so much as it usually leaves a deposit of silt and leaves which enrich the soil. When the river goes down the water is pulled rather gently out.

However when the creek breaks across the bank from the upper side the current is much stronger and can be quite destructive. It builds up and the current gets stronger and stronger causing a “stalk chaser” or a “gully washer” which can cause considerable trouble as it literally chases everything in its path and doesn’t hesitate to form new paths or gullies. In the 50’s and 60’s before we had roads up out of the creeks we just knew we would probably encounter large rocks or washout in our paths which would have to be dealt with before we could navigate our vehicle through. That we call
a “flood” and when it washes our bridges out and road banks away it would be a “Big Flood”. I have encountered two huge floods in 1957 and again in 1977. I have heard about the flood in 1946 which started the movement toward flood walls around our towns. We have had many more floods than those which were destructive.
In the 70’s before we had mandatory garbage pickup a flood would decorate our barb fences and low hanging branches with disposable diapers—we called it the Stinking Creek Spanish moss. What fun that was to clean up. I guess that was a sign of progress but we did not find it a welcomed change.
A few weeks ago during that wintry spell, all of upper Stinking Creek lost our county water supply. Several groups like Red Cross and the county officers brought truck loads of plastic water bottles and gave them out free to anyone that did not have access to good drinking and cooking water. I remember being thankful for the water but our suppliers brought thousands of those little plastic bottles. I made the comment, “Just wait until the first high water and we will be blest by those plastic bottles in our pasture”.  A few days later we did have a big tide that turned into a good sized flood. However, I have yet to see many of those bottles in the field; maybe they washed farther down. Or better still, maybe people above us did not discard them where they would wash away. Then I could say “Praise the Lord!”