I chose an article, In a Town Shaped by Water, the River Is Winning, to share in the International City/County Management SmartBrief yesterday that had all the pieces I love in an piece of writing of its nature.
The article talked about how Ellicott City, Md., has had two 1000-year floods since 2016. It went into detail about the flooding in general, about the environmental factors around Ellicott City that have contributed to a topography that makes flash flooding worse. There were facts and figures (explained in a relatively straightforward way).
Juxtaposed against that (and my favorite part) were the stories of the people. The business owners who rebuilt after the 2016 floods, amid lofty hopes that life in their quaint community would return essentially as it had been before. The teenagers who grew up in the area. The visitors who kept Ellicott City financially sound. The fact that the whole reason the city was situated where it is had to do with its proximity to the water (in the 1700s).
Much of the “people” part of the story focused on Eddie Hermond, a veteran and one of those people who draws other people into their circle and connects people who otherwise wouldn’t have grown to know and care about each other.
Eddie died after the 2018 Memorial Day flood, swept away by the floodwaters as he was trying to help a woman (and her cat) escape danger.
***end of five minutes***
For Memorial Day 2019, Eddie’s friends planned together where they spent last Memorial Day — the day they lost him. Here’s what the writer says about chatting with Eddie’s friends:
As we talk, a server pours a shot of Jameson’s whiskey and sets it high up on a shelf behind the counter. Sara tells me that it’s a shot for Eddie—that was his favorite drink. The whiskey will sit up there behind the bar until it evaporates, and then they’ll fill it back up again.
I can’t get that imagery out of my head — of the shot of whiskey, sitting silently on a shelf, evaporating so gradually you can’t see it go until it’s all gone. The cultures of the places we love the most … and that edify us the most … be they offices, homes, churches or something else … have some type of watchful spirit in the Eddie mold. Still remembered, still a part of the place that transcends the tangible.
Remembering the “Eddie” figures in our collective lives matters. Here’s to you, Eddie.
Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.” (But I can’t resist spell checking, as you can imagine.)