A memory of a debacle floods back
Forty years ago rain pelted the Black Hills of South Dakota on the night of June 9, 1972. Nearly fifteen inches fell in six hours, causing Rapid Creek and other creeks to overflow. When Canyon Lake Dam failed, a lethal torrent of water coursed into Rapid City.
I know this anniversary is unlikely to dominate the front page of our daily paper here in western Colorado, but for me it is important to reflect on since I grew up in the Black Hills.
The flood could be considered a debacle in two ways. In a geological sense, it was “a breaking or bursting forth; a violent rush or flood of waters which breaks down opposing barriers, and hurls forward and disperses blocks of stone and other debris.” (Definition courtesy of http://www.mondofacto.com/facts/dictionary)
In the sense of “a sudden disastrous collapse or defeat” (TheFreeDictionary), the flood was a debacle, too. It claimed more than 200 lives and cost the community about $160 million in damages, according to History.com.
Judy, a staunch childhood friend whom I visit nearly every summer, escaped the floodwaters with the help of her husband. He pulled her out of a window as water began filling up their basement apartment. This summer I’ll visit her with renewed gratitude that she was, and still is, in my life.
Cars jumbled together by the flood
Photo and caption courtesy of Wikipedia