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Water, water everywhere the night of Sept. 27

Thankful for sump pump, sewer shutoff and lots of sanitizer

Earlene Campbell
Earlene Campbell

If you didn’t have water in your basement the night of Sept. 27, raise your hand. If you live on Thompson Street in Princeton and raised your hand, you’re the exception.

Last year, I reached a point where sitting clad in my nightgown on the basement floor dipping water from the sump pump during a midnight thunderstorm was more than I could take.

We stayed home from Florida last winter to have the necessary work done to prevent flooding from underground water. After 35 years, we thought we had it under control.

I got a text from sister-in-law Betty, “Do you have water in your basement?”

Unconcerned, I said, “We shouldn’t.”

However, her text prompted a look. Sure enough, water covered a good part of the floor and was bubbling up through the drain like there was nowhere else to go in this whole wide world.

But we had no control over the city sewer coming up through the drain. We did stop the water from coming in by using our inline sewer shutoff, but later, while it wasn’t coming in any more, it wasn’t going down either.

We brought out the push-broom and started pushing. Keeping that new sump pump busy, we managed to clear out most of the water.

I was up the next morning at 5:30, set to go to the Bushnell, Ill. Library for a “Buck ’n’ Me” book signing. This had been set up and advertised in their area, so I needed to be there.

The Bushnell area is an important part of Buck’s and my story, and I was excited for Jerry and me to go.

“I can’t go,” Jerry said. He had to babysit the basement. Well now, that didn’t make me any too happy.

Flushing was not allowed at our house.

“Betty, can I come over and use your bathroom?” I asked.

I showed up at Betty’s home in my “Queen Bee” nighty and house-slippers. I was in a hurry and desperate. I asked her if she could go to Bushnell with me and, bless her heart, she was ready in half an hour, and we took off.

What a fun time I had there. The doors had barely opened when a woman walked in and said she was looking for me. “I don’t expect you to remember me, but my name is Violet and we went to the Lombard Junior High in Galesburg together.”

I wasn’t embarrassed to say, “Sorry, I don’t remember you at all.”

She had seen the notice in the paper and our names, Earl and Earlene, drew her attention.

She soon realized she wasn’t the only one I didn’t remember as she rattled off names of students and teachers I had no recollection of. The only person I remember is the girl I walked to school with. Amazingly, she produced a current picture of that woman. Oh my – how she has changed! (Of course, I haven’t!)

It was a great day for me — for Jerry, not so much.

It was 24 hours before the balance of the water that was left drained back out. It was determined our investment, thankfully, had done its job.

Since we caught it in time, no damage was done, and the city was good to take care of what they could in the aftermath.

We sanitized the floor so that I could get back to “pour painting” on canvasses in the basement. I have shared this new fun adventure with a few friends.

Upon asking if they would like to try it, I often get the answer, “I can’t paint.”

My reply is, “You don’t have to!”

The first thing to do is Google “Pour Painting.” I love experimenting with the different techniques, but some of the most interesting paintings have been the result of layering the different colors into one cup and simply letting it run over a canvass. Each person sees something different in the final creation.

Isn’t that a bit like life? We put it all in one pot and let it run over the canvass of our life, never knowing how colorful it will be or how it will come out.

And each person touched along the way, sees something different in it.

Keep painting your life’s canvass with beautiful colors and techniques, and don’t forget to F-R-O-G.

Note to readers: Earlene Campbell lives by the FROG motto — Fully Rely On God. She lives in Princeton and can be reached at

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