And on Sunday, believers
sang and swept
BY CLIFF RADEL
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Faith, hope and charity saved Sunday. The day -- and Falmouth's spiritual rebirth -- began with an ecumenical church service. Conducted by the Rev. Kenneth Gates, the service was held at his hilltop Wesleyan Church, high above the flood-ravaged city.
The Rev. Mr. Gates preached that Falmouth looked to be a strange land. No one had ever seen it this way. Houses crumpled. Streets empty, save for a blanket of mud.
Yet, he insisted, someday it would look like home again. Its people would proudly say, ''I sing because I'm happy.''
With that, he sang, to a tearful congregation, ''His Eye Is On The Sparrow.''
In the city below, residents eyed the coming rain. From Falmouth to Cincinnati, the flood-weary area would get another half-inch to an inch of rain before day's end. But the cleanup would go on.
And the floodwaters would continue to fall.
By 7 p.m. Sunday, the Ohio River had fallen from Wednesday's high of 64.7 feet at Cincinnati to 55.5 feet. Forecasters predicted the river would reach its 52-foot flood stage and be back in its banks by 7 a.m. Wednesday.
In Falmouth, houses were pushed together by floodwaters that carried the forces of hurricane winds.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
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Volunteers and donations for the cleanup effort continued to pour in. Six thousand people offered their services to the American Red Cross. The Salvation Army expected to ship 50,000 tons of donated supplies to relief sites set up in the flood's aftermath.
Shannon Money, a Ford Motor Co. engineer, was working in Sharonville when the flood hit. Her workweek was over Friday. She could have gone home to Detroit. Instead, she spent the weekend boxing canned goods at the Salvation Army's Northside warehouse.
Why? She's worked so long in Cincinnati it feels like home. And, when there's trouble at home, you help.
In Aurora, Laura Ankenman gave her Sunday school students a lesson in real-life fellowship.
Handing them brooms and squeegees, she put them to work sweeping river water from businesses left muddy from the receding Ohio.
''My kids came up with this idea,'' said the teacher from the First Baptist Church of Aurora.
''This provided a better lesson than anything I could have taught them.''
Back in Falmouth, signs of hope were everywhere. Amid the tears, there was constant talk of rebuilding. Whether it's on the original site or higher ground, Falmouth will return.
That sentiment was expressed on a message board stuck by the side of Falmouth's main drag. Standing in front of the flood-battered Rite Aid drugstore on U.S. 27, the sign read: ''Please pardon our appearance while we remodel.''
Beverly Nusekabel of Aurora, Ind., nearly falls asleep on her feet while cleaning mud and water from her basement.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
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Day 10, Monday, March 10, 1997