My heart remains planted in the hills of West Virginia even though I’ve lived in Ohio for two years now. The mountain state has, and always will be home to me. As a kid I fished in the creeks and paddle-boated across the lakes in West Virginia, and it breaks my heart to know that the water that brought me such joy as a youngster has, with recent flooding, brought so much pain to so many people.
I’ve always lived on a road overlooking the river. Ever since I can remember the view from my front porch has been of the grand Ohio flowing past. I was hooked by her beauty. Sometimes she’d freeze over and be barren of the usual barges heaped with coal, but most days boats buzzed by — sometimes a sternwheeler even paraded past. Since the time I could recognize the famous calliope music, I’d run barefoot through the yard to catch a glimpse of the churning paddlewheels.
I’ve been fortunate I’ve never had to scamper to safety like the countless West Virginians who braved the storm that raged a few weeks ago. I have had my own sort of trial by water, however — a supernatural type of flood that had me clawing for the nearest lifeboat I could find — a priest and a lightworker.
The flood in my home wasn’t from the rising river, wasn’t from a thunderstorm, it was from a demon who tried to drown me and my family.
For weeks in 2006, a demon sprayed water inside my house. It was as if a water hose was being controlled by an invisible hand that doused the walls and soaked the carpets. The water would bust hot light bulbs and set off the fire alarms. I removed all the pictures from my walls and covered them in plastic. The commode water would form a funnel and hit the ceiling.
The experience was surreal. Me and my family were aggravated and confused by the situation because everything we were witnessing didn’t make sense.
It was a trial by water. It was a turbulent storm, but I survived and just like my fellow West Virginians in the counties devastated from the rain that can sometimes be evil, I stayed afloat on a raft of faith.
Wherever I live, I’ll always be a West Virginia girl, always living where I found my faith — where the West Virginia soil meets the water’s edge.
Michele Zirkle Marcum is a native of Meigs County and an author. Her column appears each Tuesday.