It rained all day, never a lashing, harsh rain, but a steady rain that filled every bucket and tub and sinkhole. The yard looked like a garden growing necks and blossoms of splash. The road looked like a creek, and the creek was running wild and red and wide as a river. Floodwater appears angry because it's dirty and goes where you don't expect to see water. All the ice on the mountain had melted far up as I could see. "The barn is leaking," Hank said when he come in from milking.
"No wonder," I said.
And when I started to make supper, lighting a fire in the stove and grinding up some of the chestnuts by gathered by Hank and Carolyn to make chestnut bread, I heard a plop in the corner of the kitchen. I took the lamp and looked and seen a puddle on the floor. I raised the lamp and seen a nipple of water stretching from a wet spot on the ceiling. Wasn't nothing to do but put a dishpan under the drip and mop up the mess on the floor. Before I got the chestnut bread mixed and in the oven, I heard another drip and got a bucket and put under that. And while I was getting the bread and grits and applesauce and sidemeat on the table, I seen the wet streaks coming down the wall behind the stove. It was leaking around the flue. It looked like the whole house was going to melt.
"Not supposed to come a flood on Christmas," Hank said when we set down to eat. "Nobody ever heard of a flood on Christmas."
"That's because we've always lived on mountaintops before," I said. And even as I said it I thought how narrow the Gap Creek valley was and how steep the ridges on both sides. We was below all the water that was falling on the mountains. All the rain on the mountains had to gather down into the slender valley.