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story.lead_photo.caption Sean Clancy, Paper Trails columnist

3 FEET HIGH AND RISING: Floods have soaked parts of the Midwest of late, but some Arkansans are also dealing with high water.

Rex Pippenger and his wife, Pam, live just north of Helena-West Helena on Big Spring Road, and while the city is protected from the Mississippi River by a levee, the Pippengers' rural property is not.

Pippenger has lived on that land for all but two of his 65 years. Last week, water from the river had crept up to "about 2 feet deep under my house," which was built about 8 feet off the ground, he says.

His truck and camper are parked on dry land at a buddy's place about a mile south (full disclosure: that buddy is Paper Trails' kin), so a trip into town now means a boat ride to his truck.

"It's not much fun," Pippenger says. "We've got to go buy groceries, but I've been putting it off. I keep hoping the river will get off the road."

He may be in luck. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the river, which has a flood stage of 44 feet at Helena-West Helena and was at just over 47 feet Friday, will start dropping Monday -- for a while at least.

Of course, that's nowhere near the levels seen in May 2011, when the river swelled to over 56½ feet and the Pippengers were forced to flee when the water got "about waist deep in the second floor of our house."

Has he ever thought about leaving for good?

"I love it here," he says, "but I worry about what would happen to Pam when I'm no longer here."

SIGN O' THE TIMES: Something never sat quite right with Susan Young as she would drive past the Kingfish Dive Bar at 262 N. School St. in Fayetteville.

On the building's south wall was a Mad Men era-inspired mural of a smiling dude saying to the viewer: "Of course I love you. Now get me a beer."

Young, the outreach coordinator at Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale, was a tad irked.

"The first time I saw it, it just mildly irritated me," she says.

On a recent drive past she noticed that the sign now reads: "Of course I love you. Let's have a beer."

Her reaction?

"Oh, my goodness. I was delighted," she says.

Jill Rohrbach and her husband, Mike, are part-owners of the Kingfish. The sign, a tongue-in-cheek nod to midcentury advertising, has been there since the bar opened nine years ago, she says.

Though Rohrbach says no one ever mentioned it to them directly, they'd heard rumblings that the "get me a beer" bit crossed the line with some who saw it as sexist. A painter was summoned to make the change.

"What might have been funny once upon a time certainly isn't today," Rohrbach says. "We didn't want it to be an issue. We wanted to be proactive and make sure that people knew that isn't something we believe."


Metro on 03/24/2019

Print Headline: PAPER TRAILS: Water's up; pair shifts to the boat


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