A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted a link to the video, "Five Feet High and Rising". This was obviously in response to all the rain the Southeast has received lately. I have seen the video before, but in light of recent circumstances, the words resonated with me more today than ever before. I decided to do some research on the song and I discovered the rains we are having now pale in comparison to the rains that inspired Johnny to write this song.

Johnny Cash wrote "Five Feet High and Rising" in the late 1950's about an experience he had as a child living in Dyess, Arkansas. It was 1937; the mighty Mississippi River had overrun its banks, broken through the levee, and was flooding the cotton lands of Northeast Arkansas. Johnny and his family watched as the flood waters approached their house. Johnny's Dad made the statement that it would be time to leave when the waters reached five feet high. The waters did reach the five foot mark and the family had to evacuate to Pine Bluff for safety. Twenty years later Johnny would write about this experience, like he usually did, through song. "Five Feet High and Rising" was released in September of 1959 on the "Songs of our Soil" album under the Columbia label. It went on to reach #14 on the country singles and #76 on the pop singles hits of 1959. Johnny Cash even sang the song on Sesame Street accompanied by Biff who stacked blocks in order to indicate how high the water was.

The cotton fields of Arkansas went on to have the best crops ever the following year due to the rich dirt that the floods washed across the area. This is something that Johnny referenced in a show he did in Asbury Park stating, "My mama always taught us that good things come from adversity if we put our faith in the Lord." No doubt this is still a lesson we can all learn from Johnny Cash today. Thanks to the "Man in Black" for teaching and telling stories through song.
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