Johnny Cash grew up in Dyess, Arkansas, that's 6 miles away from the Mississippi river. When he was five in the winter of '37, rain kept falling for weeks, dams got weaker and then broke. Everybody left except Johnny's father who kept measuring the rising tide. Even when his family was forced to leave, he stayed with the house and his livestock. For three weeks no one heard any news. Then finally water receded and the Cash family was reunited. The cow had drowned and the beehives were gone, but the house was still there, chickens and hogs and 6 inches of Mississippi mud and all. The clean up never ended but the song wrote itself.