Every time I go to my hometown there is one less building. For those of you that don't know about Gays Mills, it is my hometown and it is located on the Kickapoo River. The Kickapoo River was the reason the town was founded. The brothers Gay built a mill on the river in 1847 to grind grain. The mill was deserted many years ago. The reason Gays Mills exists these days is the apple orchards overlooking the town. Gays Mills has the title of "Apple Capitol" of Wisconsin. The location originally was optimum. Through the years it was discovered that the location was less than optimum. Every few years the flooding in the area displaced many. My mother was in the first wave of people relocated from the flood plain in 1979. My mother's home was 33 steps from the Kickapoo River The federal government paid for my mother's old house and supplied her funds to rebuild out on the north east side of town out of the flood plain. The floods of 2007 and 2008 were the final straws. The federal government supplied blocks of grant money to buy out and destroy many of the residences and businesses in the flood plain. In 2011 the rebuilding of the "New" Gays Mills was begun. Many die hards remain in the flood plain. My mother in law is one of them. Every time I go to my hometown more businesses are gone. Many of them are taking the buy out and choosing not to rebuild. The places my childhood memories were made are disappearing before my eyes. Some call it progress and others are sad like my wife Barb. Barb stopped to shed a couple tears the last time we walked the hollow and empty streets of Gays Mills.