Harvey has for the most part passed, physically. His trail of destruction is still lingering though.
As I said in Part 1, this was my first
hurricane and I had no real idea what to expect before, during, or after the storm.
Yes, I’d seen past new stories, and heard accounts from friends…
You know when someone is telling you a story that is hilarious to them, but you don’t get the punchline, so they try to redeem the mood by saying, “You had to be there!”
To understand the true effect of a hurricane, you have to be there, and I had never been given the opportunity.
So, now that we’re in the ‘after’ stage, I’d like to share my 3 main observations while “being here”.
1) I’ve never seen so many people cry in a restaurant. Rich, poor, black, white, no matter who they were or what part of town they lived in, the storm took every possession some people spent decades working for. I felt a strange sense of sorrow not for them, but with them, realizing that being in this space at this moment was probably a desperate attempt to grab some sense of normalcy after days of complete and utter distress. Not a soul in this restaurant blames you for expressing your hurt.
2) Residential streets are flooded again. Block after block of sidewalks and curbs over-filled with piles of organized debris. Gigantic mounds of insulation, drywall, garbage, wood, furniture, etc. As if being forced to evacuate from your home wasn’t bad enough, imagine having to return to find everything ruined. Then imagine having to gut your home, and display your destroyed memories in piles on the side of the street. I promise, as a city, we will help you rebuild.
3) The phrase Texas strong never has, and never will be, a simple tagline. There are lines at shelters, to volunteer. Donations are being turned away and redirected to other locations, because some shelters have run out of space for all the supplies. During the storm, regular citizens were using personal boats to aid first responders in rescue efforts. The number of posts looking for crew members to help dispose of the debris on curbs is overwhelming. My social media accounts and cell phone were bombarded by people I hadn’t talked to in years, just checking to make sure I’m okay. The examples could be listed for days; just know Texans are one big BBQ eating family.
4) Seeing military personnel everywhere is normal. Really normal. Usually it’s exciting to see convoys of green army trucks barreling down the street, but it eventually just becomes a thing. Of course, the sightings aren’t on the level of an actual base, but with all the support and assistance coming in… frequency.
Basically my new home is hurting.
We will be okay though, because we know for a fact that we will make a grandiose comeback no matter how long it takes.
It’s now time to pull our boots up, focus on the tasks before us, and prepare to lend a hand to our neighbors in Harvey’s path.