It is interesting how people fall into old patterns in the face of danger. On Thursday the beginnings of warnings about TD Patricia began. I went on Weather Underground and read what the meteorologist
was saying and predicting. It did not sound good. It sounded serious.
Back in the day when I lived in Louisiana and Texas, that was the "heads up" that caused me to first head to the grocery store, the service station and home to prepare to evacuate if the proposed course of the storm
was heading toward where I lived. So, that is what I did. Went to the grocery store, got gas and went home.
On the way home, I took the beautiful road from the store to my house that I like to take because I pass through the area with old growth trees that remind me of what San Miguel was like before deforestation.
Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw on a raised hill a sight I had never seen before on this route. It caused me to stop, grab the camera and photograph the scene.
I came home and reminisced about previous experiences with Big Storms.
In Texas for seventeen years, we lived across from the Johnson Space Center right on the backwaters of
Galveston Bay. Many lessons were learned during those years. About a year after my husband died, my
children and I moved into the house in Nassau Bay. Elevation was 19 ft above sea level. One of the highest elevations in that area, believe it or not.
In 1979 there was a depression that came inland and sat over that area. It never became a hurricane.
It just stayed and in twenty-four hours it dumped 42 inches of rain. Boats in the marina around the corner from my house rose with the water and popped out onto the streets or went through the roof of the slip and were smashed. The water rose so much that it looked like we lived on waterfront property. No way could
we have left our house. All the streets were flooded. Our house never flooded, one of the few. By the time the water had risen completely, all the furniture in the house was off the floor just in case. My son had a V bottom boat and wanted us to flee in the boat. For safety sake, we stayed. It was the only time we did not evacuate.
In subsequent hurricane threats, all I would have to hear was the storm was coming and I did what I wrote in the second paragraph. I purchased food that would not have to be cooked or refrigerated. Peanut butter, cereal, bread, charcoal. Well, you get the idea. These were foods for when we returned to a house that possibly and more then likely would not have electricity for a period of time. Possibly no water either.
It did happen. Hurricane Alicia came in in 1984. It came in fast. I was on a plane to Indianapolis to testify in a product liability case for the firm I worked for and by the time I landed the little storm had turned into a full blown hurricane. Try getting news about a hurricane in Indianapolis.......it doesn't happen. I called home in a panic. My oldest daughter, Jennifer, lived in Houston, but John and Julie were in the house by the water.
John wanted to stay because he had a surfboard and thought it would be fun. Julie was just there and ready to do whatever. Needless to say, I prevailed on the phone, in the courhouse in Indianapolis and they went to Houston. I was excused from testifying and flew back in that night on the last plane to land at Houston Intercontinental Airport. I could not get any farther then that for twenty-four hours due to the winds and rain. But my family was safe and who knew what we would find when we did get home.
When we did all finally get back to the house, about two or three days later, there was no electricity or water. The five story cypress tree in the backyard had been hit by a tornado and was stripped of its bark and leaves, which were plastered on the house. The house that was usually cream colored was a mottled green. Oh and part of the roof was gone. The amount of debris in the backyard took five dump trucks to remove. It was August 18th when the storm hit. No electricity for three weeks in that heat was a lesson as well. The kids and I slept on the marble floor in the foyer at night. It was the only cool place. We had cooked all the food in the freezer on the charcoal grill and packed it in coolers with ice. Believe me, I never wanted to go through anything like that again. To this day, when I hear chainsaws going, I think of that storm. Our subdivision had been built in a huge pecan orchard. The amount of trees lost was horrifying and sad.
But, I did not have water in the house and was lucky. Every future storm I loaded up the kids, the animals, and the big plastic tub that had important papers and photographs that could not be replaced. Nothing else mattered. Sometimes there was not storm as it headed another direction. I did not care as life was more important then stuff.
Way back in 1965, a hurricane came up the Mississippi River while we lived in the Married Student apartments at LSU. It sank a clorine barge! It too was one of those fast moving storms that did not leave time to evacuate. My husband and I along with Jennifer and John were huddled in the closet all night. The rains blew so hard that the water was blowing through the concrete block. I was 71/2 months pregnant with Julie. What a night that was. Luckily we were on the second floor. The entire city of Baton Rouge had to be evacuated while they lifted the barge. We were gone for three days, if memory serves me well.
I write all of this to share with you for those of you who might never have been anywhere near such a storm. If you ever find yourselves in one, remember these stories. It is not something to take lightly. Too many people have lost their lives by doing so. I lost several friends during Ike and Katrina. My dad helped the Red Cross in 1964 during Carla to remove 500 bodies in South Louisiana and Texas.
So, that's it from here high in the mountains of Mexico. I never have to worry about hurricanes, tornadoes or anything like that again. I only worry about friends and family who are still in the path! Stay safe in Texas and anywhere else that TD Patricia is headed. It's not over til it's over............