Living near the Gulf of Mexico has always held a respect for Mother Nature. My father was fascinated by weather the unexpected way it could change on a dime. He raised me to respect it, not to fear it but understand God’s hand in this life. When I was 16 Hurricane Alicia hit Galveston it was the first true Hurricane I had every been through, my father made sure that the house was prepared we had all the provisions, we where lucky that we had a gas stove in the house. Our house in Bellaire which is a city within Houston our den was lower then the rest of the house, if it flooded our den flooded too. So all the furniture was put up on blocks I went to sleep with the storm approaching I am a heavy sleeper so I was not awaken by the winds. When the eye of the storm was passing over us my father woke me up to take me outside to see what nature did, it was the most surreal moment to hear complete silence no wind, no noise just silence, but about 1 minute later he turned to me and said it is time to go in. I went back to sleep as the back end came through, the next morning the streets where flooded, no power and during summer in Houston it was crazy. I remember al l the kids in the neighborhood out in the flood water, except me my father told me hell no it is dangerous in there. So for a week we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna, and all the meat from the fridge, we sat outside with our neighbors late into the night. I remember it being a nice time.
When Katrina came ashore we knew that most would evacuate to our city, watching it from the comfort of my living room the devastation was nothing I had every seen. I had friends who had family in the Mobile area, who had come to Houston only to go home to little be nothing. Growing up in Houston I had spent many times at the Astrodome seeing concert, sporting events, and was one of the extra in Bad News Bear movie. It is different to see it with thousands sleeping in the Dome, when they opened it up as a shelter my sister and I decided that we needed to do something so we volunteer to help. Watching it on TV is nothing like walking into the Dome seeing everyone with a story to tell needs a hug, a shoulder to cry on. To see humanity in this manner was heart wrenching. We passed out food to anyone who came up to us; I made my way down to the floor to pass out food, toys to the children and to listen to them. I met a man who had been on the bridge for a few days he was an older gentlemen I would guess his age to be in his late 70’s early 80’s. He had made it through the storm and some how made his way to the bridge to wait for the buses, his companion was a man he had never met until he made it to the bridge, his guardian angel made sure that he was taken care of. The older man was a widower and his son was a doctor, he left with only the clothes on his back and not his medication. I sat with him as he slept so that his guardian angel could go get some smokes, socks and medication. He spoke of his life in New Orleans the good times; I held his hand as he went to sleep keeping an eye out for his friend. In the Dome it was filed with great loss, but also hopes that things could only get better. The older man and his angel found a place to stay that day and later he found his family. I hope that he is doing well, he made a impact on my life seeing the generous side of human nature, but I know that God is watching them both.
So this year I live father from the Gulf, but again a big storm came my way. Ike hit us late in the evening of September this time was different from Alicia in that now at 40 it made me afraid. I prepared with plenty of supplies over a week period. Our house has an electric stove which sucks if you lose power. I watch as trees moved in ways I have never seen, until we lose power I went to sleep. We awoke to tree in the yard, but not much damage, we where lucky. My sister lives about 5 miles from me and got her power back the next day, so I made my way to her house, for 6 days I was unable to sleep. We got our power back in a week, but it impacted our lives for weeks to come, sitting in traffic for hours, lines for gas and stores trying to get back up and running. We where lucky that we escaped the major hit,yet, through it all as we sat around a table in my sister’s garage playing dominos with her neighbors a community was born that wasn’t there before, our neighbors allow us to use their generator to run our fridge so in turn we shared our gas. In this day in age we are so media enslaved, but for a week or more people had no choice but to step outside to meet their neighbors, to help their small community to rebuild. Kids read a book, played board games, ran around the streets it was like a time machine. My father was right Mother Nature is God working to make us a better human.