Saturday, September 9, 2017


“Should’ve being there”

105 headed east. Golf World and Vernon's parking lot.

            GRANDVIEW, WAI feel so guilty for not suffering along with you guys. The area in and around my hometown experienced the worst flood ever, while I’m living in an irrigated valley in the middle of a desert.  
            Had my sister Sue not invited Kay and me to come to Washington for a few-month visit, we would now be living with Jill in LaPorte. At the height of the disaster. I called Jill to ask how she was doing. She said she had enough potato chips to last a good while. Had I been there, that would not have been the case.
Jill told me that her street was flooded, and the water had just overflowed the giant drainage ditch next to her house and was only a few feet from her door. There was nothing I could’ve done for her, but I needed to be there. Jill told me not to worry. She said, “If the house floods, it floods. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”   
            Turns out, within the next hour or two, the rain subsided a bit and the drainage ditch was able to do its job. The water receded, never again to escape the ditch. That’s pretty much the story for my entire family. Everyone came out if it with little or no damage.
            Wednesday, Big Al was able to get to the new subdivision where our house is being built. He told me there was no indication of flooding. If you live in a house that didn’t flood during this storm, there’s a pretty good chance it’s not going to… at least for a few years. There is a chance the 500 year floodplain will be demoted to a five year floodplain.
            When the hurricane went past Beaumont, I imagined it would go up and circle around Kentucky and re-enter the Gulf at Apalachicola, FL. It would then circle around again and come up I-45.
Speaking of a hurricane circling, how on earth can the Weather Bureau predict that a hurricane is going to backup, reenter the Gulf and then circle around and then head for Beaumont?  I’m beginning to think there’s more to this science thing than a lot of people believe.
            The only thing Kay and I have suffered up here is a lack of news. We were only able to get the 5:30 national news from CBS and NBC. (By the way, we get the 5:30 news at 7:30.) I hate to say it, but the local channels in this area weren’t big on reporting the hurricane. After the national news, our nearest TV station opened with a story about how the city decides where to put traffic signs around a school zone. You’ve got your hurricane; we’ve got our “Slow Children Walking” signs.  
            I have learned a lot from watching small town local news. In fact, I’ve determined that could be a good small town weatherman. I don’t know if big city weatherpersons read their report or have all the facts stored in their noggins. They make it look so spontaneous. I don’t think the small town stations have the equipment to make them look like they’re spouting stuff off the top of their heads. They look off screen to read about the temperature in Yakima while pointing at Salt Lake City. I could do that. I would do that.
And the boy and girl anchor teams do a lot of pausing during the coverage. And they can go from serious to somber in a nanosecond.  – “The ex-mayor was 84. So, school starts tomorrow, Shirley. Ha, ha, ha…” – “Yes, it does, Bert. Let’s go back to Carl to see what the weather will be for the kiddos’ on their first day of school. Ha, ha, ha.” You will really have a greater appreciation for your big city news team after watching small town coverage. Of course, the laughing thing is pretty much universal. Except for BBC. Those Brits don’t even smile. -- “And the Parliamentarian had to remove his trousers after discovering ants in his pants. Now, let’s go to Reginald in Afghanistan.” 
            I just imagine you’ve been saturated with a 24 hour rehash of news. I would’ve tired of all of that during Hurricane Ike, but we didn’t have electricity for nearly eight months. (Seemed like it.) Dennis said that he never lost electricity during Harvey, but he did lose his cable provider. With his old antenna, the only channel he could raise was the Walker Texas Ranger Channel. That alone is cause to evacuate.
            Kay and I did get a lot of storm news off Facebook. We learned what was happening with our friends. I don’t know if you read my old friend Brad Meyer’s posts. He had pictures of the water from the small lake in his subdivision. He mentioned that the pier floating in his backyard belonged to his neighbor.
            Brad also shared a list of observations he made during the storm. They were the most candid and worthwhile of anything else I read or heard about the disaster. He posted it on Facebook on August 30. Give it a read.
            While Brad’s coverage was a well-written, serious response to Harvey, I have tried to  tackle the subject in a lighthearted manner. I realize that for some of you it’s near impossible to find humor in anything related to what you’ve experienced.
I wrestled with the notion of using a no-nonsense approach to such a severe happening. But, I thought a lighter view of the time might be slightly uplifting. – What am I saying? If I had been there, and was forced to crawl into Jill’s attic to knock a hole in the roof so we could be hauled up in a wire basket, I would’ve still found some humor in the experience. It’s the same reason we find ourselves laughing with friends at funerals, as we remember the life of a loved one. It’s the stuff that keeps me marginally sane.
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