The remnants of Hurricane Harvey are still dumping Mother Nature’s tears on my home town of Angleton. Houston, an hour north, is getting deluged with rain. Creeks, rivers and bayous are overflowing, and every drop of rain on top of that is making life hard on family, friends and strangers. Having grown up in the area, this is beyond hard. These are some of the most stressful, difficult, trying days one can imagine!
People are leaving their homes for higher ground, but then they are stranded, including my mother and sister, wherever they can find. At least they can stay dry, for now.
I didn’t know until this morning what two of my sons, son-in-law and two of their best friends have done. Ages 26 to 21 years old, all are adept boaters and outdoorsmen. They saw a need and figured they could sit back and talk about how bad it was, or do something. They’re doing something.
At midnight last night, they left the non-stop rain here in East Texas going south into the squalls and heavy thunderstorms flooding Houston. They loaded a pickup with supplies, hooked up a boat and drove 2 1/2 hours south to Houston.
Some people in the Houston area have died. Some are reportedly going into their attics, an extremely dangerous thing to do, to escape rapidly rising water. And still, the waters rise.
Somewhere in the Klein, Texas area, our band of five found a safe place to launch the boat, leave the truck and start boating down a neighborhood helping stranded residents trapped by rising water. I talked to my youngest son a few minutes ago. They are cold, wet and tired, but they’ve taken seventy plus people to safety today. He hung up abruptly when they came to an assisted living area where 160 senior adults live. As I strike this keyboard with my fingers, our boys are extending helping hands to these elderly people.
I have mixed emotions. On one hand, it’s dangerous. This is different than the lakes and rivers around here. This is a beast storm that can change in a Texas howdy. Debris, mounds of floating fire ants, snakes, heavy rain pouring inside the boat are just a few of the concerns. Submerged obstacles, like the top of a Stop sign they almost hit earlier today, could slice a sinking hole right in the boat bottom. Changing water currents, getting entangled, electrical power surges, or even turning the boat over while helping others leaves a full volume, loud speaker blaring “danger” in my mind.
Yet on the other hand, I am extremely proud, a beat your chest father proud, of all of these guys! They are helping others pull themselves up by their boot straps. They’re not waiting on 9-1-1, not looking for a government handout, not sitting by and letting it all turn into an even bigger disaster. They took off work, and two missed their first classes at Texas A&M today. They paid their own way to actively help others just because fellow Texans are in trouble. The great thing is — there are many, many others doing the exact same thing, right now, in this time of need!
That’s a true Texan, and old fashioned American spirit at its best!
There are, without doubt, some long, hard days ahead for hundreds of thousands of people, and the worst may not have come yet. Hang tough Texas! Hang tough!