I’m pretty confident saying I probably wasn’t the only Aransas County resident who was on edge, if even just a little bit, when news broke last week about a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico, which might threaten our county.
When the projected date of landfall (July 25) was announced, without a corresponding announcement telling us where Hurricane Hanna would most likely make landfall, I had a few other concerns.
Ironically, July 25 was exactly two years and 11 months since Harvey paid us his visit.
To this day, we are still waiting for major projects to be started (i.e. - Downtown Anchor Project, the new Rockport Center for the Arts’ downtown campus, the Fulton Pier, and numerous major FEMA Hazardous Mitigation projects.) We are almost there, but it takes a lot of time dealing with the federal bureaucracy, and even some local opposition to projects that simply wouldn’t be funded if not for the misfortune of going through Harvey.
What really had me on edge, as Hanna was making up her mind, is we planned long ago to meet our oldest daughter and son-in-law in Kyle to pick up two grandchildren, and bring them to Rockport so their parents could enjoy a quiet weekend in a secluded no-COVID zone for their 10th anniversary.
I know many folks’ minds don’t work the way mine does, but what I was thinking about, between last Wednesday and last Friday (the day we picked up the grands) was, “What if Hanna strengthens like Harvey did and makes a beeline for our shores?”
Hey, it could have happened.
None of us (including the National Weather Service) thought Harvey would explode overnight into the storm he became after we went to sleep that Wednesday night, prior to Harvey’s Friday night landfall. We all thought we would be dealing with, at most, a minimal hurricane.
My wife and I didn’t tell a lot of people about our plans, lest they look at us and ask, “You’re bringing a five-year-old and one-year-old here when a storm might come our way?”
My biggest concern was losing electricity. Our one-year-old granddaughter has a set of pipes and I don’t think she likes heat and humidity!
Luckily, nothing happened. In fact, once we learned Hanna would hit far south of us, we had a little fun.
I took our oldest grandson out with me to take pictures Saturday afternoon. At one point I parked the car in the Fulton Mansion parking lot, and told him to come with me and act like he was a television reporter.
Holding a plastic bowling pin as if it was a microphone, he stood in the wind and rain and said, “I’m reporter Ben Wilson, ‘recovering’ from Hurricane Harvey. Wait, Poppie, what am I doing” What’s the name of this hurricane?”
When I stopped laughing, I reminded him it’s always important to get the facts straight, and that he was “covering” the storm, not “recovering” from the storm.
After driving around for a while he became a bit bored and started asking when we were going home.
I figured he really wasn’t very impressed with Poppie’s job, considering he wanted to go back home and play inside (due to the inclement weather) instead of driving around Aransas County taking pictures!
The weekend ended up being a great one, including quality time with the grands, two opportunities to visit with my parents at their nursing home in New Braunfels (albeit through the window and talking via phone), getting out of town (i.e. – not working and not sitting at home), and knowing we gave our daughter and son-in-law a much-needed break from their “work at home, teach their kids at home, stay at home” routine.
One final thought.
If you enjoy reading inside stories about natural disasters, I encourage you to pick up a copy of The Great Deluge by New York Times Bestselling Author Douglas Brinkley.
A friend of mine called last week and said she had a book she thought I’d like to read.
Apparently, she knows me better than I know myself.
The Great Deluge is all about the lead up to Hurricane Katrina and its tragic aftermath, and the critical, and actually quite dumb decisions made by the New Orleans’ mayor and Louisiana governor prior to and after Katrina made landfall.
I take special interest in that story because I was born in New Orleans, and we lived through Hurricane Harvey.
Since starting the book, I turn off the TV at night and read in silence, until I fall asleep.
I’m actually enjoying my new routine, and it might become routine. If it holds, my wife might end up paying my friend $100 for that book!
Until next week, have a good week … and consider making something learned during your new normal, a regular part of your life.
Mike Probst can be reached at email@example.com.