August 2017 started out like any other month. All was good. I had a project of replacing the clutch in Will’s Mini Cooper. Will needed to be back at school on the 15th so I had a deadline of getting his car back into shape. Zora, my faithful garage dog who loved to go for car rides, especially in the VW Beetle, her health started to fail fast. She died in our backyard on August 7th. Will and Allison helped me bury her behind the garage. This was a really sad day for me that I still grieve over.
The weekend of the 26th promised a lot of rain so we planned to watch a movie series since we would be cooped up inside. We decided to watch the Star Wars series beginning with Star Wars 1 and work through the entire series. Saturday night the rain came down in sheets due to Hurricane Harvey. We were on the “wet” side of the storm since it came ashore to our south. The path of the storm was very erratic and it ended up making land fall for a second time a lot closer to us so the wet side became even more wet. We found out later that close to 60 inches of rain fell in our area. Our house is about ¼ mile from the Dickinson Bayou. As the rain to our west drained towards us and the tide in the bayou was driven in by the storm, the water crested at our town of Dickinson. Our house sits at 16 foot sea level.
The early morning of Sunday, August 27th we heard a loud bang at 3:30 in the morning. What he heard was a large tree branch hit our roof, but at the time we did not know what it was. While looking around the house Jennifer saw that the room where the cats stay at night was filled with water. That room is about 3 inches lower than the house. She opened the sliding door to let the cats out of the room and into the house. I walked back to the bedroom and part of the carpet was wet as the water from outside began to creep in. Jennifer woke Allison up.
We ended up having to evacuate due to the fast rising water. The amazing thing about watching all this unfold right before us literally in minutes was the fast moving current inside the house, even though there were no doors or windows open. I wrote in more detail in another short story I called “The Flood” so I will not dwell on what all happened here.
When we were safe and somewhat dry at a neighbor’s house I inventoried what all we got out of the house with. We piled them in one spot; it was sort of humbling to see everything you own. The only other thing was the jon boat tied up in front of the house where we stayed the night. We had two backpacks with things in them we grabbed as we left the house and three other bags with random things in them as well. Everything inside the backpacks were soaked through and through from the driving rain when we were in the boat, except my Bible which was bone dry. I also had my Marlin 30-30 which was out in the open at the house and I did not want looters to steal it so I brought it with me. We also had the plastic bin with cat food and a plastic plate for them to eat from – It is interesting what you think is important when you have minutes to decide what to keep. We did not bring dog food since our dogs would eat anything we give them.
Everything else we owned was considered lost at that time, cars, house and all the contents of the house and garage. The only clothes we owned were what we were wearing when we evacuated. I had flip flops that were tore up from walking in the water current. Jennifer and Allison did not have any shoes at all. We even lost our Ginger, the Cocker Spaniel who drowned while waiting to get in the boat.
Looking back at all of this, do you know what I did not lose? My Faith in God. In fact it has grown stronger each day as we had to depend on Him to provide for us. Another thing I did not lose, in fact I have gained is my faith and trust in my fellow man. People from all over and all walks of life have stepped up to help out with the house or give clothes, money and shelter. For that I am eternally grateful. By nature, I had a difficult time accepting help but I was in a position I had no choice. I have come to learn that when someone offers something, if I turn it down, I take away a blessing from that person as well as a blessing for my family and me. I have accepted help in all forms in the last four weeks.
I was raised in Texas where our whole outlook on life is “We got this, we don’t need any help” where in fact my family and I were in desperate need of help. Being in Texas, everyone here also lives by that “we got this…” and there was an abundance of help everywhere long before the ‘official’ help arrived. I believe there should be a monument erected somewhere of a White good ole’ country boy or girl in a john boat at the outboard motor and a Hispanic and Black guy in the bow reaching out to help someone in the water. That is how we roll here.
We have a long road ahead of us before we are ‘normal’ again, but I look forward to each step that helps us along the way. I can’t wait to see how God will bless us.