Monday, September 26, 2005

Rita Reality

Friday we shopped in the little town of Trinity. While we were well prepared to endure no power, no grocery shopping, no water, et al in Houston, we had only done a so-so job of taking our provisions with us to the small town where we were now "hunkered down" (another over-used phrase by our chatty journalists). So we drove in to find still no gasoline but plenty of water, snack foods, and a we'll-make-it-work can opener. We even got a thingy to use in a car's lighter so that we could plug just about anything into it -- but specifically my cell phone which has a wall plug but not one for the car and which had lost its juice the day before.

Most of the day was spent getting to know the other folks in the bunk house. Several hundred people were on the campgrounds including evacuees who had already left Katrina behind and were now facing yet another storm. But our shelter included my friend and her daughter, another girlfriend from work and her mother, and an entire family that I really didn't know. Before it was over, we added a minister and her dog who had tried to get her Katrina evacuees to Fort Worth but after 18 hours gave up and brought them to Trinity Pines.

Games, conversation, listening to the radio . . . these are the things that helped pass the time. Finally, we were told the storm had probably missed Houston but that we might catch some of the hurricane force winds around 6 a.m. So we did what any self-respecting refugees would do -- we slept. At 1 a.m. when I woke up, the rain hadn't started. At 2 a.m. when I opened my eyes again, I heard the pitter patter. At 3 a.m. I noticed the power was off. I didn't wake again until 6:30 a.m. and started listening to the news (with my headset . . . I'm not that insensitive of a bunkmate). At 7:30 a.m. I went to watch the wind. We did that for a few hours. Then the other family started packing.

Seems Houston missed it, we were getting some of it, but for the most part, Rita didn't come calling the way we thought. After so many hours on the road, all of us agreed we wanted nothing more than to be home. And though our local officials were pleading with us to stay put, the temptation was too great.

I told my buddy that my vote was for vacating the premises. She wanted a bit more info so she waited and talked to the director of the camp. He offered no argument for staying. So we left.

2 1/2 hours later we were home. A few hours after that, they closed some of the roads out of Trinity because of some problems with flooding.

My wonderful friends had helped me place my belongings on stilts and some of those same folks spent the time I was traveling removing those stilts. By afternoon, I was back in my place with all my stuff back where it belongs. OK, I did redecorate a bit and a few of the dust bunnies were missing but for the most part, it was as if I hadn't left.

We dined well on a home cooked meal at the house that had power and cable (I was without TV until this morning).

I can't believe it was so . . . . NOT. I'm thankful that the losses were not as vast as they had imagined. I pray for those who are facing devestation. And I deplore those who were quoted in the paper today suggesting that the winds changed in order to wipe out more casinos in Louisiana.

I'm caught up on my sleep. I've read one book and I'm halfway through another. And if I'm ever told to evacuate again . . . we'll see.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

In the small world category..my sister-in-law manages the camp where the the evacuees were expected near Ft Worth. My sister-in-law, brother, their children and their church were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to welcome and care for them. I had heard they made it to Trinity and was glad for them. I'm glad you were safe, too.