Okay, so I know it's been like 3 years since I've lived or even been to Galveston, but I still feel a connection with that silly little island. I have always wanted to live there, I'm not sure why, I would still live there if given the opportunity, not really sure about that one either. There is really nothing there to entice someone to jump up and move. And now...another reason. The same reason that forced me to leave. A huge Hurricane! My father has always told me that I was crazy for wanting to live that close to the ocean, especially Galveston. He has predicted that there would be a big big big storm there in my lifetime. He said if there was one like it before there will always be another and probably of greater significance. Well, Let's just Welcome Ike! There's not much to do but welcome him. It's too late for those souls who officials pleaded desperately to get leave. It's all up to God, because Ike will not leave!
I tired to ignore this storm for a week. I would hear it or see it on the news and change the channel thinking they were exaggerating the significance of the warnings. I went about my own business not giving it much thought, I didn't have to, I don't live there anymore. Well, he has decided to invade pretty much all of Eastern Texas. I moved back here so not to deal with hurricanes, only to find out...Ike will flood my streets, possibly destroy my roof that is hanging on by its last thread, knock over trees (possibly the old oak tree hovering over my blue car that can't be moved because the starter went out!) and cause tornadoes to sporadically pop up without warning. As I type this, we are under a tornado warning. The last tornado I was in, I was about 7 months pregnant with my O, eating at a Sonic drive in. The sirens went off, we ran out of our truck and into the freezer's of the Sonic. So...I'm a little emotional (what's new) and a little nervous.
So back back to the hurricane part. I tried all day to ignore the signs of panic. People were flooding the streets with their cars in our quiet little town. Where did all these people come from? South Texas of course, the hurricane I have desperately try to ignore thinking maybe if I didn't know about it, it wouldn't happen, has arrived. So, I still went about my business, and was fine until I went to fill the car up. Pulled into the Brookshire's to see signs posted on every pump. "Out Of Gas". OMG,. That sick feeling in the pit of my stomach came over me. So, I spun the car around to go back to the nearest gas station...and waited and waited. Finally my turn, and I actually got gas! So...that really wasn't that bad. I remembered I needed milk for my O. So we went back down the street to Brookshire's, which I thought was abnormally busy for our quiet little town. I went in, got one of the 2 buggies still there, went straight for the milk were there was 2 half gallons left of whole milk. There was other milk left, but not whole. So then I went to grab a gallon of water to make the kids kool aide, there was none. Okay... still gulping, trying to fight back that sick feeling. I went to get some hamburger meat for diner. There was none. So, I decided to check out and go home. I was still successful at choking back that feeling until it came time to cross the bridge to go home. There it was...that feeling, and seeing the big lake and crossing that bridge, that was it! My tears came streaming down my face, and I thought I was going to be sick. I couldn't stand the thought of mass panic. My memories of living through a hurricane before all came back. It wasn't a big hurricane. None of my stuff destroyed. My apartment set right across from the seawall, and nothing major happened. But the fear that was put in us to leave the island. The sight of everything being boarded up and the lawn chairs in the bottom of the pool. Sitting at a gas pump for over an hour and finally getting your turn to be turned away because there was no more gas. Having my $80 pay check from the restaurant and spending $60 in gas and giving the other $20 to a man stranded begging for gas money. Making a 16 hour drive that would normally take 4 hours. The memory of coming home to a smelly apartment with no electricity and sand everywhere. Going to Walmart to pick up a few things to eat and cleaning supplies to get going again and seeing people fighting over a box of instant potatoes, merchandise scattered all over the floors, and bare grocery shelves. It was mass panic, and it was scary. It was more than scary. It was a living nightmare.
So tonight, as I finally force myself to see these pictures and start to realize the destitute that awaits our friends, families, co-workers, acquaintances, strangers we have smiled at, I feel that feeling all over again. My heart cries tonight for all the souls that did not take this warning. Tomorrow it will be on the news, and possibly for weeks, but years down the road...will people remember? Will they remember that they were warned. Will they take the next warning seriously? Just because it hasn't happened thus far in your lifetime, doesn't mean to ignore warnings so dire.