efd: the hurricane tour

My town of Beaumont, Texas, which I haven’t seen since Thursday night.

This is what news geeks call a “developing story.” Yes, I made it through the hurricane, survived and guess I’ll have to make my own damn T-shirt. But I haven’t been home since Thursday night and I fled the godawful humidity and power failures and confusion and lack of news from small town East Texas for Dallas this morning.

I have some logistics to run, then I plan to go home to Beaumont. I don’t yet know what I face at home. That is why I say it’s a developing story. I was without news up there in the sticks by and large. I have yet to hear from a friend who might be able to tell me how my apartment came through the storm. I also hear the authorities may not “let me” into my hometown. It’s like, “Hey, it’s your town, but you can’t come in.” I don’t yet know about that because I am probably going to be doing some kind of media something or other, even if it’s writing something and selling it first rather than the introductory dance. I still haven’t seen the contribution I made from Newton, Texas, Saturday in the major publication I help out from time-to-time. I still intend to charge them.

What I will talk about is this. The storm was fierce, even 80 miles from the coast. The wind started moving in about dusk. It was very incremental. Rain was minimal. A few heavy downpours happened during the night, but the 95 degree heat Sunday sucked out what had already been little moisture.

I must confess, I took an Ativan and slept fitfully about six hours during the hurricane. But I woke up when the hurricane force winds actually hit and I heard a quick succession of three electric transformers in my brother’s neighborhood exploding.

Like so many places around the heavily wooded town in which I grew up and my brother and his family remains, tons of big, big, trees were uprooted. My brother had about six including two pines about 25-30 feet tall uprooted. This was at the house in which I grew up. The old cedar tree out front also fell, only a couple of feet from my pickup. Luckily, none of the nine people staying at my brother’s place had damaged cars. His home wasn’t hit. The house he uses for his shop — the house I spent my first 11 years — had an oak some 3 1/2 feet in diameter leave the ground and hit the front of the old home (portions of which are about 120 years old). Luckily, it sustained no major damage.

A lot of people around my old hometown were similarly lucky. Some had their homes heavily damaged by trees, but few were outright blown away by the wind. No fatalities there or major injuries of which I am aware. Some folks do have some major problems though. And structural damage was only the start for the woes from Rita.

I’ll try to get to more of that later.

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