Well, there's good and bad news to report on the people I know who got hit by Hurricane Ike.
First of all, my parents in Friendswood turned out to be some of the lucky ones. Not only did their house not see any major damage, but after losing their power early Saturday morning, they miraculously had their power restored Sunday night, when most everyone else in the Houston area was in darkness. We don't know why they got back on so quickly -- they aren't near a hospital or fire or police station -- but we're thankful. Now, all those heavily frozen and nearly petrified mystery meats down at the bottom of their freezer in the garage will not have to be thrown away. They can be preserved for study by nutritionists of future generations.
My wife's sister and her husband and daughter left Waco Monday afternoon for the long drive back to Humble, north of Houston near Bush Intercontinental Airport. They reported that it was very hard to get through because of all the downed trees and other damage all around. As of this morning, they are still without power, although because they have natural gas service they can take hot showers and cook some meals. Another blessing is this cold front we had blow in over the weekend, making the temperatures bearable, but I'm not sure what they do at night when there's no lights and no TV or computer. You can't even play Monopoly if you can't see the board.
Another of my wife's friends who lives near Humble in a place called Kingwood is also without power, and they have been without it longer because they stayed to ride out the storm. You can tell from this woman's e-mails how tiring and depressing it is being without electricity. They are thankful, however, that no trees fell on their house as they did elsewhere in their block. (She sent Mrs. Muley some photos of damage in their neighborhood, which I will display at the end of this post).
When I lived at home in Friendswood as a kid and for awhile as a college student we rode out a few hurricanes, and sometimes they were fun (when winds and damage were slight) and sometimes they weren't. Friendswood made national news back in the late 1970s when I was living there when a tropical storm that hit us stayed forever and dumped something like 18 inches of rain on us in a few days, causing what experts termed a 100-year flood. Our house, which was high above a creek and had always managed to escape big floods, got hit that time with about six inches of water inside. It was a pain having to cut out all our downstairs carpet and roll it out to the curb, and even more of a pain to walk on concrete slab for six months until we finally were able to get new carpet and flooring installed. But even that minor inconvenience was nothing compared to what so many people in Houston are dealing with now.
I think I'll try to talk about something else in my next post, because I'm tired of talking and thinking about Ike. But I'll hopefully remember to let you know when all my family and friends are somewhat back to norm al. And I appreciate all the prayers and kind thoughts from those of you reading these dispatches.