Granddad’s update, post Hurricane Dolly

My grandfather lives in Harlingen, Texas, and decided last week that he and his girlfriend, Lina, would take on Hurricane Dolly from his home. I’d already heard they the two of them had survived the storm, and the return of electricity brought a post-Dolly e-mail.

Finally got power back on just this evening. It was off 5½ days. Being without power was worse than the hurricane. I had 2 large coolers so loaded the stuff from my fridge and kept it on ice but don’t know if I saved it.

We were on the south side of the hurricane so all our wind came from the West. Very strong (100 MPH) and very gusty. It was an experience. My friend Lina stayed with me and she says she will never stay in a hurricane again. (I admit being in the same house with her was a bit like I imagine it would be to be in a cage with a hungry lion.) ( I exaggerate, It was good to have her with me.)

My apartments came through in good shape. I boarded up some windows and sat in line for an hour and a half for sand bags. I have 4 large “Live Oak” Trees in my front yard and they all survived. I had a yard full of limbs, some as large as my wrist but I had no broken glass. One apartment has a wet carpet and I still don’t know how. Water didn’t get high enough to go in the door. I inspected the roofs and maybe a dozen shingles were blown off.

After the hurricane, water was deep and we couldn’t go anyplace without driving through water. No one had electricity so all restaurants and gas stations were closed. After a couple of days of cold food and no coffee I rigged a small propane heater on it’s back in my vice so it made a burner of sorts. I was able to heat a meal. Showers were cold but in 100 degree weather it wasn’t that bad. Sleeping at night even with windows open was difficult.

The day after the hurricane the highway was alive with hundreds of generators, National Guard and all sorts of electrical crews and clean up people. National Guard set up in several locations and passed out bags of ice, cases of bottled water and “Hot Meals.” Hot Meals are military rations. You pour water in them and they will get so hot you can’t hold on to them. They are really very good. The 3 that I had were “Vegetarian Pasta Fagioli,” “Vegetarian 3 Cheese Lasagna” and “Chicken Pasta Italiana.” There was also in the box “fruit mix, M&Ms, Peanut butter, ice tea mix, salt & pepper, napkin plastic knife & fork etc.” The lines for these were a mile long but moved at a good pace. One of the grocery chains gave out free ice.

There were benefits. There were a lot of “people helping people.” My residents sat in the front yard to keep as cool as possible and all got acquainted and would share ice ,water and hot meals with each other. It was heart warming.

Living was difficult mostly because of the 100 degree weather and no cooking capabilities. When the restaurants and gas stations did begin to reopen (Some with generators) there were very long lines as most people still didn’t have electricity in their homes.

I hope I never live through another hurricane but if one comes along I will stay and will know better how to handle the next one.