Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Looking back, looking forward

Even though I don’t live there any longer, I still like to keep up with the news in Southeast Texas, usually by checking the headlines of my old paper, The Beaumont Enterprise, each morning.

The headlines I’ve seen during the past few days in the wake of Hurricane Ike are eerily similar to the ones we wrote just about three years in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita (my 13th hurricane). If you’d like to see some of those front pages you can go here.

In fact, just as Rita was getting ready to slam into Sabine Pass (a little town right on the Gulf of Mexico that was almost wiped off the map) this came over the wire from the NY Times News Service:
“BC-RITA-PARTNERS-ADVISORY-NYT Editors, we commend to your attention storm coverage from New York Times News Service partner news organizations, including Hearst Newspapers and Cox News Service, but especially articles from The Houston Chronicle and The Beaumont Enterprise, two Hearst papers in the path of Hurricane Rita. Their unique perspectives lend an authenticity to storm stories that cannot be matched.”

That was a big pat on the back from the folks up in NYC, but I digress.

I recommend taking a look at them and not only because I’m proud of the work the team I was a part of did during those first long, hot days after Rita. Take a look and imagine yourselves in the position of the people we wrote about three years ago and the ones who are now returning after Ike.

Turn off your computer (not right now, of course, but when you're done reading my blog) and your cell phone. Turn off the lights, TV, refrigerator, water heater and AC in your office and home. Turn off the street lights and stoplights in NoVa, the District, PG and Montgomery counties.

Now leave it that way for eight days if you live in the District. Two weeks if you live inside the Beltway. And, if you live in Fairfax, Prince William, Montgomery or Prince Georges, you can turn all your stuff back on the week before Halloween.

Imagine going a week to six weeks without electricity and you’ll get an idea what life’s like after a hurricane. Shit, this area goes back to the Stone Age if the power goes out for six hours, and totally Neanderthal if there’s even a hint of snow in the five-day forecast.

Our nearest ancestor gives a completely
different meaning to "Whole Foods"

For the most part, though, the people in Southeast Texas sucked it up, wiped their brows (it was really hot the week after Rita, unseasonably hot in fact), rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

Texans are like that: always willing to lend a hand to a neighbor in need. And if the government isn’t willing or able to help they’ll still get it done, just a bit slower that’s all. I’ve no doubt they’ll take Ike in stride and, in a year or two, be ready for the next storm that zeros in on Texas.

2 comments:

LivitLuvit said...

I've never been but Texas is definitely on my list of "places I need to have a beer in pronto."

FoggyDew said...

Liv - there's plenty of good places to have one. Might I suggest Shiner, Texas, home of the K. Spoetzl Brewery.

Ummmmmmm, Shiner Bock.