Harvey was the real deal

By Michael Brooks staff writer


    Friday morning, around 3 a.m., I lay in bed, unable to sleep. I was more scared than I have ever been in my life. I really could die tonight.

    When I first moved to South Texas in the mid 2000's, my dad needed my help. There had been a lot of rain, and he needed my help shoring up the land around his boss's boat dock at Coletto Creek. So I got picked to jump into neck-high water and stack 80 lb. concrete bags against the earth that was eroding away. I had seen alligators in the lake before. Depite just knowing that one was going to sneak up and grab me, I was able to get the work done. Somehow I shut my mind down and just did the work.

    Being grabbed by a gator was in my head. Sure, that was a possibility (no matter how remote), but it was more of me being where I knew they were that scared me. But this was here. It was tangible. I could hear the threat beating against the walls of my house. I was terrified. It didn't help that I had just seen news of the school that was blown away in Rockport.

    I used to chase tornados.  Literally. I was a storm chaser in West Texas. I saw a few tornadoes and got closer to a couple than I should have. But it was exhilarating. And, as long as someone knows how to tell which way the tornado is moving, and knows all the side roads, it can be done in relative safety. I chased some scary things in college – women, alcohol shots...but tornadoes never did scare me.

    "Eh, it's just a hurricane," was my thought. Wind, a bunch of rain. I live in a place that is high enough that I really shouldn't have to worry about flooding. So when my boss asked if anyone was staying, and would be able to do do some reporting, I said "sure I would!" I was excited. I mean, a hurricane is like 100 tornadoes all at once! Where do I sign up?

    So I laid there, holding my boys (my dogs, Ranger and Peeve) and just kept thinking "what if the roof collapses? That'll be it for me, and my stubbornness about leaving will also get my boys killed."

    Thankfully, everything turned out fine for me. I lost power, but that was it. Many others were not near as fortunate. Jackson County got off easy. Rockport, and now Houston, not so much.

    I was on the outside of this monster storm and I was terrified. I couldn't even imagine how those people that stayed in Rockport felt.

    I'm sure there was some stubborn soul somewhere further south that was doing the same thing I was at the same time. Hopefully him, and his family, made it through too.

    Pray for Texas. Especially those towns that got devastated. I hope the death toll doesn't continue to rise, even though I know that is a false hope.

    Harvey was the real deal. Next time, I won't have such a cavalier attitude about hurricanes.

    Next time I will be 500 miles away, having a beer. Or 20.

Jackson County Herald Tribune

306 N. Wells
Edna, TX 77957