Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mother and Hurricane Ike

My parents, along with 2,000,000 other families, will be without power for at least two weeks. I can tell my mother is extremely distressed by this news and by the fact that every swimming pool that isn't already covered in water is going to turn into a massive mosquito breeding ground. The mosquitoes were bad in Houston before the hurricane, but they are going to suck big time now - and that's literally. Mosquito bites may not sound like a serious problem - but wait until people start getting Yellow Fever or Malaria or Encephalitis.

Anyway I can tell Mother is under extreme duress because when I was reading her the article about Sarah Palin in the NYTimes - which talked about how SP hired all her high school girlfriends to major state jobs and how SP had an assistant call a blogger to say "stop blogging right now!" - Mother cut me off. She said, "All this is very interesting, Patricia, and I thank you for keeping me informed about the real world, but we're in a mild state of panic here."

If mother is in a mild state of panic, we can all conclude everyone else is hysterical and will coming to Mother's house by happy hour looking for advice. So on top of all her own shit, mother has to have company. There will be Libertarians in the Living Room, unless it's so hot they sit in the front yard in lawn chairs. Can't sit in the back yard because of everyone's pools and the dang mosquitoes. Being Texas, someone in the government will certainly suspend the DDT ban and blast the joint. I still think I got my incurable auto-immune disease, Morphea Scleroderma, from running behind the DDT truck in Beaumont - but that's another story.
The good news is that there is no way the Libertarians can blame Hurricane Ike on Zionist Jews. The bad news is that the Evangelicals will all declare God is punishing the awful people next door and complain because their own property suffered in the process. The Preachers will remind them of the trials of Job; they'll all feel righteous and start hate mongering in the name of the Lord again.

When Mother won't discuss politics, you know it's trouble. They had phone service yesterday, but today they don't. The cell can be charged in the car. Luckily, both my brother and my father have fancy gadgets that allow them to connect to the internet via satelite and car batteries. It won't be long until my mother is reading Mahablog, Wonkette and The Burnt Orange Report in the drive way.

Fortunately, my parents live far enough inland so there was no flooding in their area. When you get pictures from hurricanes, you always see people looking at their destroyed homes - a concrete life in ruins. People get very attached to their stuff - and sometimes they have no money to start over. When half of New Orleans came to Houston after Katrina, Mother was angry because many people were critical of the hurricane refugees for not going about their business with a smile. Like they weren't shell shocked by having Life as We Know It completely washed away. Most people ignore the Shell Shock factor or, if they do recognize it they'll blame the victim for not having enough gumption to Look on the Bright Side and Count their Blessings.

The publicity and the news focuses on people and property, sometimes pets. They rarely show all the dead livestock floating around in the flood waters, bloated and stinking. They forget that water moccasins and swamp rats are swimming around in the water too. I'm not saying that people and their destroyed lives aren't - I'm saying it's worse than it looks in the photos.

Mother says everything on Bolivar peninsula is gone. When we were kids and our family lived in Galveston for a couple of years, we loved to ride the ferry between Galveston and Bolivar. We did it just for fun, but that ferry was the connection to the road to our grandparents in Beaumont. My sister was recently in Houston with her kids, and they went down to Galveston just to ride the ferry. It's much nicer now since there are many more environmental safeguards around the Houston Ship Channel and around off shore drilling - so the dolphins returned to the bay and would skip along beside the ferry. Whatever else happens in Galveston and Bolivar, the ferry will soon be running again and the dolphins will be there - I hope.

Granny the Ho had a house in Bolivar years ago. It got washed away in Hurricane Carla. Thank G*d her pink bathtub was still attached to the plumbing pipes because that's how she was able to find her lot. My mother, me and Vampie the Pekingese near Granny's beach house in Bolivar in August of 1960.

Imagine a pink bath tub flying in the air like a flag 10 feet off the ground. That was Granny, for sure. As you can see, back in those days, there wasn't much on Bolivar. There wasn't much of a town on Galveston either, but we still liked it when we lived there in 1966. We were especially intrigued by the notorious Balinese Ballroom, forever memorialized in the ZZ Top song. When searching for this photo, I discovered the Balinese was for sale. Bad timing.

My brother was born in Galveston, and now he's flying over the area taking pictures with the helicopter pilot he worked with during Katrina. **Side Note** My brother was part of the Dallas Morning News team that won a Pulitzer Prize for their work on Katrina. We're very proud of him. I would link to his work, but my secret identity would surely be compromised.


Comrade Kevin said...

Yes, and this is very tragic.

It is sad, however, that in order to get our attention we have to be exposed to an extreme disaster, quite nearly as catastrophe, before anyone gives events of this nature the kind of focus they deserve.

Gail said...


I appreciated the trip down memory lane with you and with pictures to enhance the journey.

I am also quite happy to know your family is safe and unharmed by "Ike". "Ike" was my Dad's nic-name when he was in the war, World War Two. Just a bit of trivia from my world.

Have you always called your mother, "mother"?

Just wonderin'.

'Hi Kevin ' always feels good when you are close'. :-)

Peace and love,

Glass Houses said...

I'm afraid the Balanese Room is gone - the pier it was on was completely washed away.

P. E. Nolan said...

I'm sorry to hear about that, Glass Houses. Love your name, though.

It's a good thing my parents took us to The Balinese when we moved away from Galveston in 1967. We were on an expense account from Dad's job so we stayed at the Flagship and went to the Balinese because my sister and I were always bug eyed curious about the night club.

Life is short. Carpe Diem and all that.

ng2000 said...

Valuable resource of bolivar peninsula news summaries:

P. E. Nolan said...

Thanks for the link

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