That this has been a hell of a week is the mother of all understatements, especially for anyone impacted by Harvey. On my way home to Texas after keynoting for the Romance Writers of New Zealand, Hubby warned me of possible thunderstorms and a bumpy ride into Houston.
Still basking in the fuzzy glow from my trip of a lifetime, I was nonplussed. Meh. It was Texas and crazy weather just part of the deal, right?
I board in Rotorua and learn it’s no longer a mere line of thunderstorms. Now? An inbound tropical storm. Okay. Not ideal but I’m cool. I get to Aukland and now Hubby tells me it’s being upgraded to a Category One hurricane. *nervous laugh* Yeah but it’s a small one. I’m totally fine.
Then this. And YES THIS IS MY PLANE. *deep breaths* It will be okay.
I’m already prepared to endure the eight-hour layover in the International Airport Houston (IAH) even though I’m hurting and so sleep-deprived I’m bordering on passing out. Bad enough. But suddenly I’m praying to make it out before the hurricane hits which now has a name…Harvey.
Seriously? Computers need to be denied permission to name hurricanes if they can’t do better than this.
Writers could do WAY better. Hurricane Vlad. Hurricane Michael Myers. Hurricane Lizzy Borden. Anyway…
My luck with travel rarely is good so imagine my shock when I DO make it onto one of the last flights out. We were literally outrunning a storm band that was already spawning tornadoes.
From what I can glean, the airport was shut down about ten minutes after my flight took off. Yay me! ….but no. I know it sounds odd, but once I got home and started seeing how bad things were getting, part of me was wishing I hadn’t made it out.
I wanted to help. Wanted to be there, only I was now hundreds of miles away and WHAT COULD I DO? But this brings me to why Texas will beat Harvey.
#1—We LOVE Texas Even Though She’s Bat$h*t Crazy
First of all it took a special kind of crazy to even settle this state to begin with. Droughts, wildfires, tornadoes, blue northers, hurricanes, and weather so wonky it seriously needs Xanax. Texas changes her mind about weather the way a woman changes her mind about what to wear to dinner.
Then cries and smacks you with a tornado if you forget to tell her she’s pretty.
It’s also HOT here. Crazy hot. As in Texas experienced its largest population explosion in history with advent of air conditioning. To me, that speaks volumes. We Texans take a lot of joy filming all the stuff you can fry on a sidewalk in summer.
Throw in poisonous snakes, deadly spiders, and fire ants and that sounds just like utopia right? Sigh. For us it is.
#2—Our Unofficial State Motto is “Hold My Beer and Watch This”
Just tell us we can’t do something. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! Yeah. We have a long history of taking stupid dares, probably most accurately demonstrated at the Alamo. A hundred Texians gathered in a mission about the size of a Trader Joe’s were given a choice.
Leave, run for safety, or stay knowing the vast Mexican Army (1,500 strong) was on its way. If you’ve ever visited the Alamo, you’ve likely seen this painting of Tapley Holland who was the first to step across the line and volunteer to stay and fight. The line in the sand is a dare, which apparently Texans are biologically incapable of ignoring. In fact one could argue Texas itself would never have happened without a dare 😉 .
I hear the doom and gloom all over the media how we will never recover, how it will never be the same, how Harvey has somehow defeated us and all I can think is…
Hold my beer and watch this.
Yeah it will suck for a while, but keep it up. Just tell us Texans we CAN’T do something and, well, you might wanna stand back cuz while others are talking? We’re a bit busy, thank you, kindly.
Yes, we Texans are known for bravado, BS, bluster but not for sense. In a part of the world that can be this tough to live in, sense can get in the way. Anyone with sense would have endured one 115 degree summer complete with rattlesnakes and brown recluse spiders and moved somewhere else like…Napa.
#3—Psychological Preparedness From Country & Western Music
Virtually all Texas children are inoculated early (often in the womb) with steady doses of Country and Western music, which means we know all about losing the job, the truck, the house, and the dog. We also know a bass boat and a reliable pickup cures most of what ails you (and in the case of Harvey, cures what ails others).
#4—Texans Never Lose Hope
We are a ridiculously optimistic bunch and we don’t throw in the towel even when times get hard and it seems it will never get better.
Any longtime fan of the Dallas Cowboys is proof of this.
#5—You Can’t Keep a Texan DOWN
When life gives you lemons, we Texans just add a shot of tequila and salt. We’ve been through so many disasters we’ve learned when you can’t choose your circumstances, you can choose your attitude. We know sometimes the best thing to do is to laugh.
Or even SING!
#6—Texans LOVE Getting Dirty & Making it BIGGER
Oddly these go together about as well as chips and salsa.
Whether it’s noodling (sticking your hand in a slimy hole in a lake to catch catfish), ATVing, or just plain sliding around in mud in monster trucks, it’s tough to keep a Texan clean any length of time.
Texas is the mutt you just gave a bath. Probably best not to bother.
Y’all might hear that everything is bigger in Texas and that’s because often it is. Show us a disaster and we’ll top that with Redneck ingenuity at its finest. We love the mud and love our lifted trucks even more. Sure some folks might think a Cadillac Escalade on GIANT tires is silly.
That is, until you need one 😉 .
Rednecks with Paychecks is a group of everyday guys with love for lift kits and a mojo for muddin’. Who better to rise to the challenge? These everyday heroes broadcasted the call and turned their lifted truck passion into a mission. Maybe the Texas National Guard can add a few of these fine vehicles to their own motor pool 😀 .
#7—Texans are Pathologically Helpful
We aren’t called “The Friendship State” for no reason. Our duty is to be a good friend because 1) it really is in our nature (possibly from beer and fully belly of amazing tacos) and 2) being a good friend can literally become a matter of life and death. We Texans often need friends, ourselves.
Looking at you Louisiana *blows kiss to Cajun Navy*.
Even before we were sure how bad Harvey was going to be, folks from all over Texas (and all over neighboring states) instantly gassed up and headed toward the storm to help. Social media and the news is filled with everyday people rescuing strangers with anything that could float or just power through high water. Boats, jet skis, canoes, TRACTORS, you name it.
Paddle board? It’ll do in a pinch!
We don’t care if you’re a stranger…or even you’re human. Come along!
We have a soft spot for our furry friends and Texans risked their lives time and time again to rescue dogs, cats, possums, bats, horses, livestock, and even…carp.
Saving a fish! Now how awesome is THAT?
#8—Texans Have Never Met a Stranger
I know many folks hear this and believe it’s more Texas BS…until they visit Texas or meet a Texan. Sure we shovel plenty of BS but not when it comes to our reputation for hospitality.
Before I left on my trip a fellow writer who I only know on-line gave me her number in case I got stranded in Houston where she lives. She gave me her number when I was on my way out, but a couple weeks ago, my greatest concern was some silly mechanical issue that might have me sleeping on my luggage.
Anyway, when I returned to the States and a hurricane, I knew I could call and she’d come get me. But since never in a billion years would I EVER let her risk her safety, I didn’t call.
But when I got home, I texted her immediately then got worried when she didn’t respond. I called and left message after message begging to get an update she was safe.
Only later in a FB IM did I find out I had the wrong number (had transposed the last two numbers). So what did I do after blowing up the phone of a complete stranger? Duh, the only “reasonable” thing!
#9—Texas Per Capita Has the Highest Number of Casserole Dishes
Okay I totally made up that statistic and normally I would worry about the backlash but according to some news sources Mississippi is no longer with us and has apparently been clandestinely annexed by Alabama while we were all distracted.
Well played, Alabama. Well played.
So if Mississippi was still part of the US I might have a fight on my hands regarding my casserole dish density statistic, but until they win independence from Alabama, I should be okay.
Why is the casserole dish so important? Well, natural disasters can be a lot like a funeral. A lot of people show at the moment of the heartbreak but when the real pain surfaces is often weeks, months or even years later. Sure we need rescues and the immediacy tended, but when the adrenalin wears off and the news has found some other story, it ain’t over.
There’s a lot to clean up, rebuild and people who will need a lot of love. When others might move on, Texans will still be here. We’re here for the long haul (Refer to Cowboys Fan reference).
#10 Texans Remember FOREVER
Elephants got nothing on a Texan. We remember everything. The Alamo, helloooo???? We remember the state flower (Bluebonnet), state bird (Mockingbird…ok, Mosquito), state nut (Pecan), state pepper (Jalapeño), state mammal small (Armadillo) and large (Longhorn), state insect (Monarch Butterfly), and state @$$hole (Fire Ant).
We remember everyone impacted in this storm, not just Houston. And we are here and not going anywhere until the job is done 😉 .
Granted, this post was to share some levity in a very dark time, but honestly we have so many folks to thank who are not Texans. Volunteers from EVERYWHERE, all over the US, all over the world, rushed to help and *bawls in Kleenex* and we will remember that and cherish your love and generosity.
It was a joy to see convoys from New York, Maine, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Minnesota, and on and on rushing to do all they could for us in our time of need, even risking their lives. We are infinitely grateful that y’all could be the boats on the ground, so to speak.
For those who would like to help, human or critter, I’ve linked to a number of ways we can keep helping those in need, even the furry friends. It will take time to rebuild, but we’ve been honored to watch how such a tragic event could bring out and reveal so many everyday heroes and we love you!
I love hearing from you!
Do you have any stories to share? Heroes we don’t know about? Favorite stories? Places to donate with links?
When the world seems so full of doom and gloom, for me, it was such a JOY to see how Harvey brought out so much good. And yeah yeah, I know there was bad, always is, but the bad (in my POV) was dwarfed by the mind-boggling outpouring of love and compassion from ALL OVER. I’ve never been so proud of what people can do when they set their minds to it.