Hurricanes...One would think that Edouard was a category 5 storm from the amount of public office closings, grocery buying, water stocking, etc.
All of this activity is good in that it is much better to be prepared than to be caught with your defenses down. At least, this time officials havenít scared us so much weíve all taken flight on the clogged highways like many did during Rita. Hurricane Rita killed and injured more
people from Houston during evacuation, rather than the storm itself.
Iíve never run from a hurricane since 1980, and I donít think I ever will. I figure that by the time a hurricane makes it inland to Fort Bend County, it will pretty much be rain and the occasional tornado, which you can experience any time.
My 1980 evacuation was so stressful that I vowed to stay put.
Our 1980 evacuation was the result of the hype about Hurricane Allen. It was classified as a Category 5 storm on three separate occasions. It would weaken, then rev back up.
I wasnít concerned about it until an old-time Stafford resident, Joe Falsone, told me he remembered when Murphy Rd./FM 1092 was under 10 inches of water.
I decided to move the newspaper to Brenham to my cousinís farm and put the paper out from there if necessary.
Michael, 16 at the time, and I loaded up our old grey Maxi-Van with our one computer which was larger than a washing machine back then. We also took art clip books, layout sheets, and even our company account books--anything it would take to put out a newspaper and protect the
company if we got 10 inches of rain on Murphy Rd.
My cousin had two toddlers (actually one was a baby), a mother dog, and six puppies. We loaded those up also.
We didnít strap our equipment down very well so every time we put on the brakes, we were almost decapitated by the rolling computer.
The road to Brenham was clogged and we were unable to use our vehicle air conditioners due to engine overheating.
It took us six hours to get to Brenham (something that Ritaís refugees are familiar with). By the time we pulled into the farm, both kids and the dogs were throwing up.
We stashed the van in the barn, spent the night, left the dogs in the care of a neighbor, and continued our trip to West Texas in my cousinís car. We decided we would spend some quality time with our aging grandfather until we had to come back and publish the paper.
We had left one cousin in Houston to protect the home place and tape the windows.
We stopped in Austin and picked up my daughter Sherry who was attending U.T. Our car was loaded by then.
Out in West Texas while spending time with our delighted grandfather, we called back to Houston to see how everything was and every day we were told it hadnít even rained.
Every day, we called Brenham and the neighbor reported a puppy was missing. He thought it was coyotes.
Allen was supposed to be one of the largest and deadliest storms. Instead, it skirted off the Texas coast and finally made landfall in an uninhabited part of south Texas. But in Houston, still no rain; and in Brenham, five puppies gone.
When we decided the danger was over and it was time to put out the weekly Star, we gathered up and went to Austin to leave Sherry. Fortunately, we had decided against leaving the van in Austin, because a tornado had destroyed the airport. We got to Brenham and discovered a tree
had fallen on the barn and missed the van by a hair. Mamma dog and one puppy had survived and most of our kids were in good shape.
But as we were scraping off tape from our windows, we vowed to never leave due to a hurricane.
This year is our 30th year to publish the Star. Twenty of those years our printer was located one building off the Seawall in Galveston. Yet we have never missed an issue. We donít intend to this time either.