By Janet Payne-Downs
As of this writing, Florence, a category 5 hurricane is headed for the Carolinas. Storm surges, high winds, and flooding will pummel their coast. After Florence wreaks havoc, there are other dire weather situations making their way towards the Gulf Coast. In fact, several tropical storms are about to turn into the H word, headed for you-know-where… Texas, my future home.
I just read that there is a Texas Hurricane Handbook. A handbook?? I need to order one, stat. Typically, Texas hurricanes are from June through November; however, the most active months are August and September. I never thought I would need a swim ring at my age.
Yes, I have experienced other natural phenomenon like earthquakes, especially the one in 1989, which scared me silly. During earthquakes, I absolutely freeze in the moment. I cannot run, hide, move, speak, or scream because I am so terrified. I cry. No amount of coaxing will get me under a table or door-jam.
When hurricane Harvey hit Texas in August of 2017, my son’s family barely escaped the floodwaters. Their town of Friendswood had 53 inches of rain in a four-day period. A few times the water reached the tops of my daughter-in-law’s tires, whereas just one to two blocks away, houses were completely flooded. The only reason my son and his family were fine was because they had “good drainage.” They were extremely lucky. Neighborhoods used Facebook to ask for emergency supplies and to announce where they could be rescued. Despite the chaos, nearby residents were there to deliver what they could. There were many heartwarming stories of generosity.
And if thoughts of impending hurricanes weren’t enough to curl my hair, there is always that Texas summer heat. Let me share with you that my favorite daily temperature is 68 degrees. No ifs, ands, or buts. When I walk my dog Charlie, I do not want my body to flop over, or my pulse to exceed my weight, which I can assure you will happen if I walk in the Death-Valley-Like-Heat. Summer temperatures in Texas are ghastly, often reaching 105 degrees (not counting the humidity factor). Many people have said to me:
“Oh, you’ll get used to the weather.”
Well, actually, I won’t. Ever. I may get used to cowboys, big hair, $400 boots, people saying “y’all,” very warm ocean water, smoked everything, and men with Stetson hats and enormous trucks, but I will LOATHE the sweltering summers.
I wish I could embrace my impending move more. I am aware that right now I feel scared when I think about this huge change. I am trying to change my attitude for the better. The trade-off in leaving Santa Cruz is that there are three small grandchildren, not to mention my son, Michael and his wife, Najla, who want me to be a part of their lives. And I want to be a part of theirs.
Hurricane Janet is on her way!
I invite y’all to mosey on over for my next column, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”