First, let me clarify, I am NOT talking about my marriage. I am talking about a relationship that started developing way back in 1965. My first was named Betsy. She was a “Cat-4” when she was on her way to New Orleans. At the time, I was a five-year-old kid - you might say I was a “Brat-5.” I was staying at Grandmama’s house for safe keeping – her house being further from the levee than ours and, therefore, safer. Well, the levee near us failed. Even today, many people claim the levee was purposely opened in our neighborhood in a deliberate effort to save the French Quarter from flooding. My sisters and I were loaded into a metal boat along with some food. Mama, Daddy and Grandpapa waded in the water pushing us back towards our own house. Heavens to Betsy! But through it all, it was sort of a fun adventure from my perspective.
My next run-in was when I was just 23 years old and living alone near the U of H main campus. I had heard about Alicia and knew she was coming. Sitting out on the hood of my car at sunset, my friend and I marveled at how beautiful the sky looked. When Alicia finally visited in the middle of the night -- a long and scary night -- she left me stranded. She left me without power for eight days. Oh sure, Alicia brought excitement (along with the $5 bags of ice). But in the end, she left and headed up north. How rude.
Here came Ike in 2008. By this time, it was males and females in rotation. Ike definitely left his mark here. It is sort of like having a relationship with Ike Turner. You may enjoy his music, but you might also walk away with a black eye or busted lip during the encounter.
Ike was followed, of course, by Harvey some years later. He was like the houseguest who refused to leave. Big and strong, Harvey had us sitting on the porch for hours watching in wonderment at the wind and intermittent rain. And it was that intermittent part that was the one favor we had from Harvey. He left his mark here a little at a time and, in doing so, spared this area the crazy flooding that others experienced. He definitely outstayed his welcome. Goodbye Harvey.
But the fiercest stormy relationship that I’ve experienced, the one I could not even photograph because of its violent tendencies, had no name. It came up along the railroad tracks a few years ago and was bad news from the get-go. We had to keep our doors locked at the office just to keep this bad boy out, as he kept trying to force the doors open. The streets flooded, Highway 6 was closed, our day turned into night in the middle of the afternoon and the destruction began. Nope, it didn’t even have a name. Just wham, bam, thank you ma’am.
I know I am not alone when it comes to people who can appreciate a good storm. But before you write in, let me say that, yes, I know many people suffered great harm. Many were killed and billions worth of damages were sustained throughout these events. I wish that were not the case. But that having been said, I also know that these visitors are brought about by nature. And that’s the nature of nature. It’s naturally amazing.
Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County.