Of hurricanes, Houston and hope

I arrived in Irving on September 1 and spent the night with some great friends, Smoky and Inez Eggers. The next morning Smoky drove me to Love Airport in Dallas so that I could fly to Houston. By that time, Houston was becoming the home to several thousand evacuees from Louisiana after Hurricane Rita.

As I landed in Houston, I was quickly reminded why I don’t think I could ever live there: humidity and heat. The combination makes me literally sick. Throughout my life numerous family members have lived there so I am very familiar with Houston and its surroundings.

When my niece Denise was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, I made several trips to Houston to visit her. Almost every time I visited I returned home sick. Don’t get me wrong, I love Houston. It’s a great city. It’s just that its climate doesn’t suit me.

Well, it did not surprise me that Houstonians opened their doors, hearts and checkbooks when Katrina evacuees made their way to the city. Houston was offering hope to those in need.

I started the month off in Houston and ended my month in Houston. I had to return the car I borrowed from Macedonian Call Foundation the Monday after Hurricane Rita hit the Texas coast. Most of Houston had emptied and I was worried about terrible traffic jams, so on Saturday after the hurricane made landfall, I drove to the hill country, spent the night and then on Sunday afternoon, drove into Houston.

It was eerily quiet there. Fortunately, I found a gas station open with gas so I filled up since I didn’t know what it was like further in town. After driving around for about 2 hours, I finally found a hotel with a room near the Galleria.

The next morning, a Monday, I found Loop 610 with very few cars and it will probably be the only time I will find it not bumper to bumper. Even in the midst of all the trouble the city had experienced, I found the staff at the hotel and at the restaurants to be very friendly and helpful.

It was a great testimony of the spirit of the city. However, one friend advised me not to go to Houston any time soon as they couldn’t stand another visit by me since two hurricanes preceded both of my visits.