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Friday, May 13, 2011

Hijinks at ParaJunkee, Part 2 of Armageddon

Thanks to Blogger, yesterday's post disappeared along with any comments. My sincere apologies.
Here's a quick recap on where I've been lately.
Yesterday, I was at ParaJunkee's View. (There's still a book giveaway going on there so be sure to comment.)

The day before I was at Housewife Blues and Chihuahua Stories with Professor Iko. (Lots of doggie pictures there.)

And the day before that I was at the Carina blog with an overview of Hurricane Rita--along with pictures evidence.
If Blogger will agree to cooperate with Galaxy Express, I'll be appearing there next with Diane Dooley (of Blue Galaxy fame). I'll post an update as soon as I see it go live.

But let's backtrack and let me tell you a little about ParaJunkee.
ParaJunkee, aka Rachel Rivera is a wonderful book blogger (and I'm not just saying that cuz she liked True Believers). Rachel really does give a balanced opinion on the books she reviews. I often compare my notes with her reviews on the books we've both read and I usually come to the same conclusions she did.

Rachel is also a graphic artist!! Check out her work here. One of my favorite features on ParaJunkee is when Rachel answers technical issues like formatting, blogging, and other imponderables on her blog. I am in awe of her prowess when it comes to html coding. (We won't recount my shortcomings in that realm.) But if you have questions, she has answers.

So stop by and visit me at her place. As a bonus, I am giving away one copy of Apocalypse Rising to a random commenter at Parajunkee.

On to part two on the aftermath of Hurricane Rita.

The following article was to appear in a country magazine, but I pulled it when the publisher and I disagreed on appropriate compensation. This article is copyrighted. Please do not reprint without permission. Part Two of Three. Go here for Part One.

"Armageddon At Your Doorstep" by Maria Zannini
Part 2 of 3

I packed Greg with everything I could think of—from battery-powered lanterns to a hand-cranked radio. But our biggest problem was gasoline, or more to the point, gasoline containers. We called stores for 50 miles in every direction from the Dallas area. There was not a single gas can to be had at any price.

A friend came to the rescue when her church heard of our plight. It so happened they had plenty of containers already filled with gas. They refused to take our money and offered their gifts to us gladly. Nothing quite humbles you like the gift of kindness, especially in an hour of need.

Greg made the 300-mile trip, every inch of that truck filled to the brim with food, supplies, a tent, and a new chain saw. He also carried a gun. The rampant looting of New Orleans was still fresh in our memories.

To my knowledge, there were no reports of looting anywhere in the Texas disaster zones. Maybe because we had been hit so hard, it hardly seemed worth looting. When Rita plowed through Port Arthur and Beaumont, she kept going for sixty more miles, savaging the area like a stump grinder.

Greg called me as soon as he reached home, and his first words were, “My God, it looks like Tunguska.” Trees and power poles snapped like toothpicks, running north to south. Debris was everywhere. The town was raped of people, animals and sound.

He threaded his way down our street and slowed as he turned into our driveway. He didn’t get far. Trees were down everywhere. Our house was buried under a crown of limbs.

But things weren’t that bad. Several humongous trees had crashed on top of the house and barn but both structures remained standing. There were gaping holes in the roofs of all our buildings, and the foundation had shifted on the house, but they were all salvageable.

Water and electricity were out. The power line running to our house lay buried under a mountain of rubble. Dozens of towering oaks were ripped out of the ground, their roots exposed. One of them dragged up our root-tangled water pipe with it. We wished we had thought of blocking off the water, gas and electricity before evacuating. No one expected this violent a storm.

Greg hauled out our ancient generator. He had little hope it would start. It hadn’t seen the light of day in over ten years. Amazingly, on the third pull, it cranked. More than anything else, that one tool made life bearable.

When it got too dark to see he laid out his supplies in the only room of the house that was still in one piece. A battery-powered lantern was his only light, and he ate cold ravioli from a can. Our grill had gone with the wind, and by this time he was too tired to make a campfire.

Life was a perverse dichotomy. The bathroom facility was the third tree from the left, while brushing his teeth with bottled water made him feel like the idle rich.

When I arrived two days later, he was tired, filthy and a little skinnier. He was also very glad to see me. 

One thing you rarely hear about is the psychological impact of isolation. Our cell phone calls were frequently dropped, and in the early days after impact, it was almost impossible to get reliable information.

That improved within days. While the media outside the affected areas often told varnished tales, that wasn’t true about the media inside the strike zone. Every radio station in the area banded together and found one working facility where they could provide support and information for the community.

Anyone who could handle a microphone took turns sitting in that seat, broadcasting every tidbit of information without interruption. They directed people to FEMA and Red Cross locations. They made announcements on behalf of churches, rescue groups and neighbors now funneling into the area to offer assistance. Unlike the media outside the strike zone, our local media put aside any attempt at sensationalism and pulled together to keep the lines of communication open.

Just being able to hear another human voice was a godsend. Even if we didn't see anyone, we knew we were no longer alone.
Monday, I will post part three of three, as well as a list of supplies I've found to be invaluable during a natural disaster.


Madeleine said...

Sorry your post and comments got lost too. Frustrating and time consuming. I'm glad I keep copies of things on my hard drive and comments in the emails (if that doesn't sound too anal!) I love the passion in your writing and have added your books to my to buy list :O)