I was holding up pretty well until I heard my Mom in Houston say these words Sunday morning: “There is a tiny bit of water inside the house. Nothing major and, oh, I just killed a snake in our dining room.”
“WHAT?” I shrieked.
Tears breached my emotional levee as she assured me that it was “More like a baby snake. A worm, really” and my intentions to encourage the Steel Magnolia wound up in contraflow as she calmed my nerves. She developed a nasty cough last week and so it was hard to catch each word she spoke but her placid tone convinced me that she would indeed be fine.
Last week I pleaded with the matriarch to come to Shreveport and get out of harm’s way but like all of my Houston family members and friends she did not leave. No one that I know did. Nobody. There was certainly no mandatory evacuation.
As it turns out the flood waters in Mimi’s house was contained in our fabulous sunken dining room. Classic Brady architecture. The water never amounted to more than three inches inside and her Nissan Rogue was completely unscathed. Her next-door neighbors The Sheridens were not so fortunate, they received over a foot of water throughout their home.
Neighbors Jane and Dean spent the night Sunday Night and would have certainly offered the same hospitality should my Mom have needed it. When I asked her what the tornado plan was she said that The Sheridens helped her clean out an inside closet for their storm shelter.
Thankfully Sunday Night held nothing for Mimi’s small area of Southwest Houston but receding water. The front and back yards were no longer lakes even though other parts of Houston and Texas were totally submerged.
By Monday floodwaters had seeped back outside. She has flood insurance which will help with repairs especially since her never-before-flooded home is on the market. You can actually spy the realtor’s sign in the river of her front yard if you can look closely enough.
Nothing remains the same but change and change the neighborhood has. The “Michael Dell House” caddy-corner from Mimi has long since changed hands and changed hands again. Herod Elementary, the foundation of my childhood was raised to make way for a new Herod. One which my Ex-pat friend in Ireland, Christie Taylor Seaver saw underwater on the news.
Houston is my hometown. She is Pine-tree sap on my fat little Kindergarden hands and Christmas work at Neiman Marcus. Faith in God I found at Westbury Baptist and the love of good parents. Houston is a gang of friends from Caversham who played Breyer Horses instead of Barbies (I had the blonde ones) endless birthday cakes and streamer-wrapped rooms.
My hometown memories are James Avery bracelets and Halloween Carnivals and doing life with those from other countries, beliefs and perspectives. Houston is Jill and Colleen’s adventures and Amy Skjonsby’s Duran Duran posters.
To see so many hometown friends and acquaintances’ social media posts of homes underwater and offers of help is completely surreal. I cannot fathom how bizarre it must be to live there right now. I asked Mimi for a picture to prove that she was O.K. and she sent me this pictures of her neighbors & herself.