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We Are Not Safer
By Amy Branham
Houston, Texas. Hurricane Rita has come and gone from Houston. I am happy to report that all of my family and friends came through the experience alive and unscathed physically, but I think emotionally we’ll be feeling the after effects for a very, very long time. This past week has been an emotional roller coaster for all of us.
We started making preparations for Hurricane Rita Tuesday afternoon when we began to realize that the Texas coast was the most likely target for Hurricane Rita to hit. My family lives about 70 miles inland from the Gulf Coast, in far northwest Harris County, but damage from a hurricane can be devastating this far inland and even further, as we have all seen. Jim, my husband, took off work early and came home to begin making preparations on the house, and I took the rest of the week off work to do the same. We went to Home Depot, where there was a rush on plywood. We were fortunate enough that in our part of town, not everyone had swamped the store yet to board up their windows. We were able to get enough to cover all of our windows, but it cost us nearly $400 to do it.
Earlier in the day Jaime and I went to the grocery store to stock up on supplies. The shelves were completely empty of any kind of water and most canned goods were sold out. Just before we left, a delivery of bottled water was brought into the store, and we were able to grab three cases. Later, we were busy trying to decide what was most important for us to take with us when we left home. My daughter, Jaime, and I were also busy packing irreplaceable possessions as best we could and putting them in the safest place in the house with the hope that they would still be there when we returned.
At the time Rita was only a category 3 or 4.
Wednesday morning we cancelled our plans to go to Washington DC for the peace rally. I made the phone calls I needed to make to let Gold Star Families for Peace members know we wouldn’t be joining them for the rally. I sure wish we could have been there. All accounts report an awesome display of patriotism and peace. I am so very, very proud of the citizens of this country who are finally catching on!
We worked all day to get the house boarded up so we could get out of Houston as soon as humanly possible. Wednesday was an emotion packed day. Before my son died, he said “Mom, if anything happens to me while I’m in Iraq, I want you to take the life insurance money I’m leaving you and buy a house.