This will be a limited edition because I have been temporarily displaced by our friend Harvey and related flooding in the Houston area and many of my research capabilities and resources have been curtailed for awhile. But I want to say a few words about this unprecedented calamity and the response it has produced.
This event has been variously described as one for 500, 800, and even 1,000 years, pick a number, but I know this: I have been in my home for 41 years and, until last week, there had been water over our curb twice, and never more than a few feet into the lawn, so for us it’s at least a 40-year event. But we’ll get through it, which brings me to my main point.
In between calls to insurance companies, contractors, utility companies, and related over the past week, like everyone else here and abroad who have been monitoring the TV coverage, I have observed Houston at its best. From the thousands who immediately flocked to the shelters to simply do what needed done for the dispossessed, to the armada of private watercraft of all shapes and sizes manned by volunteers who boldly rushed to fill the need for help in the evacuation of refugees (including me), to the thousands of stories and scenes of neighbors who literally saved numerous lives in their respective neighborhoods, to the many millions of dollars immediately donated by businesses large and small to help fund the relief and recovery effort, we again have witnessed the true spirit of Houston which has long been in evidence for those of us who live here.
So we’ll continue to be the place that we’re known for—the “can do” city with the indomitable entrepreneurial drive, the so-called “Hong Kong of the Western Hemisphere”, the city that people from around the world seek out to fulfill their version of the American dream, the city in which there is no barrier to full acceptance, be it wealth, class, or race and ethnicity—but what shows most in the response to Harvey is a character that runs even deeper, and it’s why I tell people in and outside Texas that if we didn’t have a Houston we would want to build one. And we will certainly immediately rebuild the one we have, even better.
I’ll be back in touch soon.
vern wuensche says
You said it wonderfully for me and all Houstonians, Jim. THANKS!
Tom Rushing says
Sorry, Jim, for your personal flooding. Hope to see you at C club lunch
Jim, the world is watching what we are doing in Texas and Houston in particular as we take care of ourselves and any and all who need help in many ways. Thank you for your thoughts on our caring citizens.
Victoria Wind says
This is why I miss Houston so much and why I’ll always be a Houstonian no matter where I am in the world. #HoustonProud
SAM ALTIMORE says
I am so sorry to hear of your personal loss; hopefully you will be able to get back to normal soon. Houston is at it’s finest when the chips are down, and Harvey is no exception. Our prayers are with you and so many others.
Sandy Kress says
Sorry for your loss, Jim, and hoping you’re restored to relative normalcy soon. Lovely essay.
Ken DeWeese says
You are, as usual, correct about Houston and the “can-do” spirit. While Texas is unique, different from the other 49, Houston is unique within the unique state of Texas. Many of us look forward to you getting back to “normal” for your unique thoughts and perspectives!
Stan Rauhut says
Jim, sorry your home was catch in the floods. I sincerely hope your extensive library escaped serious loss. Hope to see you soon, but our monthly breakfast may need to be relocated.
Linda W. Banks says
Jim, you did a beautiful job of telling it like it is. There is no place else like Houston. I’m so sorry that you and Lela were victims of Harvey, but you, like Houston, will rebound. Best wishes.
Ron Swantkowski says
Well said. Sorry to hear you had to evacuate. Our home is still under water in Barkers Landing. We are still in the Poconos and feeling helpless. Luckily we have great family support in handling our homestead. Good luck to you in the recovery.
Danny Billingsley says
Jim I’m sorry you’ve been flooded and displaced. I will miss your observations and commentary while your. You’re a great champion for Houston, Texas and our children. Hope for a speedy return. Danny
Lukin T. Gilliland, Jr. says
Wonderful writing! Houston certainly embodies the “can do” spirit of this great State. Another Phoenix will rise up out of the ashes, and you’ll tell us how it was done. Here’s to a speedy recovery!
Ryan Rush says
Well said Jim – We were rescued ourselves out of Thornwood. I like how you made the comment that there is no barrier to being a Houstonian. The guys that rescued us were all from Mexico. When I offered to give them some cash to just say “thanks”, they wanted nothing of it. They were there on a private mission to help others and 100% out of the goodness of their hearts. After this event and the response, I have never been more proud to call Houston my home.