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It took almost 25 years, but we finally consider ourselves real Texans. OK, maybe not Texas Texans but real Houstonians for sure. And it’s all because of Harvey.

It happened when we were trying to figure out how many hurricanes and near-hurricanes we’d been through. Those are the kinds of things you talk about when the power’s off, you can’t watch Netflix, food is molding in the fridge, and you’ve wheeled out the grill and briquettes so you have something to eat.

Back in 1994, we’d been in Kingwood only a few months when we learned how you don’t have to be in the eye of a hurricane to feel its wrath. As I recall, it was Rosa and I was in shock as I watched our backyard fill up, wondering if all that water would find its way into the house.

The house stayed dry, but I learned quickly that you don’t drive through a squall like that. We’d been in Houston that evening, enjoying one of the Inner Loop’s finer restaurants and wondering why nobody was around. That’s because, of course, smart Texans who live along the Gulf know to hunker down when there’s a storm ‘a brewin.’

Oh, did it brew! It’s a miracle we got back to Kingwood alive.

I couldn’t tell you much about most of the storms we’ve been through because I spent them hermetically sealed in the hospital. Hurricane Harvey was different, though. Being retired from Memorial Hermann, I got to spend it at home watching the water rise around us.

But there was something else that made Harvey different from all the other hurricanes and tropical storms we’ve survived. We can thank Mark Zuckerberg for creating something that seemed to connect all of us – for the better. For the first time ever, if we wanted to find out what was going on in the middle of a true disaster like Harvey, we turned first to that irritating little creation that has made Mark Zuckerberg a billionaire.

Was somebody missing? Post it on Facebook.

Did somebody need something? Post it on Facebook.

Was there vital information the rest of us needed to know? Post it on Facebook.

Did somebody deserve kudos? Post it on Facebook.

Was there a need to bring people together? Create a Facebook “group.”

I used to criticize Facebook because it was such a “timesuck.” Not anymore.

Publisher Cynthia Calvert and her Tribune’s posts kept me up to date. So did posts from Houston Councilman Dave Martin, State Rep. Dan Huberty, Lake Houston Chamber President Jenna Armstrong, and the 400 or so people I call my Facebook friends. In fact, Facebook friends and relatives from everywhere checked in on us through the week and made us feel better, just when we needed it.

Now that we’ve survived our umpteenth tropical storm, we’re seriously thinking about installing one of those whole-house gas generators, the kind that kick in instantly when the power goes out.

As for leaving, oh no. We’re here for the long term.

From my home office, I can see our Cornhusker and Jayhawk flags flapping away. That’s where we came from. Thanks to that Hideous Harvey, we’ve added the remarkable Lone Star flag, too.

Do you have some Harvey stories to share? Share them with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.