Donerail Farm

Running From Rita

By Cyndi Craig
Ed note: This was written in September of 2005 when Hurricane Rita was churning toward the coast of Texas. We had decided
to evacuate from our home 30 miles from the coast, along with our six horses and five barn cats.
 Where to begin? I have lived in Houston my entire life – 49 years – and I have never evacuated from a hurricane. 
I have vivid memories of Hurricane Carla in 1961.  I was only five years old, but I recall my father moving our travel trailer
 in between our house and the house next door, and my brother helping him tie it down. After the storm, my brother and
I made boats out of scraps of wood and sailed them down our flooded street in
Pasadena. Some time later, we drove down
to Kemah, right on the coast, where we surveyed damage. I remember our favorite restaurant looking like a large pile of scrap
  – unrecognizable as having ever been a building. The whole area looked like a giant’s game of pickup sticks
 Twenty years later, I also went through hurricane Alicia in August of 1983. I was living on the south side of Houston
 (but farther from the coast than I do now) and I had one horse boarded at a stable. We had high winds and lost some
large branches, but had no house flooding or other damage. I remember that night, though, and being unable to sleep due
to the wind. I also got up, wondering why I kept seeing flashes of lightening. I felt sure there was no lightening during a
hurricane. When I looked out the window, the lightening turned out to be the transformer in our backyard, sparking.
When it finally went, it did so with a loud boom, and so began our ten days of life with no power. It was miserable –
 there was no ice available anywhere, and we would go to restaurants with power and linger long after we finished eating,
reluctant to leave the cool. Getting ready for work without power was fun, too. It was too dark to put on makeup when I got
 up, and I felt sweaty again almost immediately after taking a shower. And of course, no hair dryer.
 The phones were out and it was two days before we could make our way to the stable without encountering flooded streets
 to make sure my horse (who was on full board so someone else was caring for him) was okay.
And he was.
 Several things contributed to my decision to run from this hurricane:  Seeing what happened to people who waited too late
during Katrina,
the fact that my husband and I have six horses,  including a foal that is less than 3 months old, and hearing
 the forecasters say this storm was the third strongest ever recorded.
 My horses are my children. I could not leave them to fend for themselves during the storm. If I could not leave with them, 
I could
not leave. I know many people may think that is stupid  but even if I survived by leaving them to fend for themselves
 and possibly drown,
I think the guilt would eventually kill me.
 Our first logistical problem in deciding to pack up four barn cats, a  housecat and six horses was the fact that our two trucks 
and trailers
only hold five horses.  Fortunately a friend from Friendswood, had two horses and a three-horse trailer and
offered to take one of
 Fortunately, I had finally gotten serious about ‘disaster preparedness’in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and had actually 
researched possible places
to take the horses. I even had it all down on paper. During the summer, in the course of my
usual obsessive/compulsive need to be prepared, I had also stockpiled water by just grabbing a gallon or two of water
 every time I thought about it while I was at Wal-Mart. I also had gotten an additional two larger pet crates for our cats,
so I had a total of four.
  On Monday, we started seriously thinking about leaving. Mike was against it at that point and we had a ‘discussion’ 
about it. I was afraid if we did
not leave early, we would get stuck in a mass traffic jam on the road and I knew we
could not risk that –especially since temperatures were running around 95-97 with a heat index of 103-105– about ten
degrees hotter than usual for this time of year. (
Sunday 9/25/05, as I edit this, the heat index in Houston is 108.)
  Tuesday I made some calls to the Guadalupe County Fairgrounds in Seguin and the San Antonio Rose Palace– about
 3 and 4 hours away
from us, respectively – two of my designated hurricane evac destinations. I decided to go for Seguin
since it was closer and the stalls were half
the price of what the Rose Palace was charging. But then I could not find a hotel
within 100 miles. All hotels anywhere close to
Houston were already filled with Katrina evacuees, and Houston-area residents
already started panicking and making hotel reservations too. Well, I thought, if worst comes to worst, we can just sleep
on cots in our trailers, which is what we do
when we go to endurance rides. Not fun in the heat…
 Then I thought about Camp Coyote, a summer camp and corporate retreat in Huntsville, about two hours north of
 our farm. I had never been there, but knew friends who had gone to some of their “ladies only” weekend rides, and
 knew they had lots of stalls, a covered arena and bunkhouses. I put in a call to them to see if they were planning to
open their facility for evacuees and talked to Kay King.
 She said she and her husband were just talking about it, and that he was gone to town just then but they would make
 a decision when he came back.  I left my name and number and Kay called me about an hour later and said yes,
come on. So I made reservations for our horses and my friend, Martha’s horses, along with spots in the bunkhouse
 for all four of us – Martha and her husband, Frank, and Mike and me. Kay said in order to accommodate the most
 people, they were going to have a ‘guys’ and a “gals’ bunkhouse. Sounded great to me. She also said they were not
going to charge anyone! I protested and told her she surely needed to charge and they were more than happy to pay
 for her very kind hospitality. More about that later.
 Mike had a meeting at University of Houston Tuesday evening – I watched the news and hurricane Rita was gathering
strength and several computer models showed it heading straight for Galveston – less than 30 miles from our farm. By
7:30 p.m., I’d already made the decision we had to leave by the next day. So that night I started trying to get stuff together
 and start ‘flood proofing’ our house. (Fortunately we DID have flood insurance, even though our 50-year-old house had
 never flooded.) When Mike walked in the door he took one look at me, and the “packing in progress”  and knew I’d
 decided to evacuate, and he knew there would be no more ‘discussion’ about it.  (I can be very stubborn. ;) ) From that
 point in time, we worked steadily to get essential stuff packed, and do everything we could to protect our home and
 We rolled up all the oriental rugs and took most of the paintings down off the walls. I took down all the stained glass 
hanging in windows and secured them all as best I could. Mike brought in bricks that line the top of our stucco wall
 and we used them to get furniture up higher. My favorite paintings and stained glass pieces, I wrapped in several layers
 of plastic garbage bags and padding  and taped them up and stacked them in the highest place I could find.
 We really worried about the huge trees we have  - with high winds, they could easily come crashing through the roof, 
so I moved the best furniture to the center of rooms, and away from windows. By the time we were finished ‘hurricane
proofing’ the house, there were chairs stacked on top of tables, on top of couches, furniture shoved together in the middle
 of rooms and all covered with tarps – basically it looked like either a hurricane had already hit, or the looters had!
 Outside, we moved all the patio furniture into the garage and generally just moved anything we thought would be blown
 around. And, for the first time since we bought the house in 2002, our three-car garage actually had a CAR parked in it –
our little red ‘run around town’ Escort!
 I loaded all the tack I could into the dressing room of my trailer and rounded up all the buckets I could find to use for
 feeding and watering. Other than my tack, the only other things I took were some of my jewelry.
  It was a sickening feeling to look around and wonder what our house was going to look like when we came back or 
if all the lovely things I’ve inherited from my parents and grandparents, and collected over my lifetime would be
 salvageable. But I didn’t think about that much – basically, I had no trouble prioritizing what was most important to
 me: Family, horses and cats. (Mike might suggest, not in that order.)  I figured if we made it out with us, horses
 and cats ok, I could live with the total loss of the house and its contents. It is fairly amazing how, in the face of
peril, your priorities seamlessly and almost painlessly change gears.
 I didn’t pay nearly as much attention to packing for myself as I did the horses – I just stuffed an assortment of
 jeans, t-shirts and underwear into a bag, along with barn shoes and of course, riding clothes. I knew the Camp
 was on 2,000 acres and I hoped to at least get in some riding while we waited for the hurricane to come.
 Wednesday morning as we packed up, Mike and I started grabbing barn cats whenever they sauntered into the barn 
and stuffing them in crates. We have one housecat, Bubba, who was “promoted” from barn cat status to housecat
status about two years ago and four barn cats: an orange and white named Punkin, a long-haired gray tabby named
 Skeeter , and a black and white named Momcat, whose sole indiscretion prior to being spayed produced
Bubba and Skeeter.
 Finally it was time to leave – we left our house at 10 a.m..   I took my half Arab pinto mare, Lisa, and her 3-month-old
 foal, Faeryn, in my 2-horse trailer. I had two barn cats in crates with me in the cab of the truck – Bubba my huge
Maine Coon-type housecat, and Momcat.
  Mike followed me with Fling in his trailer and we would meet Martha at the Home Depot, where we would then load
 Fling into Martha’s trailer.  Then Mike was to go back home load up his horses, Rroc and Thor, and Nanja,
my Dutch WB mare, and the remaining three crated barn cats, and be right behind us.
  One note: never put clumping cat litter in your cat’s crate. I thought it would be a good idea, to absorb the urine in
 case the cats just couldn’t hold it long enough and had to pee in their crates. Wrong. When you put a longhaired cat
in a crate with regular litter and they pee, the litter turns to wet clay and sticks all over them and makes little Gumby-like
 appendages hanging all over them. Then, when the litter dries, it has a consistency approximating concrete.
 It was immediately apparent when we got to Highway 6 that it was no ordinary Wednesday morning. The traffic was
worse than I had ever seen there. It was moving, but very heavy. By the time we got to the intersection of 35 and 6,
 traffic was backed up about ¼ mile – also something I had never seen, even in rush hour traffic. We got there and no Martha.
 Thank goodness for cell phones – I called her and she couldn’t find her purse! So I told her we’d just head her direction
and meet at the HEB parking lot closer to her home. From there we decided to just head straight up I-45 to
normally about a two-hour drive.
 When we got to I-45 (the only evacuation route from Galveston Island, just about 20 miles south) I was pretty shocked to
 see the traffic – stacked up as far as you could see – but a least it was moving. It was at that point I realized just how
 seriously everyone in the Houston-Galveston area was taking this hurricane threat. Little did I realize how lucky
we actually were.
 Normally, Huntsville is about a 2 ½ hour drive from where we live. Traffic was very heavy all the way to downtown – 
we did about 10 miles an hour, but as long as we were moving, I was okay. I had my cell phone and charger and
 Martha and I kept in touch along the way. There was no rhyme or reason to why we moved along at the speed limit
 in some spots, and in other places we just crawled.  I got worried about my transmission. It was not made to go
 15 miles an hour, stop and go, hauling a fully loaded horse trailer, for hours on end. My truck started making this
 ominous “clunk” sound when I accelerated from a stop. I just prayed it was just overheating and that would be alleviated
 by some high speed travel at some point down the road, or would at least get me to Huntsville before it went belly up!
 At Conroe, I had to stop, and I wanted to check on Lisa and Faeryn. They rode very quietly the entire time but I was 
worried about how hot they might be. I worried for nothing – when I opened the door, baby Faeryn stuck her nose
out and was cheerful, happy and seemed to think this was all great fun!
 Finally, after 5 ½ hours on the road , we arrived at Camp Coyote. I had been worried about the prospect of having to put
 Lisa and Faeryn in a 10x10 stall together for days on end. Faeryn isn’t weaned yet, and they can’t be separated, but at
home they have a double stall when they’re in the barn. My worries were quickly put to rest – all of the stalls were huge –
 probably 15 x 15 – and constructed of solid pipe frames, smaller pipe and board slats with no room for even the tiniest
hoof to become trapped. It was a great relief to me! We got everyone unloaded, got water for everyone and then I tried to
 call Mike to see where he was, since I thought he was only about an hour behind us. It was about
4:30 by this time. And
hotter than hell. Along the way, I had seen dozens of dogs locked in crates in the backs of pickup trucks. I was very sure a
 fair number of those dogs died. Some, I could tell, were already dead. A dog in a crate in the back of a truck on a 100-degree
day might be fine when the truck is moving along at 40-65 miles per hour on the freeway – but not for hours on end,
crawling along in traffic under the hot sun. I had our cats inside the cab with me, and I knew Mike had the other ones with
 him, also in the cab.
 It was really tough getting through on cell phones – everybody in the area was trying to get through. We’d been listening 
to the radio and were beginning to hear stories of people being on the road for seven and eight hours and only traveling
50 miles. We were grateful to already be at our destination, with a safe place for our horses, and an air conditioned place
 to sleep! We were also probably the only people within hundreds of miles who had ice! The camp had its own
commercial-sized ice maker that we were welcome to use!
I finally got through to Mike to discover he’d had a flat on the freeway and he was waiting for U.S. Rider
 (the equine equivalent of Triple A Auto) to come and help. He assured me they were to be there within half an hour
and then he’d be on the road. I’m glad I did not know at that point that this was just the beginning of an odyssey that
 would not end until many hours later.
Wednesday 5:00 p.m.
 We got the horses settled and Martha, Frank and I headed into Huntsville to the Wal-Mart for essential supplies. I had
 not had time to go to the grocery
store before I left and just grabbed whatever I could throw into the truck before we left,
which consisted of a large jar of peanut butter and peanuts in the shell. Not exactly gourmet fare and certainly not enough
to last 2 or 3 days.  Frank and Martha wanted to grab a cheap grill since they’d just bought a lot of steaks a few days before
 and were afraid if the power went out they’d go bad, so they brought them along to eat while we were here. They definitely
 ate better than Mike and I did!
  The Wal-Mart trip gave me a small taste of what Katrina survivors must have gone through. It was the day after Christmas
 sales to the tenth power but with an undercurrent of barely-restrained panic. The juice/water/soda aisles
were decimated.
I went down the fruit aisle and swept up dried apricots, peaches and raisins. I grabbed other stuff I thought we could
 survive on for a few days: jerky, chex mix, a huge can of cashews, breakfast bars, cookies, etc.  Thanks to horse
showing and endurance riding, Mike and I always keep a good supply of water in the dressing rooms of our trailers, so
we didn’t need water. Good thing, since no one had any.
 Bubba, my long-haired, 16-lb housecat was NOT handling the heat or stress well in his plastic carrier. It was not 
ventilated enough for him, and he was panting continuously, even when I put his crate in the shade.  The barn cats
 were locked, loose, in my relatively cool aluminum horse trailer, parked under a tree back at the camp, and with
a thick bed of shavings on the floor. Every time I checked on them they seemed content, albeit bored. I think Punkin
 was disappointed there were no mice in there to hunt!
 Anyway, at Walmart, I hoped to find a large wire crate that would give Bubba more room and more air. (I was told 
before coming that pets were not allowed inside due to people with allergies – I understood that.) I also wanted a
harness and leash to put on him so I could move him from crate to crate without the risk of him getting away from me
on a 2,000 acre ranch. I managed to find a harness that was probably not quite small enough for him, but hoped would do,
 and found a wire crate that was not as large as I had hoped to get, but bigger and airier than the crate I brought with me.
And it was the last one they had. All the regular pet carriers were wiped off the shelves. Then we stopped at the Chili’s
Huntsville, got food to go and headed back to the camp.  It was very surreal, the short trip from Camp to Huntsville
 there was litter all over the sides of roads, from people who had been stopped along the freeway. There were many cars
 abandoned on the side of the road because, we assumed, they’d run out of gas and there was none to be had anywhere
 near any freeway from
Houston to Dallas or Austin.
 We got back to the Camp and it was about 7 p.m. by now, and Mike had been on the road since about 11:45 a.m. 
Remember, he was making what was normally a 2.5 hour drive, and should have only taken him an hour to reach the
Camp from where he had the flat. I kept trying to call him to see if he was on the road yet, but it was very difficult to get
 through. When I finally got through, I got discouraging news – the US Rider guy had shown up, and changed his tire,
but the spare was pretty bad and he told him he would just have another flat if he didn’t get another tire before he headed
 out anywhere.
 Fortunately there was a Walmart very close by and Mike went there and said he was waiting for them to change the tire.
How long could it take to change a tire? Of course, I figured they might be crazy busy with everyone trying to evacuate,
but Mike said the horses were doing ok, and he had water for them, etc.
I finished unloading everything and set up water buckets for Mike’s horses when he got there. A few hours later, Mike 
called and said the Walmart didn’t have a wrench the right size to take the lug nuts off his truck tire to change it! I could
 not believe it. We’re not talking some exotic vehicle – we’re talking a ’96 Dodge truck. It ended up the guy at Wal-Mart
 had a buddy who he ‘thought’ might have the wrench they needed – he called him and the guy, who lived a few miles away,
 actually jogged down the shoulder of the freeway (which was totally backed up with vehicles) toward Wal-mart and Mike
started out toward him, they met in the middle and Mike jogged back to Wal-Mart with the wrench! There are thousands
of amazing stories of ‘random acts of kindness’ like these that happen in the face of adversity! 
 Mike told me later (fortunately!) that he had to unhitch the trailer for them to put the truck up on the rack to change the tire –
 which meant he had to unload all three of our horses in the Wal-Mart parking lot – which I am sure was packed. He found
three helpful strangers to HOLD the horses (since he was not real comfy with tying them to an empty trailer not attached
 to a vehicle!)  I almost swooned at that -- my very expensive, high strung show horse Nanja, being held by some
stranger in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It is a good thing I was not there – I would have made her nervous – Mike said she
took it all in stride and seemed totally unconcerned about her odd adventure!
 While I waited for Mike, I cared for horses and tried to alleviate Bubba’s panting. I was getting very concerned about him. 
The poor cat was totally out of his element, and due to the clumping cat litter I’d put in his carrier (trying to do him a favor!)
 he now had dried clay stuck all over him in his lovely long hair. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I put Bubba
in the harness I’d bought at Wal-Mart, got the scissors out of my horse show kit in my trailer dressing room and took
 him to the nearest hose at the barn. I hacked off as much hair on his stomach and back legs as I could in an effort to
get him cooler. I then turned the hose on him to scrub out the dried-on clay litter, and also to get him cooler. Bubba
was very good for it all, and I actually think he was grateful for the relief. I went back down to the shade where the
 trailer was parked, set up Bubba’s airy wire cage, sat a lawn chair next to it, put Bubba in the cage and just tried to chill out.
  The next few hours were spent worrying about Mike and where he was. Cell phones were not working – the system 
was totally overloaded with people trying to call. He finally pulled in around
midnight. It had taken him almost four
hours to make what should have been an hour-long drive.
 We were exhausted and fell into bed after midnight. During the night, in the ‘girls’’ dorm, I heard people continue to
 arrive during the night.
Mike and I decided our first order of business – after feeding and watering the horses (which takes more time than you
 might think!) was to fill up the gas tanks in his truck.
 We decided to head for Madisonville, a small town about 18 miles away. Madisonville is not on the highway and we
thought we would have a better chance finding gas (everywhere around
Houston was already out, we’d heard). We
 stopped first at a small grocery store (small by
Houston standards anyway) and were able to get gas at their station.
I went inside and had a larger choice of non-perishables than I’d found at Wal-Mart, although they were already
 out of bread.
 I wanted to find a feed store to buy some more hay, since we had only room to take four bales with us when we left 
and I did not know for sure how long we would be there.
Madisonville was a charming little town and you could almost
 forget about the total hysteria and frenzy that was happening just a few miles away. We found a library there with computers,
 but their Internet connection was not working. We ate lunch at a Dairy Queen and it was _almost_ like a vacation.
 No one was sure yet exactly where or when Hurricane Rita would make landfall. We got back to the Camp in the afternoon
 and Mike saddled up to explore the ranch and condition his horses (single-minded, he is!). 
 I took Lisa and Faeryn out briefly, with Mike’s help, and then took Fling out, who is just beside herself. It is all way too
 exciting for her. She got loose from him and ran straight back to the barn! So then I saddled up Nanja, who was in a
tizzy about Mike’s horses getting out of her sight. We had lots of energy and even did a fair totally unscheduled passage!
 I was taking Bubba out of his carrier to transfer to his wire cage and he got away from me! Even though he had a harness 
and leash, the harness, which was just a tad too large, allowed him to slip loose. My heart stopped! My poor cat loose on
2,000 acres. I never knew I could run so fat. Bubba stopped and hunkered down, totally freaked out by everything.
When I picked him up, he was so scared and panicked, he scratched me and I had blood pouring from the wounds,
but I did not even notice. I was just so glad to have caught him! Kay, the owner, saw this and said “He’s not doing very
well, is he?” To which I answered, “No, he’s not.”  She said I could put him in the air conditioned rec room since no
one slept there. Other people ended up putting their crated dogs in a closet in the rec room later in the day.
 So now Bubba was much better and I was no longer fretting about him! I put his cage on the floor where he could see 
everything (he is afraid of strangers and was perfectly happy to be in his wire cage where he could see everything, but
no one “bothered” him. Everyone gathered in the rec room to watch the news. It was there we heard everyone’s stories
 of their marathon trip to
Huntsville. One couple who lived just south of us had spent SEVENTEEN hours on the road!
For a two hour trip! With horses! It was all beginning to seem very surreal.
 Dinner was an assortment of dried fruit, jerky, crackers, etc.  
 Friday morning it was grey and overcast. We went to Madisonville again to eat lunch. This time, Madisonville was 
out of gas, too.  Now forecasters were predicting landfall that evening, but to the south of
 As I write this in the “rec” room at Camp Coyote, it’s  8:30 p.m. Friday  and the wind is really starting to kick up and it’s 
started raining The horses have all been fed and watered for the evening, and we all went around the barn aisles trying to
‘batten down the hatches” and secure anything we thought would blow around. People have been straggling in by twos,
 threes and fours ever since we got here, and now we number about 40 people and an equal number of horses.
 I’m trying to imagine how strong the winds must be in
Houston now. I heard on the radio a few minutes ago that 60,000
 homes had already lost power. If we lose power at home, we have no water since we are on a water well.  This is about
 the first time I’ve been able to sit down and start writing about this experience, but I’ve been ‘writing it’ in my head since
we got here. It finally got to the point I had to sit down and try and start putting it down on ‘paper’ albeit electronically.)
  The horses have all handled this well. It has been very, very hot. Unseasonably hot. And the barn they’re in does 
not have very good ventilation. It has not been all vacation – it is amazing how much work our six horses command,
when they’re stalled 24/7. Stalls have to be cleaned several times a day, and they have to be watered several times a day
and given hay several times a day. There is only one hose at each end of the large barn, and it has to be dragged around
 and down to their stalls. And there’s only one hose for every twenty stalls or so.  The horses also have to be taken out
of their stalls at least once a day for awhile. The barn is now full and I am not comfortable taking Lisa and her baby out.
Before the barn filled, there was a large round pen where I could take them and put them for awhile, but now it is occupied
by other evacuated horses.
  Bubba has finally adapted and since he’s now able to stay in the air conditioned rec room, I am not worried about him. 
The first day I really did worry that he might die. I am sure many pets HAVE died during the evacuation.
I went to bed around\
11 p.m. with the hurricane predicted to have landfall sometime during the early morning hours.
 I slept like a log and heard nothing during the night. We had a bit of wind overnight and some rain, and it is still windy. 
The hurricane hit just east of
Sabine Pass, about 100 miles from our home, before dawn. East Texas, Galveston and
Bolivar Penninsula had major winds. We are just 30 miles from
Galveston so I am concerned about how much wind
damage we might have gotten. Storm surges were seven feet in
Galveston, I heard, so I am not worried about flooding,
thank goodness.
 They are telling people not go all go home en mass to avoid another highway nightmare. Few gas stations have fuel as of yet. 
We have plenty of gas to make it home, even if it takes us twice as long as normal. Mike wants to leave now. I am not sure,
but am anxious to get home, so will probably go along with him.
 We left Camp Coyote around 10 a.m. Saturday. It was still pretty windy but I figured things would die down in the 
two hours it would take us to get home. I did not want to go home if we had no electricity (and therefore no water) so
 I had the brilliant idea of calling our answering machine to see if it worked.  It did. ;)
 Kay King of Camp Coyote would not let us pay her for our stay. I sent her a donation for their underprivileged camper
fund. It would have cost us several hundred dollars just to keep our horses somewhere else. Their hospitality was wonderful.
  We had a few traffic slowdowns on the way home, and each one would make me have “flashbacks” to just a few days 
earlier, but each mini-snarl cleared and we had clear sailing all the way home. The roads were virtually deserted – no doubt
 since gas was still in very short supply. The medians looked like they’d been the site of some huge rock concert, with trash and litter everywhere – along with still-abandoned cars here and there.
  It was windy, and got windier the closer we got to the coast. I would not have wanted to tow a trailer in winds any higher.
  When we got to Alvin, it was like a ghost town. Every business I could see was closed .The local transmission shop,
 which has a sign the owner puts humorous messages on sometimes, said “Closed – Runnin’ Skeered.”
To put it in perspective – even Wal-Mart was closed! Even Joe’s BBQ, our local hangout for the past 20 years, that only
 closes on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day, was closed!
  We got home and anxiously surveyed our property. Must have been some big wind because we had branches down 
everywhere – one large pecan branch missed crashing through one of our living room windows by inches. Mike was busy
with the chain saw for two weeks.
  The horses were very glad to get home to their large pasture. I was less than happy to get home to a completely 
‘disassembled’ home. It took me several weeks to get all the furniture back where it belonged and all the pictures back
 on the walls!
  Wal-Mart and other businesses opened on Sunday. It was almost 2 weeks before Wal-Mart’s stock of dairy products
 and produce were back to normal. Eggs took the longest – I was told a lot of chicken farms were located near the hurricane’s
 landfall and birds were either lost or too stressed to lay.
  Would I do it again? Yes. I just hope the idiots in north Houston, who had NO reason to evacuate, don’t panic again 
next time and totally clog up the system for those of us who live near the coast and really DO need to evacuate.
  We were spared, but small communities in Cameron Parish in Lousiana, suffered heavy flooding. More than 2 million 
people lost electricity, some for weeks. Seven deaths were tied directly to the storm, but many more died as an indirect
 result of the storm.