Musings

Hail, High Water and One LONG Hot Summer

This about sums up Houston weather from May to October. Hail exploded in the Spring Branch area on May 9th. As we drove home from a theatre fundraiser, the skies darkened the further west we traveled. Pea size hail began to fall after we turned north. In another block, the pea size turned into marble size and then golf ball size hail. There was no running from the icy onslaught. It felt and sounded like we were in a rock storm. The windshield cracked before I  could pull into the driveway. The roof on the house didn’t fare any better. A new windshield and body work repair fixed up the car. A new roof took care of the hail damaged shingles.
September 19th brought flooding to my subdivision. Streets became impassable. The rain was eerily unrelenting.  The water rose quickly. There was nothing to do and no place to go. Within an hour water had reached the middle of the front yard. Neighbors on the low side of the street held their breath as the water climbed into their driveways and, in some cases, flooded their homes. I watched the lightning explode and felt the thunder rattle the house. Once again, Houston “flooding” made the news and once again, lives were up ended by the uncertainty of tropical Texas weather.

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Hand Signals

I drove a tractor in January while visiting dear friends in Palacios, dumping buckets full of sand/gravel/rock to spread in the low spots washed out by too much rain. This small tractor had a front loader on it. I have driven a Mack truck and a Pontiac GTO, but never a tractor. Chuck, my tractor instructor, told me there were standard hand signals for tractors and other construction equipment. Who knew? I did a little research and, sure enough, “[h]and signals have been used by the military, construction workers and factory laborers as a means of communication when voice communication is not possible. Consistent hand signals are essential when people must work together in noisy, hazardous work environments. Hand signals can also make work safer in the agriculture industry.”* The hand signals I am most familiar with are those used on Houston freeways. For example, the Yukon salute is a favorite along I-10. Perhaps you know it as the one finger wave.

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Eatin’ at Edna’s

On the set of Shakin' the Blue Flamingo

On the set of Shakin’ the Blue Flamingo, (from left to right) Allison Smith, Stage Manager, Gwen Flager, Playwright, and director Claire Hart-Palumbo.

I’ve been eatin’ at Edna’s for the last couple of months. I can recommend the fried pickles and meatloaf sandwich. But, I’d steer clear of her egg salad. Memories wash over me as decades old songs play on Edna’s jukebox. Feelings long forgotten surface. My emotions are pulled into unfamiliar, yet intoxicating places.

I’m nineteen again, whistling down the Alabama coast roads, daring to be braver than I am. I boil the fresh blue crabs I pulled from the trap this morning. Got company coming for breakfast.

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The Recital

A man I had known for 40 years was buried on Saturday. Our last contact was by email when Hurricane Harvey flooded the Houston area. This man offered sanctuary at his modest apartment in Shreveport to me and Ruthann should we need to evacuate our home. Most of Alan’s life was violent and explosive. A life ravaged by addiction – alcohol and drugs. A life that flirted with death and threaded its way through prison and recovery.

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Just Stand Up

As I was pulled across the lake on my belly, wearing a big white two by six inch vinyl covered rubber “ski belt” strapped around my waist, skis thrashing behind me, it dawned on me that I was not going to be able to stand up. The simple instructions of the boat driver on how to ski eluded me. Pull your knees close to your chest. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Lean back a little. Arms straight. Skis about a foot out of the water. Then as the slack is taken out of the rope and the boat starts to pull you – just stand up. After numerous attempts of “just standing up,” I decided quitting was in my best interest.

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