One month after Hurricane Ike and we got electricity yesterday afternoon. In the evening, we got Comcast (Internet, land-line phone and cable TV) You could feel the stress and tension lift. V and I love Galveston. Let’s see if I can get poetic.
Galveston is a boozy old lady wearing too much makeup with a red slash across her lips, missing the mark a bit. She is limping right now, but I just heard her whisper, “Do ya wanna dance?”
Thirty six hours after the eye of Hurricane Ike passed over my home, I got a call on my cell from a pharmacist co-worker. “Jim,” he asked, “Are you and your family safe?”
“We are good,” I said. I explained to him that we were safely residing in the comfort of a guest house of a Texas Hill Country ranch owned by a woman with whom I share a great-grandfather.
“That’s good, Jim. So you were smart that you decided to get away from the island.”
“I may be dumb, my friend, but I am not stupid.”
My co-worker continued, “I just want to remind you, Jim, that we switched shifts on Tuesday. You work late.”
“Do you really expect the drug store to be open on Tuesday?”
I would have made a bet that either Walgreens or CVS would be the first one up and running and filling prescriptions after Ike. They had competing stores catty corner to each other. At the busiest intersection in Galveston. But, neither was the first.
It was Kroger. The grocery giant is right on Seawall Boulevard. The store is less than a football field from where the show hit. The seawall is 17 feet above sea level, but the surge was higher than that. How did they manage? Good engineering, the store manager told me. Dedicated employees from as far away as Dallas. And ..Humungous generators.
Wal-Mart, by the way, wasn’t even in the race. When Kroger, Walgreens and CVS were filling prescriptions, the Wal-Mart parking lot was jammed with trucks. I wonder if they are counting on the profits from the $4.00 prescription to get the pharmacy running again. Don’t hurt yourself laughing.
The last independent alive in Galveston took water. Lots of water. Brown, salty, E-Coli infested water. They are most likely done for. The Last Picture Show.
My pharmacist license got me onto the island. Essential personnel. I stopped by my store to help out, but no one was there, so I wound around down electrical wires, past burned out homes, close to huge mounds of debris and made it to our home. I called V. “We are okay,” I told her. The lower level (garage and storage) had five feet of filthy water for 12 hours. V lost her Scion with 8500 miles on it.
“How can you tell?” The anxiety in her voice was thick with worry. This was Hurricane Ike, for goodness sake. She had seen pictures of Crystal Beach. (A month gone and they are still not reporting the dead and missing from Bolivar)
“There is not one drop of water upstairs,” I explained. “Not a bit of mold in the refrigerator.”
Victoria and I are blessed with a townhome well built 3 years ago to modern hurricane code. 20,000 residents of Galveston have been displaced. Their homes gone. They will never be back. Retail stores have huge banners. “Now Hiring”.
I stopped in my store to get my schedule on 9/27. There was a terrified woman sitting in the pharmacy waiting area. The pharmacist on duty said that she had been there all day. They just let her be. She kept moaning, “I ain’t got nowhere to go.”