Monday, May 18, 2009

Galveston: May 15

Events of Friday, May 15, 2009

Location: Galveston

Our last day here at Crockett United Methodist sad. Gina, Anne and Sherri must drive back to Houston this morning to catch a flight...Don and Judy are packing up their truck to go visit & stay with friends. I, not wanting to spend the night at Crockett UMC all by myself (well, along with a few hundred Texas-sized cockroaches...shudder), decide to book a room at the San Luis Hotel.

We get up, pack, and then do a thorough cleaning of our living quarters....the bedrooms and bathrooms are scrubbed, dusted, and swept. The place is gleaming - we are so proud.

We load up our prospective vehicles, and take a last-day group shot.

It is now time to say good-bye. The week has been good - we've had excellent food, very good sleeping quarters, and beyond excellent company. We'll all meet back up home in Kansas City. The girls take off for the airport; Don & Judy hit the road; and I get in my little car to go visit some friends on Galveston.

My first stop is to visit Miss Linda. I met Miss Linda way back last September, when I drove the food truck with the American Red Cross shortly after Hurricane Ike. Miss Linda has been unable to shake her drug habit, and supports it by offering her services to the men of the island. Last September, I would make a point to talk with her each day and minister to her - telling her how much she was loved by God and by myself - something she found very surprising. Here's a photo of Miss Linda last September:

When I see her today, I am shocked by her appearance, as she has lost even more weight and does not look well. Her spirits are down - very down - as she will soon be living on the streets. We talk about other ways of supporting herself - and she thinks that just maybe she can possibly apply as a nursing assistant. We pray - take a picture - and then it is time for me to leave.

I drive a few blocks over and visit Miss Delores - an elderly woman I had met last September. I am shocked by her appearance, as well - she doesn't look good, either. She seems to have aged 10 years in the last 8 months, and I am concerned by the depression I hear coming from her voice. She says it has been a struggle to "bounce" back after Ike - and she feels that she is just too old to keep going. We sit and talk and we pray - and I try to encourage her to keep going. I only have a picture of her from last September - I felt it would be too intrusive to take a photo of this visit, as I can sense she is not feeling good. So - here is a photo of her from last September:

These visits have left me feeling very down...when I come back home, it is very easy to put these people out of your minds and forget their hardships and their struggles. We aren't reminded every single day of Ike - and of everything that they lost. These people face it every day - and it has become very hard for them.

I drive around the island for awhile, sorting and processing my thoughts...stopping every so often to take a photo of more houses along the way. Some houses are going up on stilts, preparing for the next storm surge that is sure to come one day:

Some houses sit vacant, full of debris - feeling unloved by the owners who have abandoned them:

The trees on the island are pretty much dead - killed by the salt water that invaded their root systems. It's sad, as some of these trees were over 100 years old.

And yet - in the midst of this devastation and ugliness - there is beauty. An old cemetery has the most beautiful flowers springing up from the earth.

My son, when he was 5, described cemeteries as places where you "plant people for heaven." After seeing this, I would have to agree.

I finally head to the San Luis Resort, where I am delighted to find out my room is ready. I am in Room 1625, which is the penthouse floor - on the very top.

The views from my room are incredible - I can see for miles and miles....

I change quickly into my bathing suit and head to the pool, where I spend most of the day reading, relaxing, and taking in the sights and sounds.

I enjoy a nice lunch of fresh veggies - don't these look delicious??!! And they were, too!

About 2:30, I begin to realize that I am burnt to a crisp - uh oh - time to go back to the room, where I lay down and take a nap. It was wonderful.

After waking up, showering, and dressing, I head over to Johnny's house, where I take Christina and DeeDee out for a shopping trip. I want to make sure DeeDee has everything she needs for summer school - so we have a delightful evening of picking out clothes and accessories for DeeDee - I LOVE shopping -and especially when it's for someone else!

It was time to say goodnight and goodbye to this wonderful and amazing family, who have been my rock of support every time that I've been in Galveston. Tears....hugs....more tears....and then I promise to come back and I head back to the hotel, where I snuggle into bed and head off to sleep.


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