Here’s an excerpt from a terrific story in the Houston Chronicle, about how five different people made it through the storm. If you live in Texas, or have ever lived in Texas, or in any way love Texas, I defy you to read the last line of this passage without tearing up:
Finally, the water receded from Mustafa Herby’s condo. After four days evacuating neighbors, he turned, for the first time, toward his own troubles.
As first light streamed in, he grabbed a razor and began cutting the soggy carpet at the edges.
The place was a mess: John Wayne movies strewn in the dining room. A cowboy hat resting on a counter. A six-foot American flag draped haphazardly in a corner.
“I love everything about Texas,” Herby said, taking a break from ripping up carpet. “I’m working on getting a Texas accent.”
Houston, in particular, feels like his first real home. He was 9 when war swept through Iraq. Not even a teenager when his older brother, Ali, was killed in crossfire near their home in Baghdad.
That’s what chased his family from Iraq in 2006. It’s what pushed him out into flooded streets, day after day.
“That pain is always with me, losing a brother,” Herby said. “I wanted to make sure nobody here went through what I went through.”
As he spoke, water from overwhelmed reservoirs poured into Buffalo Bayou. The rain had stopped, the sky was blue, yet brown floodwater again crept into Herby’s condo.
It’s not a big deal, he insisted.
“The worst day in Texas,” he said, practicing his drawl, “is a better day than anywhere else in the world.”
Read the whole thing. Trust me, it’s worth it.