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Monday, September 15, 2008
Monday Mug Shot
It’s a topical mug today. It’s heartbreaking to see the photos of Galveston Island after Ike blew through. Yes, homes in more opulent beach front areas were destroyed. Homes, beautiful homes, owned by people that chose to build there for the beauty and pleasure of the location. I’m not going to imply that they are “faultless victims.” When you can afford to build where you want and you know the risk of living where you do, you’ve carefully weighed out the pros and cons. You’ve decided to take that risk because you worked hard to earn the ability to live in your version of paradise. And now, many of those people have no home to go to. Their mayor has told them “don’t come home,” even if their home is still standing. Even knowing the risk, it’s still a devastating blow!
I can’t imagine being homeless, I have someone who loves me enough to be sure I have shelter, as I’m sure many of the refugees from Ike do, but I do know what it feels like to know that if it wasn’t for that love from someone else, you’d have nothing. Just losing physical property is not exactly having “nothing.” Insurance will help to rebuild and replace, but there is that interim time of helplessness that’s incredibly stressful. That feeling I know well!
Mom and I were in Galveston in September 1999. We’d taken a long weekend and met friends in Houston to see the Cubs and Astros last series at the Astrodome. Our friends, a family we’d met through a baseball chat room on AOL, were Astros fans and Mom and I were there to cheer on her Cubbies. It was a fun rival weekend. We stayed at the same hotel the Cubs did. That wasn’t planned that way, it just happened to be that way! We went on one elevator ride with Jeff Blauser and got a glimpse of Sammy Sosa and entourage headed out to the team bus before the Sunday game. Baseball travel always brings about some fun memories and brushes with the stars.
On Monday, we headed out to Galveston. I’d never been to the Gulf of Mexico before and wanted to put my feet in the water before an anticipated lunch of fresh, I mean FRESH, gulf shrimp. I love palm trees and I just marveled at the beautiful homes and shops and all the palm trees. Then there was the water, all glistening and an oil rig in the distance. I’d never seen an off shore oil rig before either! We picked a nice beach spot and parked.
As soon as I hit the sand, as is my custom, off came the shoes! The sand was warm, pleasantly warm and odd for a then Michigan girl in September. Then I waded in, up to my knees. I just turned around looking at Mom, smiling.
“It’s BATH WATER! It’s just like walking in BATH water!”
The water was so warm! After being in the water of the Great Lakes all my life, and even when I’d been to the Atlantic Ocean, it was in the cooler off-season, the Gulf of Mexico was just a shock, a very pleasing hock, but still a shock. In the hottest part of summer, Lake Superior will still turn your feet blue if you stay in too long! The Gulf was like a hot tub!
When we’d driven onto the main road by the water in the morning, I saw the restaurant I wanted to have lunch at. There was a huge shrimp in front of it! I had to have pictures of the shrimp anyway, so why not stop for lunch, right? We had lunch at Casey’s restaurant at Gaido’s Inn. I had grilled shrimp that had been swimming that morning! It was SOOOO good!
But now, as I tuck those wonderful memories back into their mug, I wonder, I worry, about that great restaurant and the giant shrimp with which I was so enamored. You see the address for Casey’s and Gaidos is on Seawall Boulevard. I really don’t even want to know.