Charleston: the southern city of hazy dreams.

the birds in the south have a sweet lyric. in the morning, the tune shifts between notes, rapidly calling from higher octaves to lower accentuations. coupled with the sound of cicadas, the emerging heat, and rising fog from the damp ground, and you may have found yourself immersed in southern living history.

we started our journey by carriage, viewing old historic Charleston accompanied by the clicking of hooves.

breezy barbadian-style porches lined the cobblestone streets, providing sanctuary for those fleeing the heavy air and the thick memories of the storied past.

spirits flew all around us. and sometimes within us. we sliced our way through the greasy air, fat layers sliding down our backs and into the streams of the streets.

we were living in a different world. one where history is sometimes altered or ignored, and we were the debutantes of the ball.

but all the sazeracs and milk punch and vieux carres couldn’t stop the lure of Harvey. still loitering in the background, even the smallest threat of rain sabotaged our southern daydreams… often keeping us drenched in emotional turmoil, yet completely dry.

the first time we had been together since christmas, the four sisters interlaced thoughts and dreams, reminiscing in the childhood memories of a forgotten past. was there a time when none of us knew the gravity of this world?

my youngest sister Emily, farthest from the rain that drenched our soggy Houston households, felt helpless and anxious as she watched the waters rise on my parents home this late August.  she and her best friend, Rosie, devised a plan to raise funds for my parents immediate needs, and because of her will power and generous heart, mom and dad were able to begin repairs immediately.  a brave girl, she walks most days alone, without the solace of our family.  one does not argue with a DJ about the music she provides; you can read her blog on our trip south here.

back in Charleston, lounging in the shade of the southern live oak trees, ghosts graced the trails of plantations and movie sets and books within our dreams, and we imagined wearing hoop skirts and lace and dancing with swayze and gable.

sweat poured down our chests as we prayed for a breeze.

life was heavy, laden with the humidity of the every day.

but we were still there.

we leaned towards each other for hearty laughs in the southern sunsets.

and yet we are still here.

and Harvey remains.

through all the days, Harvey remains: packing up in the #CoalsonCleanup

it feels like a year has passed in the last month. in the last three weeks. was it really just late august that I stood before the brilliant passing of the moon, my arms power-posed in the triumph of my innate awesomeness?

that week I transported myself from the crisp northwest pacific air to the southern thick humidity, as a veil of misty clouds lowered themselves over our bayou city. it was easy to find humility.

for four days the rains poured from the heavens, cleansing our city from the dirt and debris collected in our souls; our hearts spilling out into the bayous and causeways. for four days our lives were consumed. for all the days after we have thought nothing but Harvey. there is still water standing today.

taking strides to pull ourselves from the disaster, we’ve tried on friends to help pull us through the heartache.

Joe and Irene Beach, my parent’s closest confidants, have swallowed the pain immolating from my parents mouths and hearts and ongoing zeal.  they drove over 3 hours from San Antonio with delicious texan smoked turkey in one hand, and with over 100 packing boxes and materials in the other.

gems like these are hard to find; their friendship stretching through various homes and terrain and fires and floods.  we don’t know what we would do without them.

 

Tom Anderson, my Daddy’s hometown Jackson County pal, instead of running through fields and streets with baseballs and fishing poles with my young father, drove down from Terrell with an 18-foot horse trailer, 2 humidifiers, and some sheetrock to get the party started.

the hometown buds packed with diligence and vigor, pinpointing precisely what was to be carted away to storage, and what was to be left for my father to utilize while out of his flooded home.  (note the wine books made it to the temporary home.  a win for my dad’s new boss… the sommelier.)

 

Richard and Jo Engelhart, moved by the spirit to assist their fellow prayer group couple in their urgent quest for normalcy, took time out of their day to move heavy furniture and pack more boxes. 50 years of memories takes a long time to gather. now stored away in a dark garage, the shiny trinkets are dull with depression.

we cannot fathom the devastation that is happening on islands far away, where food and water and diesel is scarce. we are lucky to have friends like these who love without boundaries and commit to helping their friends in need.

 

the universe has sent us an angel in Art Schmitt, a diligent man who has committed the majority of his days, his time and energy, to help my parents realize the re-engagement of their home. for the past month, this man has traveled to the empty house to assist my father. every damn day. they hung sheetrock in all of the rooms themselves, working 10 hour days to complete the task within a week. paint will ensue soon. I cannot think of someone more dedicated to my father, my mother, my family- then Art.

of course I would be remiss not to his other-half Debbie Schroen, as she has allowed for his desertion to weston lakes every day. we are grateful for such amazing family.

 

but there is still work to be done, y’all.  over 2000 square feet of tile to be laid through the rooms that held doll houses and sewing machines and writing contraptions.  FEMA has not even visited yet; the waters receded from the home in early september, yet my parents still wait for relief.  thank you to those who have contributed to our efforts, you have made a direct difference in our lives.  at this point, even sommkid is weaving her magic wand with her creative encouragement.

 

 

as life returns to “normal” for everyone else, and our busy schedules take over our lives, I remember my father, scraping floors, pulling carpet, piling debris on the side of the curb. he didn’t deserve this. my mother didn’t deserve this. but it happened all the same, leaving a gaping hole in my heart that only grows bigger over time. the worry and sadness almost overwhelms me.

Harvey has invaded my soul, and embedded into the soft flesh of my gut. he pains me every day, striking when least expected, using his broad strokes to wash away the sentiments of our lives.  we pass by overwhelming scenes, every day in the soft comfort of our vehicles, our guts tugging at our bleeding hearts and wrestling with our frazzled minds.  it can almost be too much to bear.

 

we must find strength.  we will find hope.

we will get through this, y’all. #HoustonStrong #TexasStrong #CoalsonCleanup