(Frank is one of my international students at Lonestar Community College. I'm proud to show off his talent for writing--Linda K)
It was two o’clock. The day that everybody was waiting for started quietly. I was reading in the Extended Learning Center at college. I was very concentrated on my lesson when I heard a distant voice.
“Hey you. You heard me? We have to go.”
I was in another world. I was aloof even there were a lot of people around me. I was only thinking about my reading. Again, I heard the voice.
". . .the College will close as soon as possible. Ike is here."
This time somebody approached and said to me, "Let’s go we have to get out.”
I raised my head. All the students were taking their books, laptops, etc.
“Hurry Frank. We have to go to the supermarket to buy food before Ike hits this area!”
When I left the building, everybody was in a hurry. There were people locking the doors behind us. Workers were sealing the windows to protect them with sheets of plywood. The cars were roaring by. Some of them were going faster than the speed limit. It looked like real emergency .
By the time I arrived at the supermarket, the shelves were nearly empty. People were walking once, twice, even three times down the same aisle. None of us found what we were looking for. There was no bread, or cans of soup, no cheese, no biscuits, only a few chocolates, and definitely no batteries. People were in long lines to pay for only a small item that they found but held like a treasure. I started to be nervous. Will this be enough with the food that we already have at home? Could we lose power and water for more than a week? Will we lose the food that is in our freezer?
With the experience of Katrina, Rita and other hurricanes the government must have a very good experience to act quickly. I didn’t believe it would be very bad.
I walked out of the store, looked up at the sky and thought these people must be crazy. Look at what a nice day it is! The sun is shining, there are no clouds and the temperature is very pleasant. It looks like a day to go to the beach in Galveston.
We came home and I started to watch the trees, the birds. But I noticed that we were alone. Our neighbors were all inside their houses. There were no cars on the street. The dogs that usually bark when my car is arriving were very silent.
Again I started to think. “It cannot be so bad. Look! What a nice day. We could go to a picnic. We can enjoy this beautiful weather. We can feel the wind, the sun, the perfect time.” However, I decided to take some precautions. Just in case. I removed all small things like pots, pictures, small chairs, tables, and any adornments that the wind could blow away. I putted them in the garage.
The phone rang. A friend advised us to protect the windows. I told her that I did not have plywood to do it and there was no time to buy some. My house has many windows and I could not protect them all. She told me to use some masking tape on the windows. If any of them broke, the jagged glass would not spread around and it would be safer. She advised me to be careful with the trees because I have a lot of them behind the house. I decided to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s looking for the tape.
Again, we found people running around hysterically. Some of them were carrying sheets of plywood, some buying generators and other goods. I found a bundle of 12 masking tape. I was lucky because the store was announcing that they would close in five minutes. We went back home and I did my job. After I finished, the windows looked like they were decorated by the strips of tape.
Finally we were ready to receive our "guest." We decided to be a little quiet watching the news on the TV while we were tracing the route of the undesirable guest. The telephone rang. My daughter answered. She told me it was my niece --She was going to bring her car to park it in our garage. I went to the garage to make room before she arrived. The skies became dark and I opened the garage doors, so that when she arrived did not have to knock on the door and wait for me. The time passed and I forgot the garage doors were open. (I found out later that my niece had decided not to come but did not call to tell us.)
I went to my room sat down in front my PC. It was a little late, I was chatting with some of my family. The time passed very fast and I forgot all about the garage door being open. Around one o’clock the power went off. I decided to go to sleep. I was so tired that I slept like a log. My wife told me later that during the night, Ike started to make noise. The wind was fast. The trees started to fall down. The house was creaking. But I was sleeping very deep and I didn’t hear much of anything.
Around 6:00 a.m. my wife woke me up. She had been scared the whole night while I was sleeping, dreaming with the angels flying in paradise. She heard a lot of noises and when she opened the kitchen door, she saw that the garage door was open. I asked her why she didn’t call me before. She told me that she was afraid I would be crazy enough to go outside the house with the camera watching the hurricane, so she preferred to tell me nothing. Anyway, I jumped out the bed and closed the garage doors.
After that, just as my wife feared I would, I started to use my camcorder to record how Ike was blowing. I saw how a tree fell down just across of the house across the street. When I opened the window behind my room, I was astonished. One tree had fallen near and broke my fence. It came to rest only two inches from the window. I gave thanks to God for protecting us and we waited until the storm ended.
I could not believe I slept through my first hurricane! And I put my house in danger by falling sleep and forgetting to close the garage door. But after I saw all the damage that Ike made, I hope I never experience another hurricane.