Rockport, Texas 2017
In the last Bread Lines I asked for your prayers because I was going to Rockport to help Taylor and Marsha Hendrix, my nephew and niece-in-law, since they had extensive damage to their home and property. Kevin, another nephew and I went together. I must admit I was a bit anxious because I had no idea what to expect—would there be electricity or water and where would we stay. Visions of a tent with a port a potty beside it kept dancing through my mind. I could see water all over their property with snakes and even the alligator that used to live at the back of their land hiding in the debris. (You do realize I have an extremely vivid imagination.) I did feel better when Marsha texted me the night before we left to say the electricity had been restored and there was water, but it had to be boiled before using it to cook or for drinking. The day we arrived the boiling ban was lifted.
After being in Rockport for a week I am ashamed that my main thought was focused on me, my comfort and my safety. There is extensive damage all over the town—many houses are far too damaged to ever be repaired—many of them still have the windows boarded up indicating they have probably been declared a total loss.
By the end of the week what kept going through my mind was the first line from Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities-It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…” Even in the midst of a situation that was ugly and awful there was beauty and hope sitting together right in the middle of it all.
When we got to Tivoli, which is 30 miles from Rockport, we started seeing people by the side of the road holding up bottles of water, boxes of food and signs which said “FREE Water, Food and Ice. That continued all the way through Rockport—one poignant scene was the church which had part the front of its sanctuary blown away and on the side of the church they were giving out clothes and food and water to people in need.
While we worked to clear debris and mold (I didn’t see a snake or an alligator and the water had receded completely) there were groups of people who would come by and say, “we have some time, what can we do to help?” They would work with us for several hours and then go to help others. We met people from New York, Idaho, and Georgetown, TX. There were groups who were camping in the park downtown—they had come because they heard there were people in need.
Some of my friends here in Ft. Worth, who don’t even know Taylor and Marsha, took their travel trailer down to them so they would have a place to stay without commuting to another town. Friends of Taylor and Marsha bought a small tractor with a “grabber’ on the front which can clean up debris. Gary brought it over and worked tirelessly for three days to clean all that the water and wind had destroyed. He told his clients he wouldn’t be working for several weeks—too many people in need. His wife went around in her neighborhood to check on older neighbors—each day she picked up 30 bags of ice and food and then delivered it to people in need. Most of whom she didn’t even know.
I left Rockport full of hope—it will take a long time to get back to any semblance of “normal,” whatever that means, but this disaster has brought them together and they are determined. They are truly a community of neighbors, one helping the other.
Marsha and Taylor are lucky—the outside of their house is standing and it can be rebuilt, but we need to keep remembering others who aren’t so fortunate. Thankfully they have seen reasons to believe that even in this “winter of despair, there is a spring of hope.”
Cheryl Kimberling is the President of the Multicultural Alliance—she is a friend of Charlie and Jorene. Cheryl is inviting people from different congregations in Fort Worth to participate in the Fall 2017 Interfaith Dialogue. This experience is about learning and personal growth, not
changing others. The sessions provide an opportunity to attain a deeper understanding and personal relationship with other members of the community. This dialogue is conducted over a course of six sessions and will meet on Mondays from 6:30-8:30 pm starting October 23, 2017.
The sessions will meet at different places of worship each week. Once the group is formed, the meeting calendar will be created. If you are interested complete the survey at this site—Fall 2017 MCA Pre-Interfaith Dialogue Survey.
We will continue collecting money to help with school uniforms.
Come join us this Sunday and bring a friend!
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can, and
the wisdom to know the difference.