Friday, September 30, 2005

Quick bytes of Rita

Beaumont and Port Arthur are allowing citizens to return today, albeit reluctantly. Authorities in both cities would like for returnees to secure their homes, gather or refresh their necessaries, then leave again. They worry that returnees will make streets harder to travel for recovery crews and over tax critical-but-crippled infrastructure. I reckon we could start a pool now on how many roof-falls, chainsaw-wounds, double-pane glass slices, and heat strokes will wander into our short-staffed emergency rooms by Monday. Pick a high number and you'll win this here small can of Vienna Sausages that will never expire ...

We're seeing lights in some parts of town, but the vast majority of the city is powerless, literally. Among the first things to be illuminated? The world's third-largest fire hydrant at the Fire Museum of Texas, and the former red-light district-turned-uptown fun spot, Crockett Street ...

Another really dazzling light show could be seen last night in the night sky, a meteor shower. If you simply looked up, past all the wreckage of this temporary settlement of Beaumont, you might have caught an ancient spectacle of heavenly light. From this safer distance, it was a beautiful reminder of the same natural chaos that we saw last Saturday ...

The stench of rotting food is starting to drift through the neighborhoods as returnees clean out their freezers and fridges. The city tells us not to watch for the garbageman anytime soon, and has set up some drop-off points for decaying meat, pizzas, etc. ...

Fun with rubble! I patched a broken window this morning with a piece of my demolished fence, and used the remnant chlorinated water in my pool to soak plastic food-storage containers from my unexpectedly thawed freezer. It occurs to me that a resourceful bubba might be able to build a really opulent hunting cabin from Rita's debris ...

Hey, today it's official: Only two more months in the hurricane season!


Bryan said...

In the old days no one built a house near the Gulf over here on the Panhandle, we built fishing camps. After a storm you rebuilt with whatever showed up on your land. Over the years you could watch a tin sign migrate from camp to camp.

There really needs to be a licensing program for chain saws. They are scary in the hands of most people.

Anonymous said...


While you have not lived in East Texas long enough to be a real Texacan, you already have the insight and sense of humor that one acquires after their third or fourth hurricane.

I drove by the Black Cup on my morning motorcycle ride up the Thompson Canyon and thought about you. I could lie and say I wish I was there to help out, but you know better. Been there, done that!

I do wish you the best and promise to buy you a couple of Marga-"Ritas" my next visit.

Stay Safe,

Ron Petitt

Ron Franscell said...

NOTE TO VISITORS: The poster above is my friend Ron Petitt, an accomplished sculptor and Beaumont native who now lives in Loveland, Colo. He recently unveiled his memorial to fallen lawmen here in Beaumont, the centerpiece of which is a life-size bronze sculpture of a policeman glancing at an 8-ton marble star engraved with the names of dead officers.

How realistic is the sculpture? Consider this item, from Enterprise reporter Dee Dixon:

"A man is wandering downtown Beaumont when he stumbles on a cop and started asking the Beaumont police officer for some help.
Displaced by the storm, he needs shelter but wants to find a place to take his two dogs, which are tucked underneath his arms.

"But the cop really isn't reacting to the man's increasingly excited rant, so the man goes to the BPD personnel office to file a complaint.

"Once inside, the man runs into Lt. Mark Pierce, who agrees to take the man’s complaint about the officer who was ignoring him.
One problem: the man couldn't give police the officer's name or physical decsription.

"All he can tell Pierce is ... "(It's) that officer standing out there next to that big star."

Anonymous said...

Can you explain to me how Ron Petitt can ride PAST The Black Cup without stopping?