All The King’s Horses And All The King’s Men Couldn’t Put The Economy Back Together Again

Houston Chronicle

Looking at this image of debris washed up along Galveston’s seawall as Hurricane Carla battered the coastline in September of 1961 made me reflect on the powerful beating our economy has taken in a period of only five weeks. Yesterday, my childhood restaurant closed, one where I have fond memories of eating gingerbread pancakes and broccoli sour cream omelets, washed down with iced hibiscus tea at the dawn of the 80s. It had an hour wait nearly every weekend for 40 years, and now it has no wait. Another trendy Austin hotspot folded this morning. So much for their lemon shrimp linguine. How can everything tumble so quickly?

photo by Flip Schulke

Our favorite haunts are pummeled, as we stand helplessly by. So much for the Pleasure Pier.

all images from the Houston Chronicle

The water keeps rising. The Mobil is inoperable, but we don’t need the gas because we can’t go anywhere. The Motor Hotel is flooded, but we’re not allowed to travel from home, so it barely registers.

Down is up, and up is down. Small businesses fold; delivery services soar. Horses stand on patios.

Boats prop tilted on the highway.

In the aftermath, we try to salvage what we can. Sift through the rubble.

What do we do now? We have no income. We have no idea if our jobs will exist when we return to them. How will we pay our bills? We don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. This stimulus check will barely get us through the next month on essentials.

So we cry and comfort each other.

We wonder if the lives saved by isolation outnumbers the lives lost by suicide, outnumbers the families left unfed and unsheltered, down to their last double digits in their savings accounts. And still it goes on.

But we can see the light. We can walk toward it. The world will once again re-open, battered and bruised, but hopefully more united, more focused on true priorities and aware of invisible dangers. Together, we will wade out.

I Still Hear Your Seawaves Crashing

Pastel-painted condos in coastal towns make for some solace when the winter sky is overcast and the weather is dreary. Galveston is no exception.

Galveston 030You can rent a beach house, condo, or hotel room for your stay. Some are swanky and grand, like this one.

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But I imagine the bedspread is still unwashed, and the sheets are covered with pubic hair and glitter, as I have found in even the most expensive of hotels. Which is why I HATE hotels. And motels? Eek. Motels are simply something you accrue in Monopoly so that you can later buy hotels. Although I guess if you are a criminal on the lam, then motels are just your style. Or perhaps this leaning tower of Victorian latticework.

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Galveston is home to the Pleasure Pier, which has never been pleasurable for us, as it is only open on weekends, and we cannot afford weekend rates anywhere but our own home. Nonetheless, it is a colorful sight against the bleak backdrop of a sunless sky. (Honestly, is this what London feels like? Seattle? Lack of sunlight is a serious buzzkill.)

Galveston 035It is a quirky city, decorated in green, gold, and purple in anticipation of Mardi Gras.

Galveston 045So quirky that the dentist is housed adjacent to the Ben & Jerry’s. Take note: Ron Burgundy’s Scotchy Scotch was there.

Galveston 047So quirky that this home showcased a plant-haired tiki idol, lording over all of Crystal Beach.

Galveston 147And when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds for all of eleven minutes…

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…it made for a lovely little shot of Americana.

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I Still Hear Your Seawinds Blowing

Galveston 145I’ve been away from WordPress for several days, visiting Galveston. Yes, the very same one about which Glen Campbell sang. February is probably not the choicest month for much of anything, and visiting the coast is no exception. It was miserably cold (not Yankee minus-temperature cold), rainy, and so windy that it shook the walls of the rental condo all night long. I could easily see how being caught in a hurricane would be terrifying. We’ve visited Galveston before, but this time we were witness to much more dilapidation. Beach towns will always be in various stages of construction, as is the nature of weatherworn homes, but it was particulary disheartening to see homes that surely once knew glory, left to slowly decay.

Galveston 041Galveston already has a history of ghosts, but with the constant fog and drizzle surrounding Victorian-era houses, it was even more apparent.

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Bright colors can’t mask the ramshackle state of this home.

Galveston 042Some homes were probably not much to begin with.

Galveston Charles Camera 047But among the poverty, were words of hope.

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