The Sermon Of Harvey

Pierre Fontenot Thursday, September 21, 2017 Comments Off on The Sermon Of Harvey
The Sermon Of Harvey

A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds, and some change.  33 trillion gallons just fell.  My calculator can’t go that high.  I’m not sure if I could handle that many zeros.

Blah Blah Blah About The Science

We’re on the receiving end of hurricanes.  Think of hurricanes as engines.  Engines need fuel.  The fuel of a storm is evaporated moisture.

Most hurricanes make their humble start in Africa, as just-another thunderstorm.  On the American end we know that hurricanes lose power after landfall – why – because there’s less evaporated moisture over land than over water, but imagine our modest little Ethiopian thunderstorm working from land to the sweet spot, the Atlantic, and like an interstate system they ride the tropical belt, where the sun is cooking the water, and unlike your car, the engine of a storm grows as it gets more fuel.  The thunderstorm in Africa becoming the Cat 4 in the Gulf of Mexico is like a Matchbox toy car becoming a real 18 wheeler.

That matchbox-to-18 wheeler analogy is pitiful.  Here’s a scientific measurement that will make your electrician friends stand up and take their hat off; “The energy released by condensation in a single day in an average hurricane is at least 200 times the entire world’s electrical energy production capacity.”

Hello Houston.

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The Sermon Of Harvey

Water is our friend, until it isn’t.

People are strangers, until they aren’t.

Nothing joins tribes like a common threat.

Harvey made a statue of Robert E. Lee a smaller potato.

We’re tougher than we thought.

Instead of road rage it was boat love.

We’re kind, like we always hoped we’d be.

Empathy hurts, but it’s a fine reason to appreciate being part of the human species.

Ask any volunteer and they’d say that they’d never work that hard for pay.  It’s a curious thing, how much we have to give, when we have a cause and a mission.

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Curious Things To Think About When Your Heart Is Wore Out From Harvey

Watching Harvey coverage made me wonder if this is how the yard bugs feel, when they hear us crank up the lawnmower.

The worst thing about good weather is that we end up thinking it’s what we deserve.  The best thing about bad weather is that it will bend a stiff knee and knock the toupee off the head of pride.

Every town has rich people.  Houston has some one percenters of the one percent.  And some of them were up on the roof, waving for some 99 percenter wearing camo waders to bring his little jon boat up to the second story window.

Many a husband now has an argument that he “needs” a boat more than the wife needs more shoes.  And while he’s at it, one of those expensive ice chests that come with four year financing.

In the same way that Rita taught us to all have a generator, so too could be the argument that every home needs at least a flat bottom boat big enough to evacuate your family.  Hurricane coming, tie a line to the second story, and make sure there’s a gallon bucket for bailing.

There are two kinds of people in the world: when their home floods one kind thinks ‘I must replace everything;’ and the other kind thinks, ‘So little of this really matters.’

Harvey makes you proud to be Southern.  They may help each other out in other places, but we’ve been tested, and proved.

When a little subdivision goes up, realtors see houses to sell, lumber yards see studs and plywood to sell – now imagine that on a scale of Houston…

I remember being shocked at how vibrant things were after Rita.  I thought we’d be limping along, but we were busy beavers, with money in our pockets.  And we were only this-big.  You do a little thinking about millions of people all needing carpet, sheet rock, and couches – at the same time – and it’s economically stunning.

Perspective leads to truth.  The 1900 Galveston hurricane was very similar to Harvey, except in death toll.  So many were lost they can only guess, no less than 6000, maybe as many as double that.  Days later news reached Houston.  The dead were so many that they put them on barges and sank them in the gulf, and when they washed back on the beach they built funeral pyres.  We heard the word “devastation” a lot during Harvey.  Compared to Galveston…

People who study the history of baby names in the distant future may wonder why Katrina, Rita and now Harvey suddenly went out of fashion.  Not many babies from Cameron named Audrey, I can tell you that.

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This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by Eighty-one, where we send our condolences to the one Harvey that we knew, an honorable man, just minding his good reputation, until the weather people stuck his name on a storm.

Other Bedtime Stories can be found on the Eighty-one Facebook page.  He can be reached at

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