Stephanie called me and said that there was a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico and that it was moving north toward the ranch. I looked at the weather and it was only a tropical depression and in my mind, not far enough from Texas to develop into anything serious. If ever I was wrong, this would prove to be when I was maybe the most wrong I’ve ever been.
Two days after Stephanie called me it seemed that south Texas was in a frenzy trying to prepare for what was then being forecasted to be a category 3 hurricane. The next day I was in Panama watching a guy fight a 700 plus pound blue marlin when our Sat phone rang. The storm had progressed to a category 4 and was in line for a direct hit over our home. I then told Stephanie that since the storm was now a cat 4 it would be best for her to go to my mother’s house. My Mother’s house is built of steel reinforced concrete and I knew everyone would be safe there. The storm hit as scheduled and for a while I was able to text with everyone just for peace of mind. After about 10:00PM phone service stopped working but I was really not worried. So long as Stephanie and everyone remained inside my Mother’s house everything would be just fine.
I awoke at around 2:15AM to see that I had a text from our producer, Chris Koch saying, “ It’s real bad, it’s breaking the house apart.” I tried texting him and calling him but had no luck. IN my mind logic told me that he was embellishing on this, but without contact mind started playing tricks on me. One of my brothers and his family, one of my sons and my wife were inside that house and his text had me worried. I finally received a text that all was well and man I can’t describe what a weight that was off of my shoulders. Slowly pictures started come through in snap chats, texts, and on the news of where my home is. The small communities around my hometown were devastated, some of them were saying that 75% of homes had been 100% destroyed. The ranch took a beating as well losing several barns and a couple roofs.
As I type this, clean up is still going on and it is somewhat overwhelming, it seems that as soon as we finish one thing we find something else torn apart. Our hunting business, Mellon Creek Outfitters has to cancel its entire season because our lodge had significant damage. We are finally starting to see daylight at the end of the tunnel as we work to restore the ranch to working order. Truthfully we were extremely fortunate, other towns and cities had it and still have it much worse. Rockport, Refugio, Woodsboro, and Port Aransas are seriously torn apart. Houston flooded like it never has in history. So, even though we got torn up a bit we are far better off then other areas close to us.