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Me & Harvey..in retrospect

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greybeard

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First of all, my sincere thanks to all here who offered help, especially to Callmefence, who Monday afternoon while I was at my sister's as a refugee, offered material and labor to help me get my place back in order. For a variety of reasons, none of which were valid I guess, I did not reply to that generous offer untill today when he queried me. My apologies, for whatever they're worth. Had so many messages and little internet access and I had no idea at the time what I was going to find when all the water went down, but still, I should have found a way to reply to such a generous and genuine offer to help.

The whole thing is like a dream now, didn't happen, couldn't have happen, but it did happen. I lost track of which day was which and had to look back on my phone messages to even remember which day we left here.

It was hard, really hard, laying there in bed before dawn Mondayy and hearing the cattle bawl, then go silent..looking out thru the downpour with a spot light trying to see what was going on in that chest deep water. Hard to sit still as logs, barrels and I don't know what hit against the side of the house as the current carried it along.
Questioned myself over and over why I didn't do things differently, better. Sunday afternoon, between the downpours when water dropped on the low place of my road, we moved my wife's car to high ground right inside my back gate. Why didn't I load everything from my shop on my trailer and park it there too or move it off site?
Why didn't I cut the fences early Sunday night and let the cattle on the West side get out into the higher ground in the National Forest and deal with gathering them later? Why didn't I at least bring that week old calf up on the porch--it's closed in with picketed handrails all around and gates. It would have gotten hungry, but would have survived. Why didn't I take my truck out and the tractors and park them behind wife's car?
All I could think of was the highest I've ever seen water here since 1964 and it had never gotten more than a few inches deep where my house is now. Even the historical (at that time) flood last May 30 didn't put water in my yard or shop, and only closed the roadway out for about 45 minutes. I never for a minute expected the river to get so high that it started flowing back thru the culverts under that crossing and then flooding every thing in sight except 2 hills. I never for a second expected the level and velocity of the water to be so great it washed/floated cattle over the TOPS of the fences.
Within an hour of moving her car, the rains started back up hard and what had been a few inches of water in the low crossing became 4' deep and 40' across and it didn't go back down until Tuesday morning when the river had crested and started falling. By Monday morning, that water was probably 10 feet deep, and you couldn't tell where that crossing was, it was just solid water over the entire property and out into the national forest as as I could see.

Wife and I Sunday afternoon late, put everything in the shop that could be damaged, up on shelves or blocks, and I remember thinking "This won't be needed and I'll have to pull it all down in a day or two" but 4' of water showed me the real futility in that and the error of my judgement.
Why didn't I do it differently? Because I was arrogant, an old tough Marine that had survived everything God and Nature had thrown at me.
I was crying this week tho, when I again saw that Bear Creek volunteer fireman that swam and waded deep running water and helped us get out. I didn't know then,. but he had been in a boat on another water rescue the night before when a pine top floated up and flipped the boat and he came close to drowning himself, but he was right back at it when I called the next morning. Could wife and I have made it out thru that turbulence by ourselves? I don't know. Maybe, but he's a heck of a hero in my book.

The severity of things hit home for real when Tues afternoon, I learned my friend 2 miles up the county road had drowned helping gather his brother's cattle and getting some things out of brother's flooded house. We attended his funeral Tuesday morning. Standing room only and people standing out side listening. He will be missed. One of the last old time cowboys around here, horses and dogs type, good horseman and roper that had a nice roping pen we all had gone to every weekend to watch the activities. 69 years old and his family is one of the old families that have been here for generations. None of them have never seen or heard of water like this either.
It's been a humbling, learning experience, and I will never again doubt who is really in control, and can only be thankful that God took pity on wife and I and allowed the loss to be minimal.
Again, thanks to all who called and sent texts and prayers.
 

Jogeephus

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Thanks for sharing that. Glad you are alright and I know it was overwhelming and made you feel helpless which I'm sure is hard on someone like yourself. Stay safe and take it one step at a time.
 

boondocks

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Glad you made it through, GB. It will take a while to process everything. The mind will need some healing as well as the land and cattle. When you think you've planned for a "worst case scenario", and the actual scenario turns out to be even worse, it shakes your sense of what is possible, and is unsettling (in my experience in somewhat different contexts). Glad you and the missus are well, and am sorry to hear about your neighbor.
 

Ryder

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Some of us may not have been in a position to offer you help and did not want to possibly distract you from your tasks with what you might be doing. But I, probably a lot of us, were caring and pulling for you and the others.
Certainly glad you are still with us.

Now Florida and places north of Fl, as well as those islands down below, warrant our concern as well.
 

skyhightree1

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GB... I wish it was more that I could do for you for sure. I was pretty glad to hear you pick up when I called. I think everyone at some point or another in life says oh it wont be that bad and gets caught with the pants down. If you take that experience and learn and teach others is why you were spared. I hope everything gets caught back up and back to some form of normalcy.
 

WalnutCrest

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GB ... Thank you for posting this. I'll share it with my kids and wife. Your losses are quite unfortunate, but they could have been quite worse.
 

HDRider

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You brought me closer to something that is almost impossible for me to relate to from here. Your tragedy is made greater by the 100s or 1000s of times it was repeated. I am glad you and yours are safe. So many people have shown themselves selfless as they helped all those in dire need.
 

FlyingLSimmentals

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GB, I've got you, Texas and now Florida all in my prayers. Glad yours and you are ok. Your story really makes me appreciate where I live, that I'm not in a coastal state. Just keep on keeping on.
 

kenny thomas

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GB I stayed in Lufkin on the Tuesday night when it was hitting you. I did call CB and he said you were ok. Makes me thankful I'm far inland and in the hills
 

Bigfoot

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Glad you shared. I lost everything once to nature. Very humbling. Put things in perspective for me. Changed my priorities.

Very hard to see a life's work laying in ruin. To know that every minutes worth of work, that you had ever done in your life was for nothing. It not only had to be repeated, you had to clear the old out of the way, to make room for the new.
 

Caustic Burno

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kenny thomas":1ke11u6s said:
GB I stayed in Lufkin on the Tuesday night when it was hitting you. I did call CB and he said you were ok. Makes me thankful I'm far inland and in the hills

You keep an eye on Irma
 

D2Cat

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Greybeard, I appreciate you sharing the details of such a storm. A person can only do so much to prepare for something, and that's based on past personal experience or what one learns from others.

You beat yourself up on things you think you should have done. I remember Frank Gifford, on Monday Night Football, say "If if and buts were candy and nuts, Oh what a Christmas this would be!"

What you detail will help others who come to this thread in the future. Thanks for sharing.
 

Workinonit Farm

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Greybeard, great post, heartfelt and sincere. Like the others, I'm just so glad that you and your wife are okay.

It certainly has been a life changing event for you, as well as many others.
 

M.Magis

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Good post, and I wish more people from Fl could read it. A lot of people down there planning to ride this next one out.
 

wbvs58

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All the best for you CB. I take it the cattle did not survive? I would not give up hope though, not uncommon here for cattle found to be 20-30 km downstream alive and well.

Ken
 

Bright Raven

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Its a life experience that you didn't really need. It would have been more fun if it had rained dollar bills instead of all that water.

That is very sad about the old cowboy. It is also sad about the premature calf. The most disturbing part for me was when you were in bed and the mooing stopped....
 

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