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A flooded anniversary? Not this year

It’s 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. My wife and I are celebrating our 14th anniversary. We, along with our daughter, daughter’s fiancé, dog and cat, all found a spot at The Port Arthur News office and started to fall asleep.

Hurricane Harvey had turned into a Tropical Storm, but we were still expecting another 10 inches of rain to fall overnight. Our home in Dominion Ranch already had a foot and a half of water in it when we decided the rest of my family would join me at The News office, which was then dry.

My wife was the first to notice the water coming in the office at about 1 a.m. She had been sleeping on couch cushions on the floor when her hand slipped into the water.

It was already ankle deep inside and much higher outside so we toughed it out, as many did, until we were able to make a break for it at 7 a.m., find help and get somewhere dry.

We joke now that Aug. 29, 2017 will probably be our most memorable anniversary. We’re calling it the “Harvey Anniversary.” But this year we are planning something completely different. Ha ha.

Last month my wife let me know that this year, our 15-year anniversary, needs to be special. Let’s get out of town for a weekend and not think about last year. I was completely good with that.

Initially I planned a completely different weekend, one that would have us stay at the historic Old Bexar County Jail, now a Holiday Inn Express in downtown San Antonio. Staying at an historic jail with stories of paranormal activity seemed fun at the time. After a short conversation with my wife, we decided we wouldn’t be doing that.

Instead, I booked a room at a hotel right on the Riverwalk with views for days. Added a dinner at the top of the Tower of Americas late in the evening to watch the sun go down and — Voila! — I’m back in good graces with no after effects of potential ghosts.

So as you read this column on Sunday morning, just three days until Harvey’s anniversary, we will be finishing up the last day of our weekend getaway and heading home.

I know there are still many citizens around our community that have yet to make it back into their homes since Aug. 29, 2017. But Aug. 29, 2018, although not a happy one, is your anniversary, too. It’s the one-year Harvey anniversary that changed all our lives.

If you can, no matter your circumstance, I hope you get out and have some fun this anniversary as well. If possible, spend as much time as you can with family and friends. For without them, many of us would have had a much different outcome during the event one year ago.

Rich Macke is publisher of The Port Arthur News.