Confession No. 142 — The human condition is alive and well

So long as you believe everything you see, read and hear these days, the human race is going to hell in a hand basket. We care nothing about anything. Except maybe ourselves. I held similar beliefs … until a few days ago.

My family and I are residents of the greater Houston area. My 19 loyal followers know that I moved here about two years ago and lived in an RV while my wife finished her work contract in our old hometown. She moved here with the rest of the family and we then moved from the ‘Jimmy Rockford’ (our RV) to the Dive House (our little home nearby). Catherine pretty much bought this home behind my back so that I could earn my masters degree in some larger digs.

All was well here. We quickly came to love our little home. And then it happened. We lost pretty much all of our worldly possessions in flood waters and a tornado.

To say that we’re depressed and overcome is an understatement.

Catherine and I once slept on the floor of a house that was to be taken from us by the bank within hours. As I mentioned on social media recently, we’ve been virtually bankrupt more than once. And heartbroken more times than I can count. But nothing compares to this.

Seeing water pour in from every corner of one’s home is a frightening sight. Knowing that sandbags sit just outside the exterior doors and walls makes it scarier. Aren’t they supposed to prevent this sort of thing?

Emergency alerts are such the norm during a weather event of this magnitude, that many people (like us) begin to ignore them. After all, what more damage can happen? But then, when a large tree is toppled onto the roof just above, it becomes a violently nasty wake-up call that things can get worse. And they did.

But, I digress. This essay really isn’t about us. It’s about our guardian angels and the many people just like them.

We moved into the Dive House (just outside of League City, TX — less than a mile from the Galveston Bay) on Easter Sunday, 2017. Our movers were ex-cons who were trying to get back on their feet. They worked from 8 a.m. Saturday until 1 a.m. Monday. We bought them Whataburgers and tipped them well, but knew even that wasn’t enough to suffice for working on Easter. What gentlemen they were.

Our new neighbors, the Enriquez family, saw that we had a little boy, and they couldn’t help themselves but to make us a part of their big celebration.

“Hi, I’m Mario,” my neighbor said from the fence. “Please come join us. It’s Easter. We have lots of food, and an Easter egg hunt soon. Please come over.”

I didn’t want to go. I was tired and cranky. But Kaiden’s eyes lit up at the thought of finding eggs, and Catherine told them we’d be right over.

Yours truly, with Mario ~ Easter Sunday, 2017

Yours truly, with Mario ~ Easter Sunday, 2017

 

With a 12-pack of Bud Light in tow, we crossed the fence line. Though we mostly spoke different languages, we were made to feel right at home. We ate, drank and laughed together. I’d never experienced such genuine hospitality from people who didn’t know me from Adam.

And then came Harvey.                             

We will get through this.

Mario, Linda and their family knew that even a few inches of rain could wreak havoc on this neighborhood between Houston and the Galveston Bay, and they elevated their house to prevent a waterlogged catastrophe. Unfortunately, the previous owners of our home didn’t have the same foresight or ability. Mario knew this, and was at our door about the same time water started pouring in.

“Son, you take care of the baseboards all over the house,” he politely but sternly ordered. “You follow him with this hatchet to take out drywall,” he told another son.

I was in another room with a sledgehammer while my son yanked insulation from the walls. In the meantime, Catherine and the children were at Mario’s house, under his orders.

Some 12 hours later, we hunkered down in the Jimmy Rockford, parked in our drive and hooked to a generator. The Dive House was in ruin, but unlike many others, we had a backup home … until 4 a.m. on the second day of Harvey.

The tornado warning sounded on all of our phones. It seemed, at the time, that there were dozens of such warnings. Hurricanes, after all, tend to spawn twisters. There were no worries until hail, rocks or sticks began banging into the west-facing side of the trailer, and then bam! The RV was violently lifted and set back down. A tree had toppled our tiny home.

There was no real way to assess the damage, as it was pitch black outside and overhanging limbs blocked the exit door. We began taking on leaks and used trash cans to collect the water.

And then came Mario. Again.

Our adjoining yards had again become a lake, and Mario used an old swimming pool ladder to come over the fence with his chainsaw.

“We have to get this tree from your trailer,” he said. “And I have a heavy-duty tarp … it’s better than anything you probably have. I’ll get it up here when the roof is clear.”

I stood in our flooded yard, helpless, as Mario cut wood and managed to toss it in a neat pile down below. I’d never felt so dispirited and blessed at the same time. A few hours later, I learned that Mario and his wife had prepared dinner for us (and lunch too — which I missed) and had cleared out a bedroom so that we could sleep dry.

“Please,” he said. “Our home is your home. Come make yourselves comfortable. We will get through this.”

We.

The Enriquez family, as far as we are concerned, are our guardian angels. I’ve since realized that there are dozens of others out there who have either offered up their homes, or given money to our recovery efforts, or both.

We love all of you. We appreciate all of you more than you know. You are all angels.

As for the human condition? It’s alive and well, despite what you might hear.

 —30—

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Comments

  1. Broher Tom says:

    Wow! I just read this. God bless y’all. I’ll be praying for y’all.

  2. Oh Adam, that is just beautiful.

  3. I know you are WAY to proud to do this but I am your friend and just like Mr. Enriquez and his wife – I am going to do something for you without asking because we got your back — PEOPLE: IF YOU WANT TO CONTRIBUTE A FEW BUCKS TO THE HOLLAND FAMILY CLAN IN THEIR TIME OF NEED — THIS IS THE LINK TO DO IT WITH: https://www.youcaring.com/adamcatherineholland-915477

    Awful things happen to good people all the time — how lucky you were to have never spent one minute alone in the chaos……….your neighbors are the real deal! Bless their hearts!

    • adamjholland says:

      They are awesome, indeed. People are thinking about us, and I’m thinking about them. I wish I could repay their kindness and benevolence. But nothing equals to what they have done and continue to do. — Thank you, Kelli. We love you.

  4. Your neighbors certainly are angels. God bless them,c and you and your family. Prayers. XOXO

    • adamjholland says:

      Are they awesome, or what? I have a feeling that there are plenty more neighbors out there who are just like Mario and his family.

  5. So sorry for your loss Adam…but Im glad that you were blessed with such wonderful neighbors…This is just a temporary setback.

  6. Linsae Snider says:

    Adam, you and Katherine have been on my mind constantly. Your writing is beautiful and articulates so many feelings. Your TSPRA family is here to support you. Roland and I are here to support you. I pray that you can remain safe and dry until all things can take their course life can be norma again.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Linsae. I’ve belonged to my fair share of professional associations through the years, but none that could also be classified as ‘personal.’ I love Texas School Public Relations Association and all of its members. What an outstanding group. And thank you for your prayers and well-wishes.#LPproud #WeChoosePublic ;-)

  7. Adam, I was so wondering how you and your family were doing yet didn’t want to bother you. Bless you and your wonderful neighbors. Prayers for no more hardships and speedy recovery.

    • adamjholland says:

      You are never a bother, Connie. We will make it through this. I won’t lie — it stinks. But there are plenty of folks who are n much worse shape. Pray for them, please. And thank you. :)

  8. Christine @ Christine's Pantry says:

    I just read this. Awesome neighbors! I’m so very sorry this happen. I know it may not seem like it now, but things will get better. Sending prayers. Take care.

  9. Melina Bush says:

    I’m so glad to hear your neighbors have been, well, good neighbors. Our thoughts and prayers have been with you and your family during this awful time. From what we are seeing, there are similar stories all over the Texas coast. Thank God for good people.

  10. Bettie Ashby says:

    You are incredible, Adam!! There is nothing that will keep you down!!!! Prayers for your family …

  11. I’m so glad to hear you are together and safe. After following you for so long, I feel like you’re a friend. Praying for you all as you persevere. God bless.

  12. I’m in tears. I bet I’ve been on instagram 100 times in the last 24 hours. Checked email and your website. I was so worried!
    You’re blest with helpers before you even know you needed them. That’s a God thing. My helpers are the Garcia family. I messed up a foot. The boys mowed my lawn. I had no idea I’d get hurt and yet my lawn was mowed. Yes, it’s small and insignificant but meaningful to me.
    Adam, I’m so happy you’re together, safe and apparently in loving hands.
    We will see you through this.
    Thank you Lord that they are OKAY!

    • adamjholland says:

      I’m sorry Jill, for not keeping folks in the loop as much as I intended. So, you’ve experienced the guardian angelship as well. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to know that this world is full of good people?

  13. Thank you Mario and family for taking care of our ol’ Strongview friends. Texas really is the greatest country on Earth. Continued prayers, friends.

  14. I am at a loss for words. I can’t even imagine the devistation. I know this is of no help, but you are in my thoughts.
    Leslie

    • adamjholland says:

      …means much more than you know.. We are blessed beyond measure. This has changed me. (For the better.)

  15. Without a doubt, this is one of the most uplifting essays about overcoming adversity I have ever read. Very humbling to realise that you aren’t just reporting it, you are living it. Your neighbours are indeed angels or at least the best of humanity. They are in my thoughts and prayers, as are you and your family, at this most trying of times. You all will get through this. With love and best wishes from Blighty.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you. We are blessed, for sure. I have a feeling that many people are in the same wonderful boat and don’t even realize it.

  16. You and your family have been in my thoughts these last few days. I am glad to see clean-up has begun. Your neighbors and your story made me think of a quote from “Willy Wonka”:

    “So shines a good deed on a weary world.”

    Thanks for sharing the light. :) I hope you get the help you need to make your home right again.

  17. John Phipps and Family says:

    Nice Adam. You know we’re here for you.

  18. Michele Phillips says:

    Dear Adam, I’m so very sorry for your pain and loss. I’m crying tears of both heartbreak and happiness for you and your family after reading this beautiful piece… Most of us have never experienced what you’re going through, and we surely can’t imagine how painfully devastating it must be. Mario’s words and his family’s kind gestures are beyond heartwarming… I’m so thankful that you have such amazing Angels right next door. Please know that you and your family are constantly in our thoughts and prayers, and we’ll be sending love your way whenever we can. Please keep us posted.

    • adamjholland says:

      Thank you, Michele. This has changed us. We’d like to think that we were already pretty decent people. But our experience will make us better. I hope you are well.

  19. I think there’s a lot more good out there than we realize as we get caught up in the day-to-day. At heart, most people will reach out and do what they can when they see a need. Lots of things besides flood water can bring it on. But don’t ever feel like you need to pay it back. Instead, look for opportunities to pay it forward.

    There. That’s my wee bit ‘o wisdom. Wishing you speedy recovery from this mess and safety and dry sheets for the whole family.

    • adamjholland says:

      Eda, for all that has been done for us, we couldn’t pay it back if we tried. We’ve always been the benevolent type, many times to our detriment. But we will look for those additional opportunities. Thank you for your wisdom and well-wishes.

  20. Beautiful story to come out of a very tough time.

  21. my gosh Adam. Just now reading this. Your description of what you’ve been through and the sincere generosity of your neighbors have brought tears to my eyes. I hope things will be looking up for you and Catherine very soon. Hugs.

  22. Whitney Messervy says:

    The human condition is alive! Thank you for sharing!

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