I posted this over on my MySpace blog, but, honestly, after thinking about it, I realized I wanted it here as well. I was born and raised in a city that has been dogged far too often for terribly superficial things. I’m glad it is finally getting the positive attention it deserves.
It floods on occassion.
It is humid.
There are cockroaches here the size of small children.
There is smog.
There is traffic.
I remember reading a few years back that Houston represents just under 1 percent of the population of the United States but 11 percent of the total volunteer hours.
After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Houston opened its doors and hearts without thinking and without complaining (unlike certain other Texas cities I won’t mention…cough).
When the Superdome was falling down around survivors, we told them to send them to the Astrodome. When it was full, we opened the convention center next door. When it filled up, just open the second convention center. 50,000? 100,000? 200,000? more? Sure, send ’em on. We’ll just put on an extra few plates for supper.
I’ve read that the triage facilities for treating the health and well-being of the evacuees in the Dome and convention centers are better than 99 percent of emergency rooms around the country. What do you expect from a city with the second largest medical center in America?
Blood drives. Clothing drives. Fund drives. City council agrees to provide $10 million in aid before the federal government can make up its mind. Hospitals from Houston had some of the first rescue teams on the ground in NOLA before FEMA had a clue. Our football team raised $2.5 million. Radio stations in the area have raised over $1 million in pledge drives including the alt.rock station that was playing ANYTTHING you wanted for a pledge – including Cheech and Chong back to back with Nickeback and Eric Clapton.
Job fairs, job training, low income housing, food (GOOD food, I might add), shelter, clothing, healthcare, daycare…you name it, we have it and we don’t mind giving it away.
You know, we take a lot of shit from folks around the country for being the “Fattest City in America” or for having the most smog or for being humid or whatever. But, if living in a city that gets called a “Hellhole” by a writer from New York City (of all places) means that I get to live with the people who have done all that we have done for Katrina victims in the past week and a half, then you can keep your city.
I’ll take this one. I’ll take the one that came through when everything was on the line and even the federal government didn’t know what to do. I’ll take the city that gave everything it had for neighbors they barely knew and will continue to give for as long as it takes.
Yeah, we’ve got rain and humidity and smog and traffic. But, we also have Houstonians.
I’ll take my people and my city. Typical Houston.