I drove back to Austin this last weekend with a headache. It wasn't the normal "I can't believe I drank 2 gallons of beer last night" headache though. This one was different.
The inside of my face hurt from the testosterone wall that I build up everytime I want to cry. The type of headache that gives me dark circles under my eyes and makes it hard to speak without a quiver. The type of headache that aspirin won't send away.
I've before mentioned how proud I am to be a Houstonian. The last few days, however, has taken my pride to another level. I feel the way the city of Houston has responded to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina needs to be shared.
Everyone else has seen the horrific images and changed life the last week has produced. I'm not going to even pretend like I know what to write and think about that. The bad has been talked about, but I'm not sure the good has.
Around 200,000 Katrina victims have flooded Houston, Texas. They are staying in our homes, hotels, and stadiums. They are jobless, homeless, and when they arrived, hopeless. But the Bayou City changed that.
At local church's, refugees are asked to stand up. They received a hero's welcome, many that include a standing ovation.
On FM radio stations, DJs ask for donations around the clock. $100 donation if you'd like to request a song. On AM stations, callers cry as they tell stories about how they've given money and volunteered, but wish they could do more.
The Astrodome is having to turn down volunteers because there are simply too many people and not enough to do.
The center for hosting a refugee family had to tell people to wait a few days before showing up. They were swamped with people and the lobby wasn't nearly big enough to hold all those willing to share their homes.
8-year-old children dedicated their holiday weekend to set up lemon-aid stands, where all money received was donated to the Red Cross. Older children washed cars for donations.
Even nightclubs are waiving cover charges and offering discounted drinks to people with valid Louisiana drivers licenses.
While it seems like the rest of the country is talking about George Bush, Kayne West, and FEMA, Houston has quietly stepped up and is handling the challenge its been presented with.
This situation isn't a burden to Houston. The attitude is not "How long will you be here?" The attitude is not "We'll do what we can." It's "Welcome to Houston. We're glad you're here."
And I think that's worth sharing.