Letting Texas know

Gulfport, Miss.

Portraits Of A Catastrophe

September 04, 2005|By Karl Merton Ferron

The woman, in her 60s, approached after seeing the Texas license plates on my rental car.

Her son lived there, and she was worried.

Her town, Gulfport, had been slammed by the hurricane. Texas wasn't touched. But she was worried that her son was probably worried about her, and she hadn't been able to get in touch with him.

Wearing blue jean shorts, flip-flops and a gray T-shirt, she broke into tears -- the first time, she said, since the hurricane struck.

Her son, a military man, was stationed in Texas. She gave me the phone number. On my cell phone, we reached his voice mail.

She left a 90-second message for him, recounting the events of recent days, the damage done. But the main point she wanted to make came across in her first four words:

"Baby, I'm all right. ..."

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