WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — A Hawaiian vacation was just hours away for Joan Jenkins when she received a phone call that her Wimberley home was flooded. So she turned away from paradise and returned to a very harsh reality.
“When we rounded the corner, I just burst into tears because our house has never flooded and we have owned it for 40 years,” she said Friday as she sorted through her water-soaked belongings. Though her home was damaged and many possessions destroyed, it was what sat in the backyard which may have painted the most clear picture of what the community lost.
“It was a tree we called ‘Strong,'” she said. “We figured it was 400-500 years old and it is gone. It makes you think that nothing is permanent.”
That inevitability is one Texans have faced many times in the aftermath of May flooding which has ended lives, taken homes, and devastated neighborhoods.
Nothing is permanent. Not even sadness.
“You cry some more and then you get back to work,” said Jenkins.
As the sunshine shone bright on Friday, Jenkins, her friend Marilyn, and her daughter Jessica managed to find the bright side in a lot of things. While looking over what was lost, Jenkins found something.
“I found a love letter from my old boyfriend,” she said with a laugh as she stared at the piece of paper with the words “I love you” written repeatedly to take up the entire page. “I might call him and tell him he made my day!”
The three women even found it in them to crack a few jokes about how the upcoming Christmas might be the best in years.
“People tell me they never know what to get me because I have everything. Well, problem solved,” said Jenkins.
But the biggest silver-lining, according to Jenkins, has been the goodwill pouring into Hays County and Texas from volunteers and donations all over.
“It has been inspiring.”
It could be years before the area fully recovers from the damage, but for Jenkins it starts with a simple purchase. Herself, Jessica, and Marilyn wear all wearing the same burnt orange Texas Longhorns t-shirts on Friday.
“We are wearing identical shirts. Our $4 Academy t-shirts as we clean up,” she said. “As a team.”