ROCKPORT, Texas (KXAN) — This year’s Thanksgiving is the first since Hurricane Harvey decimated parts of the coastal bend. Miraculously, the Woman’s Club of Aransas County, located in Rockport, was one of the only buildings close to the water that was not damaged.
Jean McCollum, 91, is grateful for that. She spent several weeks in a motel after the storm, but was grateful to return to regular meetings at the club to see her friends.
“Thanksgiving is going to be sad for a lot of people but I hope they will be OK,” she said. The last three months have been “very sad,” trying to return to normal for McCollum and the other ladies in the group.
Margetta Coulston noticed a change too. Business after business was slow to open up. “You keep hearing we’re not going to reopen, we’re not going to reopen,” she mentioned. “The movie theater is closed and it’s not going to reopen.”
There is a silver lining though, as “the outpouring of generosity and compassion has been unbelievable,” she said.
Modena Durkee, 96, said coming twice a week to meet with the other ladies over a meal or game of canasta, gives her a reason for gratitude.
“I still drive and I come in here twice a week,” Durkee said. “The friendship, everybody is so friendly.”
The ladies gathered this week for a Thanksgiving meal, and games of canasta and bridge.
With a few hours before Harvey made landfall, our crew met Loretta Brandt at a storm shelter in Rockport. She said at the time she was unsure if she or her home would survive. Three months later, she was glad to report no damage. Brandt spent some time at a shelter in Austin, before staying in a hotel approved by the federal government in Johnson City.
“I’m doing good, I was really blessed I didn’t have any damage,” Brandt, 70, said. “We are slowly getting our community back together, but it’s still a long run ahead.”
The overall consensus of the members was a thankfulness to be alive, and excitement to spend time with friends and family this holiday season.
Myrt Annett said she was “thankful for my life and my friends.” Nikki Daniels said she was thankful for her “entire family which is back in Seattle,” as well as her Rockport family. With a laugh, Brandt added she was grateful for “the ability to play canasta.”
This Thanksgiving is bound to be unforgettable for a group of senior citizens that thrives on laughter and camaraderie.