THE ENEMY HAS LANDED

At the onset of the American Civil War, the Union Navy was attempting to blockade the Texas Coast to prevent the shipment of cotton and salt to help support the war effort of the South.  They were not successful in stopping the blockade runners from getting through their blockade, so the Union Navy landed on the South end of San Jose Island on their way inland.  Their plan was to burn and otherwise destroy the docks, ships and warehouses that were supplying the blockade runners.  Upon landing on the shores of San Jose, they commandeered the house of Hannah Hollingsworth Brundrett and set up camp.  Hannah managed to escape the enemy and mounted a horse to ride up the island to Matagorda to warn the settlers that the enemy had landed.  She did so at great risk and without fear of the cost.  You see, men and women of that era were made of steel and they built their boats of wood.  They ventured out onto the open sea and many times, were caught in violent storms.  They learned that the only way to survive, was to lash themselves to the helm and steer directly into the center of the storm.  They knew that the shortest distance was through the center.  Some survived, but many did not.

I say all of this to help those who do not know the history of our area, understand the DNA of those who have lived here for 176 years.  We do not run from the storms that we find ourselves in the middle of, as we are not afraid to steer directly into the center of the storm.  Along those same lines, just like Hannah, when the enemy lands on our shores, we will do our best to warn our citizens that they are in danger.

Here we are Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2021, thankful for all the blessings that God has given us, and particularly with the blessing of living in this area on the Texas Coast.  But as anyone who has spent much time on the coast knows, paradise can also experience perils.  Storms and floods are some of the risks of living in paradise and when they happen, we have to deal with them.  It is like the old preacher once said, “if you’re not in a storm at the moment, you just came out of one or you are headed into one.  There will always be storms.”  We certainly have had our share of storms and flooding.

Our City and County governments have lashed themselves to the helms of their ships and set a course of dealing head-on with the problems of flooding.  The City and County have plans in place to improve Aransas County and Rockport drainage and to prevent flooding of our homes and businesses.  The citizens have cried out to our leaders to stop the flooding.  Isn’t that the purpose of government, to protect our health, safety and welfare?  Everyone seems to be onboard except our Navigation District Board.  They want to control what and how drainage can flood into our bays and harbors.  The Nav District says, “We need to wait and study.  We need to wait and draw up easements.  We need to wait and make them pay us money before they drain water into ‘our’ harbor.  We need to wait while our citizens are put at risk.”

I spoke at the City of Rockport drainage meeting some months ago and pledged to our citizens that I would do my best to fight for better drainage.  The blood of Hannah Brundrett flows in my veins and just like Hannah, I am warning the citizens that the enemy has landed on our shores and we are paying their salaries.  The pages of the history of this County are stained by the blood of my ancestors and blotted with their tears.  I am tired of the tears and I am tired of waiting.  Alfred Grant Walton in his poem, “The World We Make” asked this question, What is this place in which we dwell, a hut or a palace, a heaven or a hell?  We gather and scatter, we take and we give, we make our world and there we live.”  My question is, “where do you want to live, a heaven or a hell?”  Ask all those who have flooded and they will tell you, the world they lived in. The Enemy Has Landed.

Jerry Brundrett