Sunday, September 14, 2008

You All Bring Beer?

Something tells me this guy would have made an excellent adult kickballer...

Ex-Marine last holdout in barrier island town

SURFSIDE BEACH, Texas (AP) — Ray Wilkinson sat with his feet propped on the railing of his front porch Saturday, calmly dragging on a Marlboro Light as reporters asked whether he considered himself brave for being the only person to ride out Hurricane Ike on this spit of sand.

"I consider myself to be stupid," Wilkinson, 67, spat through a thick, tobacco-stained beard. "I'm just tired of running from these things. If it's going to get you, it's going to get you. ...

"I didn't say I had all my marbles, OK."

The retired carpenter and former Marine insists he's never stayed for a hurricane that was coming at him. He says he fully intended to leave when police issued a mandatory evacuation. But the friend who was supposed to give him a ride went for a last-minute run to the store and couldn't get back.

Mayor Larry Davison said city officials were told Wilkinson had left. But as they retreated from the flooded streets Friday, they saw him waving from the porch of the teal-colored stilt duplex he rents.

When Davison came back Saturday, he was shocked and relieved to see Wilkinson waving from the same spot, a tattered American flag flapping from the wall beside him.

"He kind of drank his way through the night," Davison said.

Wilkinson — dressed only in shorts, tennis shoes and a ball cap — said he sat on the porch the entire time as the house swayed as much as 10 inches. He watched debris float by — cars, stairs and refrigerators, "my own being one of 'em, damn it."

"You all bring beer?" he asked reporters.

Wilkinson said he came to Surfside Beach 30 years ago after a colon cancer diagnosis.

"I was supposed to be done with 10, 12 years ago — longer than that, actually," he said. "I pretty well can guess this is where I'm going to go. That's what I came down here for."

Just as with the cancer, he figures it wasn't his time to go.

1 comment:

lauren said...

"He kind of drank his way through the night."
Hmmm. I guess I didn't realize that I too was waiting for a hurricane to pass. Har har.