I was standing knee deep in soggy sheet rock when my cell phone rang from somewhere beneath one of the mounds of ruined clothing piled against the wall. By the time I could get one muddy glove off and locate the phone, it had quit ringing or whatever you call that irritating sound that cell phones make.

I had no sooner laid it down on what was left of a coffee table than it began ringing and vibrating its way across the cracked glass.

“Dickie … can you hear me? This is Roy. I am trying to use my wife’s cell phone, the buttons are too damn small and I am having hell using it, but it is all I’ve got. I know its late, but we found a place to get our readers a paper out and I need your column!”

It was vintage Roy Dunn. Very few phone calls could have made me happier after two solid weeks of tearing up, cleaning out, and hauling a life time of memories to the curb. Ike will not go away and that unmistakable voice was an injection of normalcy

I have found plenty to help with in Orange this week, but I spent the first few days after the hurricane trying to help friends and their neighbors with homes between Roundbunch and South Texas 87. It was apparent, even from a distance, that “The Record” offices had fared no better fate than that of seemingly every home and business in Bridge City. After finding no one around on those early trips, I feared the worst for the future of the popular newspaper.

I should have known better. You either love him or hate him, but Roy Dunn is a newpaper man through and through. He has never burdened himself with the fear of failure and thrives on challenges and their potential for friendly confrontations. He is passionate about history and politics and is quick to share both his insight and opinion.

Even more importantly for the countless area readers that eagerly await his publication each week, he is always quick to champion not only Bridge City, but the entire county as well. He believes in the indomitable spirit of the folks that call this corner of the state “home” and will defend them like they were family.

He is unbelievably well-read and his very existence is a compilation of both good and bad experiences that would make or break the average person. Having survived each time and again, he learned long ago that both the highs and the lows are very short-lived in an individual’s lifetime.

He delights in wearing his Cajun heritage like a favorite old jacket, but woe unto those to mistake this laid-back persona as a liability. He is as comfortable and well-prepared to press a congressman for answers as he is when negotiating the price of tomatoes with a truck farmer on the side of the road.

In spite of the devastation, Roy Dunn and The Record have stared down Ike and are now officially back in business faster than anyone could have imagined. I truly believe it is that same tenacity and fighting spirit that will hold our community together and ensure our future.
I have not had time nor the inclination to fish with so many friends up to their rears in mud and uncertainty, but I have talked with a handful of folks that have made a trip or two. Not unlike prior to the arrival of Ike, the redfish are still providing most of the action.

The bayous on the east side of the lake are still dumping ugly water, but the main lake shoreline and the river have produced very decent catches. At this point, the Neches is producing better than the Sabine and that is unusual.

If you get out this week I would urge you to do two things while on the water. Please mark any debris with some type of float if you cannot move it and drive much slower than usual both coming and going. Things can change very quickly.

I watched two boaters load up at the River Rat launch late Monday with no problem. A third boat arrived a few minutes later only to wedge a shopping cart in his prop while waiting on his partner to back the truck down. I have seen everything from four-wheelers to trampolines washing down Adam’s Bayou and it is the stuff we cannot see that worries me most!