As many people know, I grew up on Lake McQueeney. So, the news that Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority plans to drain the lake, along with the four remaining lakes was sad to hear, albeit, not much of a surprise.
With two failed spill gates on 90-year-old dams, the possibility of another failure is great and the loss of life even higher.
However, that doesn’t mean that the decision doesn’t strike a chord.
I have not lived on the lake since the Flood of ‘98. I haven’t stepped foot in it or gotten on a boat since. I’ve come close to it about a handful of times.
And each time a flood of memories surge through me.
I remember the many summer days that my sister, cousin and I spent swimming at the boat ramp at Hotshots. It was the safest place for us to play when boats weren’t launching or loading up on trailers, and my mom could watch us. There are the memories of us swimming off the dock at our grandparents house in McQueeney Estates.
When we got older and more confident in our swimming skills, we eventually graduated to jumping off the docks into the 6-foot to 8-foot deep waters. With the addition of a retaining wall — or bulkhead — came a ladder. That put us in even deeper water and away from the boats in general.
There were the times we took the boat out, and my sister learned to ski. I’m too uncoordinated to keep my feet together, let alone stand up.
There are the many friends who became like family. And while life floated by and we all drifted in different directions, we could all still come back to that place.
There were the mornings of waking up to the sunrise or the evenings watching it set.
The late-night boat rides, learning to drive jet skis, count-less hours just sitting on the docks, looking up at the stars while listening the water splash below.
There is the serene, quiet after the crowds left in the fall and winter, and the exciting, busy spring and summer that followed.
But there also comes the wall of water that flowed down when it rained 13 inches in just two hours. Reliving the day that the water spilled over the banks and literally washed everything away.
It isn’t easy reliving the bad. However, it’s woven into the fabric of my life. So, when the time comes, and the lakes return to their natural state, it will be difficult to see.
It’s unclear how long it will take for the lakes to return, or if this will become permanent.
I know property owners are gathering, trying to figure out their next steps to save more than just a recreational resource.
But for now, we’ll have to live in the memories of what was. There are many, who like me, will cherish these thoughts and hold them close.