Thirty years in Texas hasn’t dimmed Kevin Dougherty’s memories of growing up in Bedford.
But this week’s weather in the Lone Star State? Give me a break.
“It’s probably 50 degrees in the house now, but I have friends where it’s 40 at home,” said Dougherty, who lives in the city of Keller, where electricity is sporadic.
“We are under a boil water order. Keller ran out of water, and we were getting water from Fort Worth until something happened to its treatment plant.”
Dougherty, a 1979 Bedford High School graduate, taught third grade at Job Lane School for more than six years in the 1980s before moving to Texas. He now works with a company that specializes in innovative educational technology.
“When it kept getting colder and precipitation was in the forecast, it was feeling a little dire,” Dougherty said. “You already have the isolation of Covid. It sort of wears on you psychologically.”
To prevent frozen pipes, “we had to keep our faucets open — and that made consumption higher than the peak of summer,” he related. “So 40,000 people did what they were directed to do, and now the supply is depleted.” Public buildings and churches have opened as “warming stations,” and residents have filled area hotels, “but they too are having the rolling blackouts.”
He added that he was shocked to learn that around Galveston and the Rio Grande Valley on the border with Mexico, open water was iced over. “Tomorrow is not supposed to get above freezing. With limited internet, they are just shutting the schools down. It’s warmer in Alaska than it is here now.”
But there’s good news: “It will be in the 60s next week.” And there’s summer. “One time there were 40-plus days of 100 degrees and that was worse than this. You felt no relief from the heat.”
Significant snowfall in Keller used to be a cause for rejoicing – at least for someone from New England. “It always felt so good because it brought back fond memories – of sliding down the hill from Davis School to Glenridge Drive, or on the hills near my grandparents in Lincoln.”
“Where we live reminds me a little of Bedford. The land I live on, just shy of an acre, has about 120 trees. It’s an old dairy farm – just like a lot of Bedford. It’s not flat like you would think of Texas.”
“Texas is unique in so many ways,” Dougherty observed. “It was like moving to a foreign country at first for me. Over time I have grown to love so many aspects of the spirit of Texas, an innovative spirit, a pioneer spirit.”
“People are moving here in droves from all over the world,” he said. “Texas is becoming a microcosm of the U.S.” Major corporate offices—Charles Schwab, Fidelity, E*TRADE— are close to his neighborhood.
Almost a year ago, Dougherty was clinging to life after a routine cardiac procedure was mishandled. Doctors broke all of his ribs and his sternum with aggressive cardiopulmonary resuscitation. “I was on life-support for 18 days,” he said and required open-heart surgery.
Now “I feel very good,” he asserted. “I’m planning to walk-run my first 5K. It’s almost surreal that something like that happened.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763