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IMG_5813There is an amazing engineering feature in Houston.  It is called the Buffalo Bijou.  This is a creek for most of its existence, meandering from downtown Houston due West and into the region of Katy.

Katy is my home town and the Buffalo Bijou is familiar to me and my fellow residents.  We appreciate this cavernous grassy canyon snaking through our community because it is a constant reminder that it is ready to take away the deluge of water that visits our part of Texas several times a year.

When there is no rain and the weather has no prediction of precipitation, I along with my fellow Texans overlook this massive amount of real estate.  Green grass lines the banks of this very large creek and overpasses allow traffic to flow unimpeded.  But, it is always ready.

Most of the year a small creek travels through this piece of land.  The slow-moving waters do not cut much of a trail through the dirt.  Most adults could easily leap over the creek without much effort.

I bicycle along this body of water and marvel at its great expanse.  For miles my bicycle wheels roll along the cement trail that lines one of its banks.  Several times I cross a bridge to keep my journey going.

But, then there are those storms, those Texas-sized storms that drench our home with lots of water.  Drains, and canals flow into the Buffalo Bijou.  It comes quickly and flash flood warnings dominate the airwaves to keep people away from flooded areas.

Torrents of water turn a normally calm creek bed into a raging river.  In a short period of time a calm quiet creek fills up that entire flood plain and muddy waters threaten to lap against the massive concrete bridges that gives people safe passage over the rising waters.  I paused for a picture and to marvel at what makes people feel so small and helpless.

When God turns on the spillway of the heavens and stalls the weather front to hold a pattern over Houston, we hunker down and hope for the best.  Neighbor encourages neighbor.  It is the way of the image of God seeping through the desperation of men who find themselves in need of a helping hand.

Good engineers designed a lot of Houston to weather such moments.  I am grateful to those very good planners who looked beyond the pleasant sunny days.  Their planning for these occasional horribly rainy days has given me peace.  I thank God for them!

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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Houston has been our home for a month.  The adventure of a new place is slowly transforming into a routine.  We are finding the places that we want to go and the best route to get there.

Now, it’s time to feel at home, not just be familiar with our new surroundings.  That means discovering comfort food.  One person’s comfort food is an exotic adventure to another.

For my bride and I there is always time to explore for authentic Cantonese cuisine.  That is the food that we remember from our days as children.  It is the food the is the center of our family celebrations.

Our moms cooked these dishes for us.  When the family came together to feast on these common dishes, we felt a part of something that made us feel safe, significant and important.

Comfort food does that to you.  It links palate with memories, meaning with aroma and love through that language of taste that is never easy to put into the words.  But, when our olfactory nerves register a familiar dish, then we salivate and a lot of problems dissolve and life finds its balance again.

We found a Cantonese restaurant not far from our home.  The owner stopped to talk to us.  She suggested that we order from the Chinese menu. 

She gave us each a copy and we talked through the dishes.  We chose a beef stew dish.  To that we also ordered a fish dish in black bean sauce.

When the food was served, it was delicious.  More so it was very familiar.  Emotionally, it was like a little bit of home which is far away, has been transferred to our new land.

If you are a fan of Cantonese style food and find yourself in Katy, Texas you should stop in and give Mary’s restaurant a try.  It is named China Cottage and it is located on S. Mason.  The wait staff is amazingly friendly on top of everything else.

Enjoy and be comforted.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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