It’s not that Garrison Telles and his wife, Tammy, were materialistic people before Hurricane Harvey took most of their possessions and drove them out of Rockport, the Texas coastal town of 10,000 where they’d lived for the past 10 months.
    And even less so now, the couple said Tuesday in their room at Brownwood’s La Quinta Inn. They have an added appreciation of life after surviving inside a house as the Category 4 hurricane’s 130 mph-plus winds battered the structure Friday night and into Saturday morning.
    The couple drove out of Rockport with their three dogs Monday morning and arrived in Brownwood, where they have family. Tammy Telles, 45, is from Brownwood and graduated from Brownwood High School. Garrison Telles is from El Paso.
    The two lived in Brownwood before moving to Rockport, where Garrison has friends who asked him if he’d be interested in working there in construction.
    They aren’t sure what they’re going to do next, but don’t believe they’ll return to Rockport.
    Garrison Telles, who is just days away from turning 50, worked as a house builder and and previously worked in the Gulf of Mexico as a shrimper. Tammy worked for a floral company.
    “We’re talking it day-to-day right now,” Garrison Telles said. “We’re still shell-shocked. We’re just pretty much looking at life in a whole different light.”
    They’re relieved to be alive, and the stuff they lost — “it’s just stuff,” Telles said. “We won’t be materialistic people ever again — not that we ever were. I don’t even have any tools now.”
    Before Harvey, the two were living in a rented RV trailer and enjoying “a little piece of paradise, a nice little community of people that looked out for each other,” Garrison Telles said.
    When their day started Friday, the weather was calm and they did not realize the storm that approached the coast was intensifying into a Category 4 hurricane. They believed it then to be a tropical storm or at the most, a weak-to-moderate hurricane.
    They didn’t believe evacuating was a viable option because they weren’t sure their SUV was in good enough condition to travel, and besides, the evacuation route out was backed up with traffic.
    “In a matter of one day, that thing was barreling down on top of us — from a Category 1 to a (Category) 4,” Garrison Telles said.
    Their landlord, who had left Rockport, told them they could go inside his home to ride out the storm.
    Around 7 p.m., the wind suddenly became much stronger and the rain began. As Harvey arrived full force, the wind outside roared like a freight train. Sheet rock fell from the ceiling of their landlord’s house, a sliding glass door broke out and the walls groaned as they “breathed,” Garrison Telles said. Siding was blown off the home — but the survived without a great deal of interior damage and not much water inside.
    “I felt pressure in my ears,” Tammy Telles said. “I just tried to stay calm. I just sat there and prayed. That’s all you can do.”
    She said there are “no words” to adequately describe the experience.
    Around 3 or 4 a.m., the wind had decreased enough for Garrison Telles to venture outside. Even in the dark, he could see downed trees and tree limbs.
    Saturday’s light revealed a scene of destruction that reminded Telles of a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie.
    There were emotional sights for Telles, such as seeing a photo of his deceased mother that had fallen into water.
    After leaving Rockport Monday morning, they stopped for fast food in a San Antonio restaurant, expecting to see other hurricane refugees. The sight of people in the restaurant going about their daily lives, after “our whole world just fell apart,” was unsettling, Tammy Telles said.
    During their stay at La Quinta, as they decide what to do next, they are regaining their equilibrium, the couple said. “I definitely think we’re stronger now than we were before,” Garrison Telles said.
    “I think we’re going to be all right.”
    Telles said he’s thankful to have a support system of friends and family. But he also thinks about people he knew in Rockport who had no family — and he wonders what will happen to them.