Does the sound of rain now frighten our friends?

I cannot stop thinking about something a former colleague of mine once told me about how an extreme weather event changed his view of what used to comfort him.

We were working in Beaumont, Texas, together at the time. He was an editor at the Beaumont Enterprise, where I worked as editor of the opinion pages.

I think of him now as we watch the horror continuing to unfold in the Golden Triangle and in nearby Houston.

My friend lived at the time in a suburban Beaumont community near Pine Island Bayou. The Golden Triangle is known to get a lot of rain in a major hurry. One such event occurred. My friend, his wife and their two small sons got caught in the rain.

The bayou spilled over. Roughly two feet of water poured into my friend’s home. They had to evacuate. I cannot recall nearly three decades later where they ended up, or even how long they were displaced from their home.

The water eventually receded. They repaired the damage. They moved back in.

“You know there once was a time,” my friend said — and yes, I am paraphrasing — “when the sound of rain would lull me to sleep. These days, after what just happened to us, the sound of rain now scares me half to death.”

It’s impossible for me to believe that millions of Texans who are battling the devastation brought by Hurricane Harvey aren’t now frightened for life at that very sound.

My heart breaks for them.

I lost touch with my friend many years ago as we went our separate ways. I just hope by now he’s gotten over his fear of rainfall.

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