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H1, H2, & Big Boy Life on the (L)edge

Begun in the aftermath of Katrina, this blog was a way to keep family and friends updated as the family struggled to return to a semblance of normalcy. Now, more than four years later, the memories are still strong, the family is, to some extent, scattered. However, life did go on, and this is our story.

December 23, 2005

Way Down Yonder in New Orleans..

We're back in New Orleans! Yeah!! The drive was pleasant once we actually got on the road. The day started off by being awoken by Maynard at 4:20am because he needed to go out. So I got up, took him for a walk while Linda fixed his breakfast. When I got back to bed I was unable to go back to sleep, so I just lay there aggravated for what seemed like hours until I did drift off, only to first have the power go out just long enough to shut down my CPAP and wake me up gasping for air, then within 5 minutes the fire alarms went off. Linda called the front desk, who assured us that there was a fire and we needed to get out, so we grabbed the birds and the dog and went out to the parking lot to join the other guests there.

Several people had pets, so we stood with them and chatted. Turns out one family from Virginia was on their way to Texas. The wife is from Endicott, NY!! Small world! After about 1/2 hour of standing in the cold, we decided to load up the kids and pets and go to breakfast. I was in flip flops with no socks, and the other Mom was in her pj's. We had a nice time visiting with Olvy, Fran, Carmen and Elena. Carmen plays hockey and Elena is a gymnast. Very nice people. I hope our paths cross again sometime.

After breakfast we returned to the hotel, loaded up the car and hit the road. Our drive was nice and uneventful, but the folks heading North on I-55 had a heck of a time. It looked like a pickup pulling a mobile home had jacknifed on the highway. The trailer had turned around and was completely blocking both lanes of traffic as well as the shoulder. Cars were backed up in a dead stop, people were out standing in the neutral ground (median for those not from NOLA) and the highway had been shut down at the previous exit, about 5 or 6 miles further down the road, so traffic there was also backed up and stopped. Didn't look like anyone was hurt, thank God!

We just got a Christmas card from our daughter's friend from High School. Every year they send a card with pictures of their two adorable little boys. This year was no different, except there was an adorable little girl in the middle! That comes as a complete surprise. We had no idea she was even pregnant!! Congrats to them, and Merry Christmas, too!

Once we arrived in NOLA, we dropped off the pets and met Mick and Bev at a restaurant to catch up. They looked great, as always, and we had a really nice dinner and conversation. Can't wait to see them again on Monday, the feast of St. Stephen, patron saint of deacons. Every year the deacons from the Archdiocese of New Orleans gather for Mass and social at St. Stephen's Catholic Church on Napolean Avenue, and thankfully this year will be no different! Despite Katrina the deacons will gather once again to celebrate as a community. God is GOOD.

Life is still obviously not back to normal here on the West(Best)bank of New Orleans. One thing I've noticed is there seems to be a kind of "frontier" mentality where people act as if the laws are more suggestions than anything else, and common courtesy, which was in short supply among drivers before the storm anyway, seems to be missing as well. Hopefully this will change as more people return home.

Update on Kenny and Ellie... They have chosen July 1, 2006 for their wedding, to be held at Holy Name of Mary Church. And, I just might be the person who performs the nuptuals portion of the Mass. How COOL is that???

The Houston portion of our family should be coming in tomorrow. We're really looking forward to getting the whole family together again, and it's especially wonderful at Christmas. Pray for a safe trip for them.

A wish I have this season for everyone is that we can share the gift of love that God has given us. There is no better time than now to decide to mend fences, renew old friendships, make new friends, and care for those around us, especially those who can't care for themselves. Some suggestions... pick up the phone and make that call that should have been made eons ago! Let people in your life know how much you love them, before it's too late and all that is left are regrets. Invite a friend or neighbor to join you this year at your Christmas services. Call or visit a homeless shelter or soup kitchen and ask how best you can contribute to the welfare of their clients this Christmas season. As we celebrate God's gift of love through the birth of His Son, let's share that gift with everyone we can! God's blessings be on all of you!! - Dean

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