Choose Life

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.

February 28, 2006

"TEAU"-ing The Line

Just a quick note to let Big J, Young Wade and Lori know that I'm really missing those lunches at the "Teau", not to mention the Saturday morning breakfasts with Jerrod and Rat Bastard and Johnny L and Chris and...and...and...

Ahhhhh. Those WERE the days!!

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February 26, 2006

Mardi Gras Mambo

We have moved in with the parishioners from Holy Spirit.  The husband met us Friday morning where we explained the latest turn of events.  He had some initial misgivings about Maynard, but their dog, Lady, and Maynard took an almost immediate liking to each other and were soon running around the house like the best of friends.  They are such wonderful people!  They travel twice a year to Africa, to Sierra Leone, to operate an eye clinic for the people there.  Truly they are examples of what Christian love is all about!

Now we are in New Orleans for the weekend.  It was my weekend to preach at all the Masses.  Sunday afternoon the kids and Linda all went to Bacchus and Endymion parades.  It is now 11PM and still no sign of them!  They’ve got to be worn out!

Last Thursday our friends Mickey and Beverly passed through Memphis on their way to Illinois.  They spent the night at the La Quinta just down the hall from us, and we had a very nice dinner together at Macaroni Grill, followed by a quiet cup of Starbuck’s coffee back at the hotel.  It is always a joy to see them!  They will be passing through again Monday night on their way home, so we look forward to another wonderful evening together.

I’d better get back to packing.  Take care and God bless you!

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February 23, 2006


Yep! It's official. I'm staying in TN until the end of the project.

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Why Don't You Stay... Just a Little Bit Longer?

OK. NOW I’m stressed. Today was to be my last day at work in Millington. Tomorrow Linda was going to move into a Holy Spirit parishioners’ house and Saturday I was to be on the road back to Chocolate City. Now it seems that perhaps my services would be better utilized if I were to remain in Millington until the end of the project we are working on, which will be sometime around April 28th or perhaps a little later.

We’ve already told the La Quinta that we’re leaving and we’ve committed to the couple from Holy Spirit. But they thought they were getting one person and two small birds. I REALLY don’t want to have to go to them tomorrow and say, “Oh, by the way, I need a place to stay also, along with my cockatoo and boxer.” Besides, they already have a dog who is pretty old, and Maynard doesn’t know how to not be ultra-playful around other dogs/people.

I just don’t know what to do. Let’s see, where DID I put those ruby slippers? (Actually, the ruby slippers would be Linda’s. I would, of course, wear ruby penny loafers or Doc Marten’s). I could just close my eyes and click my heels and say, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home…” And thanks to Katrina, and Mayor Nagin, there really isn’t!

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February 20, 2006


I’ve been remiss.  What can I say?  It’s been seven whole days since my last entry.  It’s been a dry spell for me, I guess.  Although  I tried on a few occasions to put something together, it never materialized.  So here I am, Monday morning one week later, trying to assemble some thoughts about what has occurred this past week.

Things at work are getting pretty intense.  As we close in on our scheduled delivery date for our software, it seems that every day something goes wrong, so every day is spent putting out fires to keep on schedule, leaving little time to do what really needs to be done.

It’s also difficult in the respect of mentally preparing for the move back to New Orleans, while leaving Linda behind.  We may have a place for her to stay with people we met through church (see my September 25th post) who had previously offered the use of their home.  This is very difficult for me to handle.  I really HATE having to ask for anything like this from my own family, let alone people that I barely know!  It is very humbling, and perhaps that is part of God’s plan.

This past Friday we returned to New Orleans for the weekend, bringing back most of my “stuff”.  Next weekend we return with everything else.  It’s so strange.  It’s similar to all the times I packed up and left to go to sea, but different, too.

Sunday we went to two parades that rolled one behind the other.  The crowds on St. Charles Avenue were about 1/10th of what they would normally be!  It was wonderful!  No problems seeing the activities, plenty of throws (beads and trinkets thrown from the floats) to go around.  H2 and DIL had a great ride, although the landing was a little rough, perhaps a little too much Crown Royal on the journey???

H2’s good friend Angelica visited over the weekend so we had a great opportunity to meet and talk with her.  She is from Columbia and is very nice.  The daughter of one of A’s friends stayed with her, as well.  She, too, was very sweet, and BB just LOVED both of them, immediately!

The down side to this trip is that it leave both Linda and I very conflicted.  While a part of me doesn’t want to leave NOLA, another part wants to go back to Memphis.  It took three tries yesterday evening to find a restaurant for dinner that had only a 55 minute wait.  Each time we come home to New Orleans it’s the same.  There is no visible improvement, really.  Stores and restaurants still closed, many with “for sale” signs.  The places that are open have long lines and limited menus, or supplies, or reduced hours of operation.  I think it is going to be like this for years to come.  Perhaps it’s time to investigate other options in other locales.  

Please pray for Patti and Jerrod and the kids as they prepare for the anticipated new addition to their family.  Please pray also for all of us here in New Orleans and scattered across the South.   We all seem to have issues that we’re dealing with, and not always so well.  We ask for the grace of God to be with us is we continue on this journey that, like it or not, we are in the middle of.
Take care and God bless you all!!  Laissez les bon temps roullez!!

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February 13, 2006

Forever, My Love

Now I remember… Yes, NOW I remember why Linda and I decided we will never live in New York again. All it took was one little snow storm in Memphis, 3 days of sub-freezing weather, and watching the Northeast US buried in snow. Yep. I remember now. We’ve lived in the South way too long to go back now.

This weekend I start moving my things back to New Orleans. It also gives us a chance to go watch H2 and DIL ride in King Arthur, one of the first parades of this year’s Carnival season. I sure hope it’s warmer in NOLA than in Memphis.

Unless you’re living under a rock, you probably know that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I would be severely remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to tell Linda how much I love her! Linda, you are my life, my love, my joy. I thank you for being the wonderful wife and mother that you are, and I thank God every day of my life for His wonderful gift, that of your loving me in return. It is my sincere hope that our children get to experience a love as deep and enduring as that which we have for each other. Thank you for being my Valentine every day of the year!

Nuff said!

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February 10, 2006

I'm Dreaming of a White Mardi Gras

I’m back. What a DAY!! Today, at approximately 7PM Central Time marked the 38th year since Linda and I met. We met at a dance at a church in Seaford (Long Island), New York on February 10th, 1968. To celebrate we went (yes, again) to Texas de Brazil for steak, steak and MORE steak!! Sirloin strip, filet mignon with and without bacon, flank steak, chicken wrapped in bacon, shrimp cocktail and, a perfect end to a perfect dinner, crème-brulé.

But before that we had… SNOW!! Yes! SNOW!! Lot’s and lot’s of SNOW!! Finally the cold weather is almost worth it. Loads and loads of beautiful, white, fluffy, perfect for snowballs (as opposed to perfect for skiing) SNOW!

It started around 12:30PM and by 1:30 was snowing pretty heavily. We (Linda and I) left work early as the whole city and surrounding area began to shut down. The normal ½ hour drive home took almost 2 hours.

Enough words. Let the pictures speak for themselves!!!

The beginning of the "Unfinished Snowman".

Take care, and God bless!!

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Take This Chop And Shove It

OK. I hate to keep on with this food theme, but I have to tell you about our experience Tuesday night. First, though, some background.

Living in a hotel has it’s drawbacks when you have pets. Since we have Maynard with us, and Linda and I both work, the housekeepers won’t come in to straighten up our rooms when we aren’t there. The end result is that we only get our rooms serviced on weekends, and usually either Saturday or Sunday, not both. We’re ok with this, and understand people not wanting to come into a room with a dog and no owners.

The problem is, we waste a lot of time on the weekends because we have to first wait for housekeeping to get to our floor, then to our room, at which time we take the dog out for 20 – 30 minutes while the room gets cleaned.

Well, for the past two weekends we’ve had an issue where we spoke to the housekeeper to find out when she would be doing our room, only to have her not show up after we sat around and waited, and waited, and waited. She had left without coming to our room. The first weekend the housekeeping supervisor came and did our room, and the second weekend one of the other housekeepers found ours before she left and sent her back. Too little, too late, as far as I was concerned. While we waited in the lobby with the dog, the desk clerk made the mistake of asking how we were doing, so I told him.

Anyway, to keep a long story from getting longer, the hotel gave us two gift certificates to Amerigo’s restaurant, which is how we ended up there Tuesday night. They offered a special, cedar roasted pork chop, which is what I ordered. Was I surprised when the waiter showed up with mashed potatoes, julienne veggies and a pork chop, all on a charred cedar board? I sure was! But it was delicious!

Thursday evening we went to Outback on Germantown Rd. Prior to that I could say that I’ve never had a bad meal at Outback. No longer!! Now, anyone who knows me knows that I hate to complain about food. I’ll put up with a lot, but this time was too much. I had ordered my favorite, the “Prime Minister’s Prime Rib”. At least 1/3 of it was fat. OK, sometimes you get a little more fat than you’d like. I went with it. Then, when I got to the choice center piece, I could hardly cut it, and had to chew for what seemed like hours. It was incredibly tough. I finally gave up. The up side was that there was no charge for my meal, and they threw in a dessert as well. So I guess I’ll give them another try eventually.

More to come…

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February 5, 2006

It Would Be Nice If We Had Silverware

So.  Our daughter thinks that Linda and I could solve our employment issues by becoming restaurant critics.  Hmmmm… not a bad idea.  We’ve had a lot of practice here in Tennessee, that’s for sure.  When you spend six months living in a hotel suite that has no kitchen, you eat out.  A LOT.

It’s become routine for us to go to Mass on Sunday, followed by dinner at Cozymel’s, a very good Mexican restaurant that makes wonderful margaritas.  What makes it really nice is that our daughter and her kids and H2 have been there with us, so we have pleasant memories of family moments each time we go.  It helps that the food is really good, too!

Yesterday we went with two of my coworkers to the Cook Coliseum to see the Easyriders V-Twin Bike Show.   After the show we went a couple of blocks downtown to the Peabody Hotel (VERY nice!!) where we saw the famous Peabody ducks in the fountain in the lobby of the hotel.  Then we went into Peabody Place (a shopping mini-mall) for coffee at (where else?) Starbucks.

Then we went to a restaurant called Texas de Brazil which was a wonderful and unique dining experience.  It is a Brazilian steakhouse, where for one price you get a huge salad bar and “gauchos” bringing you delicious cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and chicken in many varieties, all served on sword-like skewers fresh from the kitchen.  There was sirloin, filet mignon, flank steak, parmesan pork, chicken wrapped in bacon, parmesan chicken, Brazilian sausage, rack of lamb, leg of lamb.  Each person had a disc, red on one side, green on the other.  When you put the green side up the gauchos come to you with the meat and they keep coming, like the energizer rabbit, until you turn your disc to red.  And everything was cooked to perfection!  (Assuming that you like your steak prepared rare to medium-rare).

As mentioned in previous posts, we have tried several Italian restaurants, Amerigo’s, Macaroni Grill, Carrabba’s, and Bol a Pasta.  Each restaurant has its own style, ambience, menu selections, and each was very good.

Of course, we go to the usual chain restaurants as well such as Applebee’s and Outback which, as luck would have it, are situated side by side so if one is too crowded we just pop over to the other.  Also, a couple of trips to Houston’s proved to be very nice, as well.

Breakfasts have been mainly at Blue Plate Café or IHOP, with an occasional Micky D’s thrown in.  (What can I say?  I love their deluxe big breakfast.  Their pancakes are actually very good!)

Then there’s BBQ.  Memphis is THE BBQ capital of the world, I think.  Corky’s is always good.  Then there’s a nice little place called Old Timer’s in Millington which serves good BBQ, and we finally just this past Friday tried the Pig and Whistle, a local BBQ chain that was also very good.  They had potato skins stuffed with BBQ pork, cheese and sour cream that were a tasty appetizer.

I thing that perhaps the most positive experience I can bring away from the past 5 months is being so close to Linda.  There are no distractions to take us away from one another, and we eat virtually all our meals together, including lunches.  It’s been really nice being close, talking, sharing feelings, thoughts, experiences.  The next several months being apart will be very difficult after being so close.

If I may, I ask for your prayers that our time apart will be minimal, and that Linda will return to New Orleans permanently very soon.  Thank you all for your love and support.  God bless you.

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February 2, 2006

Bunnie...I think the wabbit died.

How to begin. Let's see. Linda and I were returning to our hotel after a nice dinner at Macaroni Grill. Bread, wine, pasta, you know, the good life. And to top it off, tonight is Survivor night, which is one of Linda's favorite shows. So what could possibly top that?

How 'bout a call from the Warden? He spoke in cryptic sentences, something about Kenellie's upcoming marriage and how they were the favorites, but only for a month and a half... What in the world was he talking about? Somewhere in there the words "nine months" were uttered, but still I didn't get it. Perhaps it was the wine? Finally he mentioned belonging to a "good, Catholic family" and then it clicked.



Are we excited? You Betcha!!

P & J certainly know how to lay claim to favorite children status!

I mean, you guys (and girls) know that we love you all, but, I mean, Patti's pregnant!! She's making GRANDBABIES!!!! Hoo-Ray

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February 1, 2006

Postcards From The (L)Edge

I just want to say that we (Linda and I) are VERY proud of our son-in-law!! He is now Warden, and has his own jail! Just in case any of you come to New Orleans and party a little too hearty, he may be the guy to know!

BB got to be the line dance leader at dance class this week. She was very proud. Of course, I had to call to find out what a line dance leader is. I should have known, it's the first person in line for a line dance. Everyone else follows that person around the room. So, BB is the lead line dancer this week. Congratulations, Sweet Pea!!

I just read on DIL’s blog that Ken and Ellie (here after referred to as “Kenellie”) is going to Houston to visit the kids there. I noticed that he’s the only one of the family that has NOT come to Memphis to visit Mom and Dad. That fact will surely NOT be overlooked as we continue with their wedding planning.

We went to Bol á Pasta last night. Obviously an Italian restaurant. Actually it’s a mid-range restaurant owned by a long-time restaurant family here in Memphis that offers a less formal dining atmosphere. The service was super, thanks to our server, Natalie, and the food was very good. Interesting to note, however, that on the dessert menu, the only item that was not available was spumoni because… give up??? Because they get it from NEW ORLEANS, and they haven’t had any since Katrina. Geez, after FIVE MONTHS I think I would either find another supplier or take it OFF the MENU!!!

Count down to NOLA – 23 days. It still looks like Linda will be staying here in Memphis. If all works out, she’ll be here until December, the earliest time for her to retire from civil service. It will be a long 9 – 10 months, but with the support of family and friends we’ll make it.

Take care and God bless you.

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