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.

July 29, 2011


It has been a rather sad week.  Tuesday morning, as I was the on-call chaplain for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, I got a call just as I arrived at work, asking if I could accompany one of the sheriff's on a death notification call.  The sister of another deputy had been "found unconscious and unresponsive in her car" (this later turned out to be not quite an accurate statement of events) and taken to the hospital where she had died.  Meeting up with the sheriff's lieutenant, we went to the parents' house. The police officer son had only just gotten off the night shift and hadn't been contacted. Of course, the parents initially thought it had something to do with their son, but their concern quickly turned into horrible grief as the reality behind our visit began to sink in.  We tried to console, as best we could, the mother and father.  A younger brother was present, as well, who tried to be strong and in control.  This was, without a doubt, the worst thing I've had to do in my life! 

We had been with the family for about an hour when the older brother showed up.  It was at that point that I finally put two and two together (deputy's name, and the district in which he worked) and realized that I knew him, he was one of H2's best friends.  This only made the tragedy of the whole situation hit that much closer to home!

If you are reading this, please pray for the repose of the soul of the young lady, and for her family.  And may God have mercy on the "friends" whose actions contributed to her untimely death!

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July 15, 2011

Anniversary Trip - Segunda Parte

So, Sunday we leave San Antonio and head to Del Rio, home of H2FGFNW's sister and parents.  We had originally planned to stay at the same La Quinta we stayed at for the wedding last July and dropping in on the In-Laws (ILs).  I dropped them an email letting them know our plans and suggested that it would be great to see them while we were there.  They, however, insisted that we stay with them, which we did.  They are truly the nicest people!!  When we got there, the mom-in-law (M-I-L) (and don't you DARE even TRY to go there!!!) had the makings of a wonderful dinner of chicken enchiladas already on the stove.

Monday morning we were treated to a delicious breakfast of tacos con huevos y cherizo (cherizo sausage and egg tacos).  Linda and M-I-L went to Acuña to do some shopping while I stayed home to study for class the following Saturday.  When they returned, Linda mentioned that many of the shops we had visited are now closed because the tourist activity has decreased dramatically.  Still, she managed to have a good time and even bought herself some new boots!!

For dinner that night we had a delicious roast that father-in-law (F-I-L) had marinated in pineapple juice and M-I-L had cooked, along with red and green HOME MADE salsas (both caliente y más caliente! (hot and hotter)), and chicken empanadas.  Delicious!!!

Tuesday, our anniversary, we started our day with an "American" breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast.  Keep in mind that M-I-L has been doing all the cooking!!  She is a fabulous cook!!  After breakfast BV took us to the Whitehead Memorial Museum.  It was small, but very interesting with a lot of static displays and exhibits such as an old railroad station, fire engines, an indian cave, different types of barbed wire (literally hundreds!), and the resting place of the "Hangin' Judge" Roy Bean!!!  It was a lot of fun! Thank you, BV, for taking the time to act as our tour guide!!
For lunch we met M-I-L for BBQ at the Hot Pit restaurant in downtown Del Rio. It was quite tasty.  Next was a malted milkshake dessert at the Emporium.  This is a quaint little shop that caters to the wimsical and crafty, as well as having a really nice old timey soda fountain area.  Their milkshakes are delicious!!  BV, Linda and I went straight there, while M-I-L ran an "errand".  When she returned she presented us with a beautiful arrangement of lilies.  They made the trip home and are still in full bloom!

From the Emporium we went to the Val Verde Winery.  It's a local business that has been owned by the same family for over 100 years, and has a citation from the state to prove it!  A young lady there gave us a very pleasant tour which we followed up with some wine tasting.  We ended up purchasing a case of various wines they produce, along with a set of stemless wine glasses.

A visit to Del Rio wouldn't be complete without stopping to say "Hello" to Fr. H. Clay Hunt, III, who said the Mass for H2/H2FGFNW's wedding.  It was both great, and surprising, to see him!  Last year he mentioned that he had a Harley-Davidson.  This year we got to see it, along with his new "look".  Check it out!!
and, from last year for comparison,

After our visit with Fr. Clay we returned home to collect everyone and headed off to the Cripple Creek Steakhouse restaurant for our anniversary dinner.  It was a bit late and F-I-L wasn't able to join us, but M-I-L, BV, and her long-time friend and classmate (LTF) joined us.  It was a great ending to a very nice vacation.  That is, until the wait staff showed up with the sombreros and boa to sing to us!! Thanks, BV!!!

Wednesday dawned bright and too early.  As we prepared to leave M-I-L fixed us our last awesome breakfast of the trip...  omelets!!  Then it was hugs all around, load up the truck (thanks, again H2!!) and head home!

Sadly I had awaken with an awful pain in my lower jaw, so after driving to just past San Antonio I turned over the driving duties to Linda.  Then, to make matters worse, as we drew near Houston the skies opened up and she had to drive through a torrential downpour, during rush hour, through Houston and on toward Beaumont.  But once the rain quit the skies cleared and it was an uneventful ride the rest of the way.

All in all, a great 4th of July, an AWESOME 42nd anniversary, and I cannot say enough how blessed I am to have such a wonderful, loving, caring, giving wife and family. And we are truly blessed to have wonderful children-in-laws and that we get along so well with their parents!!

That's it... I'm dry!!

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July 14, 2011

Anniversary Trip - Part I

So Friday morning, July 1st (Happy Anniversary to Kenny and Gisselle, you're the favorites), Linda and I left for San Antonio to meet up with my sister, her boyfriend, her son and his wife, and our niece and her husband and kids.  It was a nice, uneventful trip made especially nice because H2 lent us his (drool!!) Ford F-150 Super Crew (thanks!! You're the favorite) for the trip!!!

We, of course, waived in the general direction of H1/DIL1's home as we drove through Houston.  DLG/MD and family were there for the holiday.  H1 had repaired my tablet computer (he's the favorite) and DLG was bringing it home with them when they returned (she's the favorite) saving us from having to stop on this trip.  Not that we wouldn't have enjoyed seeing everyone, but San Antonio is a 9 hour drive from NOLA!!!  Even in H2's truck it's still a long haul!
We arrived in time to check in to our hotel and go to dinner with the entire group.  We had a really excellent Mexican dinner. The food was great, atmosphere nice, and company awesome!

Saturday we went to breakfast at The Guenther House restaurant.  It is in a beautiful old house that was home to a flour mill magnate.  We actually dined outside, under a canopy.  Once again, the food was excellent (you'll probably notice a "food theme" throughout) and the setting picturesque.

After breakfast we returned to the hotel, then walked to a couple of blocks over to the famous San Antonio Riverwalk.  Wow!!  Makes our Riverwalk mall here in New Orleans pale in comparison!  We pretty much strolled along the river looking at vendors and into restaurants and admiring the architecture (San Antonio has done a great job of maintaining some beautiful old buildings in the downtown area).

The "U" shaped part of the river is apparently man-made.  It makes for a nice, leisurely walk along the riverside with plenty of places to stop and rest or pop into an establishment for something to eat or drink.

After everyone had returned to the hotel, dinner was ordered from a nearby "family" restaurant that had been recommended by the front desk.  It was not their best day, apparently, as the pizzas we had ordered took more than twice the "45 minutes" to arrive, although the place was only a 5-minute walk from the hotel!  While waiting on the pizza a few of the group ran out for some Mexican takeout to add to the pizzas. We all sat in the hotel lounge area and had dinner.

After dinner it was back to the Riverwalk.  This time we took the river cruise.  It was fun, and informative, and while not exactly cool, at least it wasn't HOT!!!   While on the cruise we noticed some lighted carriages on the streets above, so we decided to take a carriage ride, too.  That turned out to be quite an adventure!!

Our carriage ride started off well.  We jumped a big line because we were willing to share a carriage.  Everything was going well, and we were enjoying the ride until the driver, a very nice older woman, decided to give us our money's worth and took a longer route.  We had just commented on the other carriages that had turned at the last corner, and she started to explain why she hadn't gone the same way when all of a sudden the horse, John (really Big J, that was his name), a 7-year old Percheron, reared up on his hind legs, then started trying to back up.  The driver tried to get him going again, but that only agitated him more.  He continued to back up and pull against his harness until the front wheels of the carriage were locked into a tight circle.  We went around in a circle three times until finally Linda and our nephew, Tim, were able to get out of the carriage and get hold of John's bridle (that's why Tim's the favorite).
 That seemed to calm him down, but by that time he was completely out of the carriage rails and had broken his harness.  The rest of the evening was spent waiting for another carriage to come and take us back to the drop off point.  The carriages are pretty, all lit up, and all pulled by small draft horses.  No one was hurt, and we ended up not having to pay for the ride, so it all worked out.

Sunday morning we got up and joined everyone for breakfast, this time at the Magnolia Pancake Haus.  This restaurant was crowded, and it was in one of the many small malls that are so common now.  But the food was excellent, we didn't have a terribly long wait, and the company, as before was awesome!!!
After breakfast we said our goodbyes to everyone, returned to the hotel, loaded up, checked out and headed for Del Rio.  That will be another post!!

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