Wednesday, August 31, 2005


First off, sorry about the extra trouble you will have to go through to comment, but I had posted this earlier and got one of those long goofy spam comments, and I don't want any of that right now (or ever, to tell you the truth!). I think the mention of the hurricane was what attracted the spammer, though the comment did pour it on thick about what a wonderful blog I had! Boy was I liking that, until I realized it was a spam comment! Anyway, for the time being, I have enabled the word verification feature.

Aerial video footage from the Mississippi coast line. This was shot and is narrated by local newscasters. Sometimes their perspective is a little better than all the big shot news guys who are outsiders arriving on the scene, and have no sense of the history of an area. (I have watched only the first video. Just now, checking the link, I see they have two more videos.)

Hurricane Audrey was one of the more infamous hurricanes that hit in our area. People lost their entire families in one night.
Nola Mae Ross has written a book of stories from hurricane Audrey. You can follow the link to read some of the stories. The thing is, those memories have remained vivid and heart-wrenching for people who lived through that night. I have known people who have had family members who went through Audrey and those family members would not talk about it at all. Audrey hit in 1957, nearly fifty years ago. Katrina will weigh heavily on the pysche of New Orleans and the Gulf coast for years.

The lady I work for lived on the Gulf coast while growing up. She and her family evacuated many times. Today she said that every time they left, her father told the family to think that they might come back, and there would be nothing there, if there was anything they wanted, they needed to get it then and bring it with them when they evacuated.

A link to a map of the levee system
in New Orleans.

We have refugees in our civic center. Rumors have been flying about cars being broken into last night, fights breaking out, stealing stuff from the civic center, people mobbing WalMart, and on and on. Apparently none of it is true. At least that is what the officials are telling us. Last night a woman and her daughter went to help out and she sent the daughter home because of suggestive comments the young men were making.

Needs are high, and there is no easy fix for this situation. Many of the people who did not leave could not afford to leave. But also, when you have lived a long time under the threat of hurricanes, and the drama of the weathermen following those hurricanes, you tend to get complacent. It is a common mindset -- it won't happen to me, or it won't happen here. It happened, and it is way worse than anybody could have imagined.

Sorry if I have rambled on and sound incoherent. I have been watching too much of the news, and it is all too close to home. But I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunset tonight, with no fear of the impending darkness the setting sun would bring. May God bring light again to the city of New Orleans, and to the Gulf coast.

On a much lighter note, the one price I have had to pay is that my neighbor who is from New Orleans, and is sometimes a bit of a nosy horse's patooey, has a houseful of his relatives staying with him. Now when we go outside to leave the house, instead of just him being out on the porch staring and watching to see what everybody is doing, there are four or five more just like him, watching to see what is going on.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina, Katrina

It is hard to fathom the sheer devastation of this hurricane. Two hundred miles away, we only had pleasantly breezy winds, a welcome and temporary respite from the heat. Yet now, just a few blocks away, down by the lake, our civic center houses people who are waiting to hear whether loved ones who stayed behind have survived. The Red Cross phone line to check for missing people will not even be working until Friday morning at 6:00 a.m. Can you imagine the agony those people are going through?

I have not talked to my friends who live on the East Bank in New Orleans. I hope they evacuated.

So many lives will never be the same.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Gator Blogging

Last week's GatorBaby, all grown up and steppin' out.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday Gator Blogging

In honor of Captainwow's recent announcement...

This gator stands in the courtyard of the local women and children's hospital. Ain't she cute?

I'll have to remember to post her "all grown up" picture next week.

And, BTW, my son's hand is looking much better, and yes,
Regina Clare Jane, you were right in suspecting sloppy reporting on my behalf, he was actually pinched by the claw of the crab and not actually bitten by the crab!

Thanks for all the kind words regarding the process of "letting go" of my son. It's an ongoing process, and never totally, or perfectly done, as I am sure all parents come to realize.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Letting Go of What I Cannot Hold

In the course of dealing with my son’s substance abuse issues, we have worked with a counselor. On more than one occasion, he has told me that I have to get myself ready to let go of my son. I heard those words and I thought to myself, “well, duh, you little whippersnapper. That’s life. The time comes when we all have to let go of our children.” I have an older daughter, so I have some experience in letting go. I have a daughter who is a freshman in high school, and I know the time is flying by, and soon I will have to let her go as well. I thought the counselor meant letting go in terms of not smothering my son, of allowing him to grow up---in the normal sense of letting go of a child who is well raised and prepared, as much as one can be prepared, with some semblance of a firm foundation under their feet.

The young counselor spoke to me in a tone of urgency that I could never quite understand. Now I think he meant I have to let go in terms of letting go of whatever dreams and hopes I may have once had for my son. In other words, this will not be a joyous process of letting go. It will be a sad letting go, as in turning him loose from the nest and allowing him to fall if he cannot or will not fly (metaphorically speaking), the kind of letting go that comes from me realizing I can no longer carry my son’s weight. It is a letting go that knows my child lives very close to the edge, knows I may lose him in the pit, at least for a time. It is a letting go that comes from me finally realizing that I can not save my son, no matter how many hours I spend sitting with him while he passes through the shakes of coming down off of God knows what, no matter how many times I listen patiently to the stories and the promises and the regrets, no matter how hard I love him and try to hold him tightly in my hand.

But I am not quite there yet. I want to let go him with love, not with a heart filled with anger and resentment. I want to let go with the knowledge that my job is done and not with a sense that I am giving up.

And when I have let him go, though I will still love him fiercely, I will remember that it has never really been me who held him all along. He has been in stronger hands than mine from the beginning.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday Gator Blogging

Is it Friday again, already? Here's a gator who stands in front of the Bell South building. It's not a real good photograph. I should have moved around and somehow gotten an angle where that window was not directly above his head. Oh well, if only bad photography was my only worry...

My son was bitten on the thumb by a crab last week. (He's been crabbing with my father-in-law a couple of hours away from here, in an effort to keep him "clean" and out of trouble.) He was home over the weekend and complained about it hurting, but it did not look bad. Yesterday my father-in-law called and said he had taken him to the doctor because his hand was swollen and infected. Son had to have a tetanus shot and some antibiotics and goes back in two weeks. Father-in-law says it is nothing to be messed around with, says it is a bacterial infection, says he has seen people lose hands and die from it when not treated.

Last weekend, he busted his forehead when he put his face too close to a rifle he was shooting. After the fact, the adult he was with shows him how to hold the rifle so the scope will not hit him in the face. It was a nice little gash, that left his flesh on the scope of the gun, for which my son apologized, but it seems to be healing well. The boy can have the weirdest little accidents, even when he is clean and sober.

The hard part is being here when he is there, and knowing he is hurting, and not being able to "ta-ta" him in person.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Reality Contact, & Orientation to Time & Space

A friend wrote "reality contact, and orientation to time and space. . . that's the first step." It was intended as an off the cuff response to something silly I had said.

Goofy me, once it was explained that it was meant to be a joke, I liked it, and thought it sounded like a good little checklist for those times when we tend to panic about the drama that surrounds some of us. (Blessed are those who are never surrounded by drama. I used to be one of them.)

I can see myself asking myself, "okay, what day is it, what time is it, and where am I now?"

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday Gator Blogging

Things have been a little slow around here, but I have been inspired. First there was Friday Cat Blogging, and then, from the great state of Texas, The Princess of Everything (and then some) came up with the idea of Friday Cow Blogging. I am following in the footsteps of The Princess of Everything (and then some) and offering a new feature for your perusal, Friday Gator Blogging. I can most probably guarantee at least six weeks of exciting gator action, because I know I have at least six gator statue pictures on my computer. After that, I'll have to get out and take more pictures. I wonder if the Princess will run out of cows before I run out of gators? I'd also like to challenge SpookyRach to start a series of Friday Tombstone Blogging. Anybody else got anything interesting they'd like to expose on Fridays? It's an easy post, one where you don't have too think much.

The gators all have a theme. I think this guy is standing next to a pirogue, and the mesh/wire looking thing is a crab trap. He is wearing a pair of the classic white rubber boots (Louisiana "Reeboks") that crabbers and shrimpers wear. In many of the coastal areas, these are the kinds of boots you see stuffed between the cab and bed of pickup trucks (In the rural parts of Louisiana, where most of my family is from, you would see cowboy boots or leather work boots).