Saturday, December 29, 2007

Another one I didn't write, but wish I had

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the abode
Only one creature was stirring & she was cleaning the
commode.

The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
While visions of Playstations & Barbies flipped through their
heads.

Yes, and dad was snoring in front of the TV,
with a half constructed bicycle propped on his knee.
So only the mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
which made her sigh, "Now what is the matter?"

With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
She descended the stairs, and saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes & soot, which fell with a shrug,
"Oh great," muttered the mom, "Now I have to clean the rug."
"Ho Ho Ho!" cried Santa, "I'm glad you're awake"

"Your gift was especially difficult to make."
"Thanks Santa, but all I want is time alone."
"Exactly!" he chuckled, "So I've made you a clone."
"A clone?" she muttered, "What good is that?"
"Run along, Santa. I've no time for chit chat."
Then out walked the clone-The mother's twin,
Same hair, same eyes, same double ch in.
"She'll cook, she'll dust, she'll mop every mess."
"You'll relax, take it easy, watch TV and rest."
"Fantastic!" the mom cheered, "My dream has come true!"
"I'll shop, I'll read, I'll sleep a night through!"

From the room above, the youngest did fret,
"Mommy?! Come quick, I'm scared and I'm wet."
The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart."
"Hey," the mom smiled,"She sure knows her part."
The clone changed the child and hummed her a tune,
as she bundled the small one in a blanket cocoon.
"You're the best mommy ever, I really love you."
The clone smiled and sighed, "And I love you too."

The mom frowned and said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal."
"That's my child's LOVE she is going to steal."
Smiling wisely, Santa said, "To me it is clear,"
"Only one loving mother is needed here."
The mom kissed her child and tucked her into bed.
"Thank you, Santa, for clearing my head."
"Sometimes I forget, it won't be very long,"
"Before they'll be too old for my cradle and song."
The clock on the mantle began to chime.

Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time."
With the clone by his side, Santa said:"Goodnight"
"Merry Christmas, dear Mom, you'll be all right."
Sometimes we need reminding of what life is about.
Especially at times when the Holiday season shouts,
and all we do is clean, bake, and procure.
You get the picture---I'm sure.

So stop for a moment and hug that little one so dear,
whether he/she is 2 or 22, or even older this year.
For they are the gift that God gave us from Heaven above,
and what a special gift to be treasured, with endless LOVE!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Words of Wisdom from Lora Leigh

It's Thanksgiving Day. I have pulled out all of my wedding gift china and my silver passed down to me from my great-grandmother. The table is gorgeous. I am very proud. I know my grandmother would be proud.
Lora Leigh says: "Mom. It's a little much."

*********************
Santa Claus has gone to Lora Leigh's school for pictures. She gets all dressed up and goes. She comes home:
Me: Did you see Santa?
Her: Yes.
Me: Was he nice?
Her: Yes.
Me: Did you tell him what you wanted for Christmas?
Her: No.
Me: Why not?
Her: Because I knew that wasn't the real Santa. That was just some guy in a Santa suit.
****************************************************

Lora Leigh would love to be on TV someday. She wants to sing and act. She says to me, "Mom. I'd love to be on a TV show one day." Me: "You would? What kind of show would you want to do?" Her, "Full House."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The things kids say.....

Lora Leigh really does have an amazing memory.  We were on our way to the Boo at the Zoo tonight, our second visit to the annual event.  Last year, we made the mistake of taking her on the Ghost Train.  She was terrified.  Tonight, she told us she wasn't going near it. Then she started rattling off all the parts of it that scared her last year?

"I remember, Mommy," she said.

"I have a memory like a Hippopotamus."

Now we're at home. And Tennessee and South Carolina are playing football on TV.
 Lora Leigh wants to know if the Tennessee team is the Pumpkins or the Home Depot ...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I did not write this, but I wish I had.

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be.  Oh, not my body!  I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt.  And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.



I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.  As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend.  
I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio.  I am entitled to a! treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.  
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.  
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

 

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.


I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old.


I know I am sometimes forgetful.  But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

 

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken.   How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car?  But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion.  A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.


I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.  So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.    

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think.  I don't  question myself anymore.  I've even earned the right to be wrong.



So, to answer your question, I  like being old. It has set me free.  I like the person I have become.  I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be.  And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Two years later

I was not in New Orleans on August 29, 2005.  In fact, I was far, far away, in Natchitoches, LA., safe and dry in a cozy but cramped apartment with my stepdaughter, her two roommates, my husband, my daughter, my husband's ex wife and her husband.

I don't even live in New Orleans, but in a suburb. A nice, safe,  high and dry suburb that escaped the wrath of Hurricane Katrina unscathed.

I only spent a week in my self-imposed exile.  I returned to my house five days later, cleaned out the fridge, spotted the mouse that had moved into my kitchen and went to a friend's house for a few hours until the turned my electricity back on. That night I slept in my own bed. But I had to go days without cable.

I did not lose everything I owned. In fact, I did not lose anything I owned.

Well, does one's sense of security count?

I now spend my summers making mental lists of what I must pack when there is a hurricane in the gulf. I find myself mentally filing away the names of hotels along the way when I drive out of town. They are potential places of refuge. I have spent two years scanning in my old photos onto my computer. I have bought a DVD recorder but have not yet begun transferring all the video to disk.

I have Lora Leigh's special things in a stack so that I can snatch them up quickly -- her  Lora Day Box which contains all the keepsakes from her finalization day, her baby box, her baby book, her two scrapbooks. She's only 6. She hasn't accumulated as much -- YET.

I have prioritized my own -- the lock box, the bill basket, the hard drive, the wedding album, the one photo album that has pictures of my brother and me as children, the two books I've written but haven't published yet, the French silver, the silver tray, the videos and as many photos as I can cram into whatever space we have.

I also have a brand new canvas luggage holder for the top of my car -- so I can pack more stuff.

And I have a 6-year-old who is still traumatized.  She is terrified of the daily average thunderstorm. She plays "evacuation" with her friends. She has nightmares about the day another storm comes our way and we have to leave. She won't let me watch any of the anniversary stuff on TV.

It is two years today since Hurricane Katrina tried to destroy the city of New Orleans, the mother ship of  us suburbanites. We who are counted among the metropolitan area's population, and who count ourselves, count on that city for much of our existence. We count on it for our culture, our way of life, our uniqueness in this world and, well, for our jobs.  It is our tether, our home base.

Katrina cut us off for a while, but the ties have not been severed. I have been there. I am not afraid to go there. I just don't like to drive there.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Moments that matter

Back in the summer of 1991, back when my shoe size and my dress size were the same number,  I attended my very first Louisiana Sports Writers Association convention.  It was in Baton Rouge, at the Holiday Inn.

Poorer than I am now, I stayed at my sister's house. But I went to the events. In a foreshadowing of what was to come, we had a casino night, with fake tables and fake money. It was a lot more fun, I gotta say.

Back then, I was the young, shy, green newcomer that nobody knew.  I stuck close to Ted and Bummer and Ron, the only people I really knew, and J.J. and Hilburn, whom I had just met. And I even won a little award -- a third place for prep event.


I just came back from my 17th LSWA convention -- in Baton Rouge. Now, I know  most of the people there -- but it's hard sometimes with all of the turnover in our business.  And I attended all of the events -- the welcome dinner at LSU, the casino buffet dinner (but we skipped the gaming) and the awards banquet.  I even won a little award -- third place in Prep Writer of the Year.  (I like it when I don't leave empty handed).

But even better,  I got to sit at the head table, the one reserved for officers.  I am the current reigning secretary of the LSWA. And that third place means more to me than the other.

By the timelines that were laid out this week, I could be the president of the association in three years -- just about the time that the 50-year dream of an actual Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame comes true.  The concept is difficult to grasp.  I can't imagine myself cutting that ribbon. I can't imagine myself on that stage, giving that speech, handing out those plaques to Louisiana sports greats.

OK. Yes I can.  I can't wait, to tell the truth. (But I have started the diet .....)

But it may be difficult for some other people to imagine.  A woman will open the Hall of Fame.  This woman will.

After the birth of my daughter, my wedding, and my two Prep Writer of the Year wins, this could be one of the defining moments of my life.  It might even move up to third.





Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dream Weddings and such

When I was planning my "dream" wedding back in 1994, my mom and I butted heads -- A LOT.

You see, I had had many dreams about my wedding day -- what I would wear, where it would be, the color of my bridesmaids dresses and flowers.  I went through the whole, "Rainbow Wedding," dream, the "Barefoot on the Beach," scenario and the "Sound of Music," epic idea. I toyed with the idea of  a tiny roadside chapel, St. Louis Cathedral and Sacred Heart on Loyola's campus.

None of it came to fruition, however. I married a man I never dreamed of in a place I never thought of, angy at my mother.

She never had such dreams, she said. Didn't understand the fuss. She just didn't get it.

But just the other night as my little girl and I cuddled in those last minutes of the day before sleep (my favorite part of the day, mind you), I found out that I was not the only one in my family who dreams of such things. In fact, my 6-year-old daughter laid out her plans for her dream wedding -- as only a 6-year-old can.

"What color will your wedding be?" I asked her.

"I want to wear white," she said, giving me the "silly-for-asking" look.

"No. What color will your girls wear?" I asked.

"Show me your toes," she demanded, then pulled off the covers to look at my silvery  toenail polish. "That color."

"What color will your flowers be?" I asked. Again I got the "silly-for-asking look."

"Mom. I think you know," said my pink-obsessed child.

"Who will be your bridesmaids?" I asked her.

We listed all of her friends -- Carolyn, Marissa, Paige, Chloe and Ashley, her half-sister.

And Courtney gets to be the flower girl.....

"But," she said. "I haven't picked the boy yet."

"You have plenty of time," I told her.

The conversation had begun in a discussion of death -- and life. Would I still be here when she graduated from high school? Would I be there at her wedding? Would Nana? Would Grandma and Pappy? Would Daddy?

"Daddies are supposed to walk with you," she said.

And I thought of Lena. and of Rhett. He got to walk me down the aisle, but not her.

We can only hope we'll all be there, I told her. I want to help you get dressed and make sure everything is just as you dream it.

Then she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep -- and dream.

 

Friday, April 20, 2007

The mouths of babes

So,

Marty's team lost a big game on Thursday, one they really needed to win. But, they didn't play very well....

And da coach was not a happy camper when he came home.

I did my best to say things to try to cheer him up.

Didn't work.

Then Lora came in.

"Dad, are you sad?" she asked.
"Yeah."
"Come sit down with me," she said.
They sat on the sofa.
"Listen, dad. You're still a good dad. You're still a good coach. You're still a good baseball player. You're still a good cooker. Your team will win again someday."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Happy to me!

OK. I admit it. I am a big baby when it comes to my birthday. Always have been, always will be.

Blame it on my mom.

She and my Grannie always went all out for my birthdays. I had HUGE parties when I was little -- cake, ice cream, Grannie's big white punch bowl. One year they rented a little kiddie carnival down the street. 

Even once I got to be a "tween" my birthdays were EVENTS.  I remember fourth or fifth grade. Mom said I could invite "a couple" of classmates. I invited them all. Lynn LeBouef gave a report the following Monday on, "Everything I ate at Lori's birthday party."  We had petit fours and cake and little cups of ice cream. All these years later, people remember those parties.

(And you know Lora Leigh is going to be just like me!)

In sixth grade, it was the Donny Osmond party. Me and Belle Smith atop the stairs to the breezeway (that was our stage, like on Laugh In), dancing to the Osmonds. Rhett did the music. We wore the new fad that year -- Maxi skirts (Granny dresses).

My 16th birthday at Shakey's Pizza Parlour -- half of  Terrebonne High was there.

My 17th birthday at The Lion's Share -- we put 18 candles on my cake so I could drink.

Then my first birthday at Loyola -- alone, in the dorm.

So, my birthday has always been the day of the year I look foward to.

So sue me. And I expect great things. I guess I expect too much. It hasn't always lived up to my great expectations.

Frankly, I just don't get all these people who claim to HATE their birthdays. OK. You're a year older. So what? You would prefer the alternative? I mean, you only get so many birthdays in this lifetime, and you don't know what that number is.

 Then, it is the one day that all the people in your life think of you. Some call you. I know Janine will. Lou will. Jo will.  Some send cards. But even those you haven't seen or heard from in years might remember you on your birthday.  Hell, it was the ONE day of the year that my dad remembered to call me. And my brother. And I miss that ...

I know I remember the birthdays of people I haven't seen since grammar school. Sure, it's useless information now. But, I do think of them on that day.

Hopefully, some people think of me on March 8th.

And quite frankly, I don't mind getting older. I am 45 years old and proud of it.

For so long, I was "the Kid" or "The Girl in the Office." It's hard to be The Kid or The Girl when you're a 45-year-old broad.

So, happy birthday to me. Even though my boss did his best to screw it up. I have to drive two hours to Lafayette, spend hours in a boring all-state meeting, cover a basketball game, then drive home... Maybe I'll get a kiss from Lora Leigh before midnight.

Then it becomes March the 9th.

And that's another story completely!

 

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Go Saints Go! Please

So the New Orleans Saints are the talk of the nation.

Who'd have thunk it?

It's the feel good story of the year, the cinderella story of the year, one of the most improbable rags-to-riches sports stories ever played out. It's Rudy, Invincible and the Bad News Bears all rolled into one.

And the nation's press is all over it.  Every paper in the country -- even ones in places like Iowa -- are writing about the Saints. All these sports guys (and yes, they are mostly guys) are writing about how the Saints have hitched the entire city -- heck, the entire region -- onto their backs and taken us all on this incredible ride. The Saints are playing for the battered city, they say.

That's only part of the story.

These Saints -- these GOOD Saints -- also are playing for guys like Rhett Lyons.

Rhett and I grew up watching the Saints on Sundays (rarely Mondays). And we both learned our first curse words on those Holy Days, watching those exasperating Saints, the ones who couldn't hold the ball and who couldn't recover a fumble, at the knee of our Grandpa, Martin Berhman French.  (If you're from New Orleans, I don't even have to explain his name and tell you who he was named for.)

As he grew up, Rhett lived and breathed for the Saints. Every Sunday he would wake up, pull his No. 3 Bobby Hebert jersey out of the closet, stock his refrigerator with Budweiser and try to unplug the phone. But football parties at his house were legendary. And, more often than not, Rhett got to use his own curse words as he suffered along with the Saints.

But oh how he would be rejoicing now.

Oh how he SHOULD be rejoicing now.

But for an unused seat belt on a dark and rainy night on La. 1 in Fourchon, he might be. But he's not.

Since that horrific July of 2001 night, our family has adopted the Saints' Fleur de Lis as our own little emblem. Louella, my sister-in-law, decorated an entire room in black and gold and Fleurs de Lis. She calls it her memory room.

On the day Louelle finally decided to inter my brother's ashes in a tomb in Thibodaux, many of us brought simple mementos to place in the darkness with him. My husband brought a baseball from his inaugural season as head baseball coach at Destrehan. We all firmly believe that Rhett was our Angel in the Outfield that season, which ended with his team finishing as state runner-up. We saw the dragonflies.

Me?  I brought a brand spanking new black hat adorned with only a single Fleur de Lis so that my brother could be a Saints fan forever.

So now the Saints are one victory away from their first ever trip to a Super Bowl, two victories away from the most incredible sports story in the world. But all I can think about is how my beloved brother is missing it. And so is Grandpa.

Or are they?

If there is such a thing as an afterlife, there is no doubt in my mind that Rhett Lyons and Martin French will be hovering around Chicago on Sunday. And, if they get a chance to re-enact a scene from one of the Angels in the Outfield movies and blow a ball or trip a Bear, I'm sure they will.

But they won't be too far away. You see, Rhett's first grandchild, a baby girl to be named Madison Elise Brunet, is going to be born any second now. And wouldn't it be fitting if that little girl enters this world on the same day that the Saints secure their first Super Bowl berth?

That sure would be some serious kharma.

Go Saints!

(And you can visit Rhett's page here --- Remember Rhett)