A blog by Lori Lyons

Monday, March 30, 2020

Leigheaux





 

Leigheaux Lee "Bigfoot" Lyons Luquet, renegade standard poodle, master counter surfer, bread bandit and human walker, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Sunday, March 29, 2020. He was about 12 years old, but no one knows for sure as his early life was a mystery. We just know he wandered out of a swamp near Denham Springs, Louisiana, one day, grumpy, suspicious of humans and in need of food and a grooming. He was promptly named "Bigfoot." After his photo appeared on the Creole Poodle Rescue site, he was snapped up by the Luquets of Norco and re-christened, Leigheaux the Cajun Poodle.


And if he had been a teenage boy, he would have been perpetually grounded. Leigheaux spent the rest of his days stealing food left within his reach, digging in the garbage, begging for food, following Mom into the kitchen and the upstairs closet, staring out of windows and plotting the murder of the mailman, the UPS man and every utility company person who dared to walk in his yard. He was successful in scaring every one of them away, every day. He didn't particularly care for squirrels, either, and watched them out the window until he felt they were within striking distance. Of course, by the time he bolted out the doggie door and rounded the corner of the house, the squirrel was long gone. He never gave up in this effort, however, not even on his last days.

As a poodle, Leigheaux was supposed to enjoy water; he did not. In fact, Leigheaux wanted nothing to do with the big, beautiful swimming pool in his backyard and only jumped in once -- when a particularly loud firecracker went off nearby on the Fourth of July.

In between, Leigheaux enjoyed pilfering whatever food item he could reach on the counters, tables and buffets and from unsuspecting houseguests. He particularly enjoyed whole loaves of bread, not caring that it had become a very rare commodity in recent days because of the Corona Virus quarantine. In his last months, he became more brazen in his thievery, smashing not one but two jars of Milkbone treats in one week. He also became convinced that Mom was going to give him whatever she was eating and that, every time she got up off the sofa, she was indeed going to get something for him to eat. He knew Dad wasn't.



But more than anything, Leigheaux loved his morning walks with Mom to the park and back. When Mom was working at home and taking care of Grandma, it was a daily occurrence with his late sister, Lollee Sue. Sometimes, he would follow Mom upstairs and into the closet to see if she was, indeed, putting her sneakers on. If she slept too late, he would pounce on the bottom stairs until she woke up. If she did come downstairs in the proper attire, Leigheaux would do his amazing happy dance at the bottom of the stairs.

But age began to catch up to Leigheaux. It got more and more difficult for him to walk on the hardwood floors. Sometimes he couldn't get up after laying down. He no longer could manage the stairs at all. What began as a cyst on his shoulder grew to a very large, very angry tumor that could not be removed and would not get better. And last week, Mom finally had to go to the park without him. He did manage to chase a squirrel on his last happy day, however, but could not catch it.



Leigheaux leaves a family who loved him very much and neighbors who did not; Lola, the little one, who is happy she no longer has to share the treats but is too short to steal off the counters; and lots of puddles around the house that he never managed to get caught leaving.

I hope you and Lollee Sue are together again, my boy, chasing squirrels forever.






Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Quarantine Week 2: The Nest is Full Again

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Whaddaya mean you're coming home three months early??? 



Regular readers of this little blog (both of you) may recall that, last August, I wrote a very tearful (well, I cried) post about our baby girl leaving the nest and going off to college.

Although my heart was having a hard time letting her go, my brain recognized that it was her time to spread her wings and fly. Yes, I did cry. A lot. But then the Coach and I had a cute and funny photo shoot showing off our new empty nest.


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Don't worry, everyone said. She will be back. I knew she would, I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. Or that she would come back with so much STUFF!

The spread of the Corona Virus has forced colleges to shut down across the country. Classes now are being held online and students are no longer required (or even allowed) to live on campus. Lora didn't hesitate; she booked it home as soon as she could following the announcement. But she only brought a few things with her. Yesterday, we had to go back to move her our of her dorm room four hours away.

It was quite a difference from Move-In Day.

For one, it wasn't 1,000 degrees outside. It was a nice, cool morning with clouds.

Also, there weren't 1,000 people there doing the same thing as us and trying to find the best parking space.  In August, there were student volunteers directing traffic, welcoming new students and befuddled parents, pointing the way to go, telling us what to do. Yesterday, there were about five cars in the parking lot and no one there directing traffic. Inside, there was one young lady, who obviously had nowhere to go during her spring break, waiting to take the keys when we were done.

In August, I was sad but also thrilled to help my daughter set up her new living space. I tried not to be  one of those overbearing moms, offering my help and advice only when asked and allowing her to do her own thing.  Yesterday, I was only sad at the thought that she was losing such a large chunk of her freshman year of college. And she pretty much let me take charge of the packing and the cleaning.

In August, we spent hours unloading Coach's minivan and hauling everything into her room. Yesterday, it took us about 90 minutes to put it all back in. (And I am still the reigning Tetris champion of the universe!)




Now it's all piled up in the spare bedroom downstairs, awaiting her attention. Meanwhile, I'm wondering where in the heck we're going to put it all.

But, as I did in August, I'm letting her do her own thing. Gotta give 'em their space, right?







Friday, March 20, 2020

Quarantine



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Covid-19 -- The Corona Virus


March 20, 2020

It's officially Quarantine Day 7 ..... or 8 .... or 25.... Who the hell knows? Frankly, I'm not even sure what day it is. Friday, my husband says. OK.

All I know is, all hell has broken loose in our world and no one quite knows what to do about it. Life as we know it is forever changed.

No. This is not the plot of some movie or book -- although it has been. Frequently.

This is really happening.

There is a virus spreading throughout the world so the world is shutting down. People are being told to stay home except for absolute necessities. Travel is curtailed around the world. Businesses are shuttered. Restaurants are take-out only. Sports -- all of them -- have been stopped. Schools, including colleges,  have been closed with teachers (like me) trying to find new ways to teach online.

As an amateur genealogist, I've seen the effects of pandemics. Cholera, Small Pox, Yellow Fever. My grandparents lived through an Influenza epidemic in 1918. More than 54,000 people contracted Influenza in 1918; 3,489 died. My great grandmother was a Red Cross nurse at the time, working on the front lines. But I never thought I'd see anything like this in my lifetime. As of today, we have more than 500 cases in Louisiana with 14 deaths. My former physician is in quarantine.

Well, we all are, to be honest.

Over the past few months, we kept hearing about this strange new virus spreading through the population of China. Then it spread through Europe. Then there was a case here in the USA.

The Corona Virus. People laughed and made fun because it's named for a Mexican beer, for God's sake. There were jokes. Lots of jokes.

I really didn't pay that much attention to it. I was more focused on the New Orleans Mardi Gras. Although we don't do parades anymore, I had a week off from school and my baby girl was coming home from college for an extra long weekend and her boyfriend's birthday.

We did have a small group of students and teachers who traveled to Italy over the Mardi Gras break. At first, they were told to stay home on Monday. Then until Wednesday. Then until March 16. I sent work home to my one student, who was planning to do a project on his visit to Italy.

The following weekend was my birthday! The Coach took me up to our daughter's college town for dinner and several drinks in our hotel bar. The virus was still spreading.

In between all of that, the Coach was getting started with his new baseball team at our school. I even got to cross an item off my bucket list by announcing two of the home games. I tried to be a cross between Millie in "Bull Durham" and Renel Books-Moon, who used to announce for the San Francisco Giants. And my playlist was awesome.

It was back to school last Monday, but it was a short week. Our school had its annual Arts Festival on Thursday evening so there would be no school the following day. The Coach had a game scheduled that afternoon, so we planned to go the festival after that.

It was March 12. A normal school day.

Then all hell broke loose.

The baseball team's opponent, a public school just a few miles down the street, called to say their superintendent had ordered them to cancel. All extra curricular activities were canceled. Our team still had practice.

At the Arts Festival that evening, I got to see several of my students. Many of them came up to hug me. Our principal was dressed in a Maui (from Moana) costume. But people talked about little else. It was a game of dominoes as things began to shut down -- schools, colleges, businesses, communities. One plant worker told us he had heard that the local plants would be shutting its workers inside for weeks at a time.

Things were getting scarier.

On Friday, the Coach still had a game scheduled. But the team was on the bus headed our way when their Superintendent ordered them to turn around. Cancel everything, he said.

Our team still managed to sneak in a double header on March 14 at Loranger. It would be the last for quite some time.

Everything shut down after that. All schools. All games. All practices. The NBA. The NHL. MLB. All of it. No gatherings of more than 50 people. That later changed to 10. Lora's college (and all of the others) canceled in-person classes. She came home. Church services. Government meetings. Proms. Graduations. Class trips.

Poof.

Most government officials urged people to stay home. "Social distancing" they call it. Stay at least 6 feet apart and, most importantly, WASH YOUR HANDS.

So what did we do? We ran to Walmart and bought every bottle of water and every roll of toilet paper we could find. (Not us.... in fact, I'm starting to get a little worried about our toilet paper situation.) And some youngsters ran to the beach. (Not us, but only because I don't have a beach house -- YET!)

No, but we did start fixing up the back yard and the pool. We hired a youngster with a machete to come cut down the frost-bitten banana trees and clear it all out. I put up some new lights on the trees. Made lemonade out of our lemons.

No one knows what will happen next. Today some cities, including New Orleans, ordered people to just stay the hell home. NOLA has become a serious hub for the virus with more than its share of infections. Officials are trying to stop the spread and people just aren't listening. Today they got LSU coach Ed Orgeron out to try and stop the madness.

But people aren't listening. They're acting like my 6th graders just before the bell rings.

I'm also trying to figure out how to do this online learning thing. I spent all of today writing assignments for my 6th and 7th grade English students, including trying to figure out how they're going to turn things in. How am I going to grade it all?

Meanwhile, my husband is downstairs with the sniffles and a sore throat -- universally the first sign of the virus.

These are scary times indeed.

But I have urged my students to write about their experiences and so shall I. I told them that someday their kids and grandkids will be doing Social Studies projects on this event. Writing isn't just an outlet for our emotions, this also is an historic event. I wish my Grannie had written about the Influenza of 1918, what it was like, how it came to be, how she felt, how she survived.

And what comes next.














Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Once upon a blog


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Once upon a time there was a blog.

It was a nice little blog called "The Lyons Din," a play on words for a woman named Lyons who wanted to make a little noise. It began as an outlet, a place where the woman could write the words that were frothing inside of her -- especially after some men in ties (and one well-dressed woman) told her she was no longer an employed writer for the former metropolitan daily newspaper.

But she was still a writer.

And writers gotta write. Right? Right.

So she figured out how to do it on the internet, where people could read it if they wanted to.

Sadly, she never figured out how to make any money doing it, so, it was for fun.

She wrote about her life, her daughter, her coach husband, occasionally her grown up stepkids, her mother-in-law and her mama.

She wrote about what life was like living with a baseball coach, then what it was like living with a man who was no longer a baseball coach, then was again.

She wrote about her daughter's growing pains (both literal and figurative), her birthdays, her adoption and her war with scoliosis and her leaving the nest to go off to college.

She wrote about being a full-time caretaker to two little old ladies.

She wrote about losing her job, looking for jobs, finding jobs, and leaving those jobs.

And, occasionally, people read what she wrote. Sometimes they laughed. Sometimes they cried. Sometimes they shared what she wrote, especially when she wrote about Mardi Gras and the Warrior Dash.

But mostly, people accidentally stumbled upon what she wrote when they Googled "big tits" and "mardi gras" and "warrior dash." A lot of people in Russia somehow read those posts.

But now, it has been a while since the woman named Lyons has made much noise. She's busy, you know. She has an empty nest. She has a new job, teaching new students at a new school how to write with proper punctuation and capitalization. Her husband has a new job coaching baseball at the same school. She has dogs. And a green pool. And not too much else.

There isn't much to write about. There isn't much inclination either. What once was a fountain of words frothing inside of her is now just a little bubbling that doesn't strain much to get out. She's tired.

And Russia has stopped reading.

And blogs have turned into vlogs and podcasts. No one has time to read funny little anecdotes anymore.

But, writer's gotta write. Right? So don't delete the bookmarks just yet, please. You just never know when the writer's gonna write.


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