countdown: 18 days

It is amazing sometimes to think about things that you hated as a kid but love as an adult.  My sister was one of those.  I remember that the day she was born, my Dad carried me down to a neighbor’s house.  It was very early in the morning so I wasn’t quite awake.  I was served some cereal that was new to me and most scrumptious.  Then I got to play all morning in their fabulous climbing tree.  I did get to see her in the hospital, but only through a window and I didn’t get to see my mom at all because kids weren’t allowed in the rooms.

For most of the next 12 years I tried to get my parents to send her back.  She was a pesty little thing.  Everything I did, she did.  Everywhere I went, she went.  So on and so forth.  For t.w.e.l.v.e. w.h.o.l.e. y.e.a.r.s.  And then suddenly I got to go off to college and you know what?  I missed her.  I am happy to report that we are quite close these days and for the most part the pest that she was in her younger years kinda gets forgotten.  Thank goodness.

Another memorable story is one of my cousin Gary.  He was four years older than me and I idolized him.  One summer, I must have been nine, my Uncle’s family and my family were off visiting some distant relative.  All the kids were sent to the back to play and I was sitting on a bench swing sipping a nice, cold coke.  In the glass bottle.  Somehow Gary had convinced me that a dragonfly had peed in my glass coke bottle and contaminated it.  My parents wouldn’t give me another one and so I didn’t get to finish.  So sad.  But that was the kind of guy he was.  He actually turned into a pretty decent adult.  about 10 years ago he became a Christian and his life took a 180-degree turn.  No more cussing, booze, or drugs.  Complete transformation.  He became the kind of cousin that I could really enjoy being around.  Three years ago, Gary and his wife Diane were living in Lafayette when Gary had a heart attack and died at the age of 40.  I miss him.  The really sad thing about it was that he passed away on our grandmother’s birthday.  Poor Meme, I think she will forever not celebrate her birthday because of his memory.  If you ever get to hear some of Jeff Foxworthy’s “Redneck” jokes, think Gary.  I believe he fit every, single one of those jokes!  No kidding!

My fondest memories of visiting family in Louisiana, something that we did every other summer, was getting to go up to Uncle Ben’s camp.  Ben is my Dad’s brother (father to Gary) and he had a “camp” up on Lake D’Arbonne in the far northern reaches of Louisiana.  The camp was supposed for use when he went hunting, but we used it as a summer get-a-way.  It was on the edge of the water and Lake D’Arbonne was a lake that flooded regularly (either on purpose or by nature), so it was built on stilts.  Pretty cool, eh?  There was fishing, skiing, swimming, 3-wheeling, 4-wheeling, Atari and just plain fun.  That was the most magical place to me.  I shall miss it.  (Ben has been trying to sell his property for a few years now and if I lived any closer, I would consider buying it from him.  Oh well.)  The only thing I didn’t like about being up there was Uncle Ben’s philosophy on catching fish.  “You catch it, you clean it”, was his philosophy, and well, I refuse to eat fish to this day.  But those were some memories, us all being up there.

I have one more sad thing to say today.  I spent an hour talking with Tracey last night, an old college friend and she told me that her mother passed away suddenly in surgery in January.  Tracey is an amazing woman and has been hit hard by this, so if any of you think about it, could you please send up a prayer for her?  I know she could use them.

So that’s all for today.  Until next time.

Oh, and one more thing:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DADDY!  Love you!

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