Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Miss You So Much

This past week while cleaning out a desk that we never use I found a plastic bag with several post cards from my sister Sherry.  There were about 6 of them and they were from a trip she took to Washington, D. C. in 1996. I must have found them at one point in time and put them in the bag with the intention of putting them in a safe place later.  Since her passing I have found several of these small bags, single envelopes, cards or notes in different places around the house.  My sister was a writer.  She believed in paper and had not switched over to the new age of e-mail and computers.  I'm not sure she ever would have.  She liked the feel of the paper and the comfort of writing late at night when no one else was up and about.  We had that in common but I have realized that it is much easier to compose and organize with a computer.  I am so glad that she had not given up on the written word on paper.  These small finds have been like small gifts to me along the way.

One postcard from D. C. was simple and to the point, but certainly reminded me of our relationship.

My dearest and blessed Ju,

I miss you so much,

Love, Sher

If she only knew how much I miss her these days.

She would have been 53 years old yesturday.

I would love to have celebrated with her here, but instead I did it alone in my own way.

My dearest and blessed Sher,

I miss you so much,

Love, Ju

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lake Charles ~ November 07, 2010

After our night with Merle Haggard we took some time to see some things around Lake Charles' Downtown area. We had never been there before so we thought we might see some interesting things. As I have found, if you take the time you usually will find something that will catch your interest.
Bilbo Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Lake Charles and is located on the east shore of the lake, near the present-day Civic Center. It is located on the site of a former military outpost, Cantonment Atkinson, which was occupied in the late 1820's and early 1830's. In 1832 Thomas Bilbo of Mississippi bought the land and moved his wife, Ann Lawrence, and their children to southwest Louisiana. The former mess hall of the military post, a sturdy log building, served as the family home. Bricks from the old military camp formed the early tombs and markers in the cemetery. The earliest grave in the cemetery, and probably in the town, was that of Margaret Bilbo, the youngest daughter of Thomas and Ann Lawrence Bilbo. However, there is no marker to indicate the exact site of her grave. Another of the Bilbo daughters married John Jacob Ryan, who is often called the "father of Lake Charles". Ryan died on 17 Dec 1899, and is known to have been buried in the Bilbo Cemetery, but his grave is also unmarked.

 Although is has been estimated that over 200 pioneer residents of Lake Charles have been buried in the old cemetery, most of the graves were either unmarked or their markers were lost, have deteriorated or were destroyed by vandals.  Today only about 20 or 30 marked graves remain. Time, weather, the flooding waters of the lake, vandalism and desecration, in addition to neglect and lack of regular maintenance have all taken the toll on the historic old Bilbo Cemetery and have all but destroyed the graves.

There was a very beautiful church. It had a small grotto that had goldfish. Some of the goldfish had weird tumor like growths on them. It was sad, :(

 This is the site of one of old casinos. It was never rebuilt after the hurricane. This is right by the Bilbo Cemetery and next to Veterans Memorial Park.
 Veterans Memorial Park

This was one very awesome tree.

As we were driving along the streets to look at some houses we came upon a house that had a beautiful rose garden. The whole front yard was filled with rose bushes!  It was so gorgeous. I was just itching to go into the yard and smell some of them and take a few pictures. It was a private home and I would never encroach on someone's private property.  As it was time to drive away I saw a small sign.

"Stop And Smell The Roses - Welcome"

I was just invited to visit the garden! We got out and visited every bush. The different smells were amazing. Each rose was labeled with the name. One rose, the Diedre Hall, was the most fragrant of all. Another fragrant one was the Ebb Tide.

I wanted to leave the Rose House a note and tell them thanks for sharing their roses with me. However, I didn't have one single piece of paper with me. I wrote down their address so that I could send a thank you note. As soon as we got home Sunday and I was all unpacked I sat down and wrote a Thank You note addressed to the Rose House. I just wanted to let them know that the sharing of beautiful passions can do wonders on a nice, brisk, Sunday afternoon.

We ended up our weekend at Floyds in Beaumont. We've never had a bad meal there. Their gumbo is to die for. I always wonder what other diners think when they see us taking pictures of our food...


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Merle Haggard in Lake Charles, Louisiana ~ November 06, 2010

I have always wanted to see Merle Haggard.  It's just one of those things that never worked out. It was never the right time and the right place. When we heard he was going to be at the casino in Lake Charles I just knew we had to go. Right after we bought the tickets I read that Merle will be the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor Award on December 5th, 2010.

I can't wait to watch the show on December 28th.

On the way, as we were in the Four Fenders, we made a few stops. One stop was the Truck Stop to get an Icee.  They had real alligator heads for sale there. Key chain alligator heads, back scratchers made of alligator foot nails, and small to large in size actual alligator heads.  How awesomely strange!
As we had planned to visit the alligators on the way to the hotel this was a cool find.  We made it to the visitors center that has the small pond nearby where they keep the small alligators. We had pre-planned and taken some chicken with us to feed them.  Alligators can be very still.  I had observed this before. They will sit and stare at something forever before they strike at it. We thought that they would really be excited about the chicken. Well, not really. But I did get one to take a bite at a piece. There was one alligator sitting up on the island in the middle. I had thrown several times and not been able to get any chicken on dry land. Big Daddy decided he needed to throw it so we could get it up there for the gator to eat it. Poor gator! Next thing he knew something banged him upside the head! He flinched so bad! It was horrible and funny all at the same time. Although he flinched he still did not move. He layed there for several minutes then slowly moved into the water, swam on top, and came straight forward to us, eyes to eyes, then went under the water. Wow! I think if he could have gotten over that boulder he would have grabbed the arm that threw the chicken on his head.
 Feeding the Alligators

 Above is the poor gator that Big Daddy hit in the head

After throwing almost a whole bag of chicken he decides to take a bite!!!
I had a wonderful time visiting Alli and Gator.  I really want to go to one of the farms where you can hold the baby ones and touch the big ones.  Big Daddy was not as impressed as I was.  That is pretty much the same story for most things.  I don't think a lot of people do a little happy dance over an Icee.  Well, not 48 year old people anyway, maybe a 6 year old.  I just like to enjoy life.
The Buses

I was so happy when Merle made it to the stage. His voice is so pure and hasn't changed one bit with age. He sounds the same live as recorded. Many people do not sound the same live. An increasing problem these days. I think I could listen to him sing with no music. There are few people like that in the world. With so many hits how does an entertainer decide which songs to sing? That must be a hard decision. He chose well.  

Tomorrow we will be visiting a cemetery and touring some parts of the city we haven't seen yet. But I'm sure I'll always remember this trip as the time that  I saw a true legend and he lived up to the title.

Down every road there's always one more city

I'm on the run, the highway is my home

I raised a lot of cane back in my younger days

While Mama used to pray my crops would fail

I'm a hunted fugitive with just two ways:

Outrun the law or spend my life in jail