Thursday, June 7, 2018

BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO FORGET....

Roxanne's benefit last weekend was one for the books!
It was like a Dursette children reunion minus a few,
It was overwhelming the amount of people there,
especially her family; Mom, Dad, siblings....
It was just a very beautiful and emotional day.
Altough, when given the opportunity to share a talk I do,
and while I always kind of plan for these things,
I never really say what I write down,
It is usually just a matter of minutes before I put down
my writing I had prepared and go with it.
Sometime, people will say something like, 
"....Oh when you said that..."
and I can't remember having said that.
Yet there are a few things from this talk that I want 
to remember, I want to preserve, just like my reclamation art.
So here I share just a few things I remember saying,
It may not be verbatim, but it is what I want to remember.


I AM HONORED TO BE HERE SHARING A FEW THINGS
WITH THIS BIG AND WONDERFUL CROWD ALL HERE
TO SUPPORT ROX AND HER FAMILY,
WHILE THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME, IT IS MY STORY 
THAT MAKES ME ABLE TO SPEAK AT A CANCER BENEFIT.
SO I WROTE A JINGLE, BECAUSE, YOU SEE, ROX AND
I, GROWING UP, WE SANG JINGLES, WE KNEW THEM ALL.
AS WE LAY IN THE TWIN BEDS IN MY HOME,
AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS WE SANG
BRADY BUNCH, GILLIGAN'S ISLAND AND 
WE SANG BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.
BEAR WITH ME AS I SING THIS ONE, AS I CAN'T SING:
SANG TO THE TUNE OF THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES:

LET ME TELL YOU A STORY ABOUT A MAN NAMED FRED
THE POOR CAJUN MAN BARELY KEPT HIS FAMILY FED.
THEN JUST WHEN THINGS WERE GOING GOOD....
HIS 5 YEAR OLD LIL DAUGHTER CAME DOWN WITH THE CRUD....
CANCER IT WAS,
1968, NO CURE
WELL, SITTING THERE IN RACELAND OL' FRED WAS SO AFRAID
THE DOCTORS AND THE FAMILY SAID,
'FRED TAKE HER FAR AWAY!'
THEY SAID NEW ORLEANS IS THE PLACE SHE NEEDS TO BE
SO HE PACKED UP HIS BABY AND HE WENT TO THE CITY.
TOURO HOSPITAL, RADIATION AND CHEMOTHERAPY.
(side note, I am quite proud of my skills here!lol)

SOMEONE ASKED ME THE OTHER DAY, HAVING FOUND
OUT I SURVIVED AN INCURABLE CANCER BACK IN THE 60'S,
HOW DID THEY KNOW YOU WERE CURED?
I HAD NOT THOUGHT ABOUT THAT. YOU SEE,
BACK IN THOSE DAYS, THERE WERE NO PET SCANS,
CT SCANS, NO MRI, HECK THERE WAS NOT COLORED TV.
SO WHAT THEY DID IS, THEY PUMPED YOU UP WITH 
THE ONLY CHEMOTHERAPY THEY HAD, TWO TO CHOOSE FROM,
GAVE YOU ALL THE RADIATION A LITTLE 5 YEAR OLD COULD TAKE
AND SENT YOU HOME WITH YOUR PARENTS HAVING
BEEN GIVEN THESE INSTRUCTIONS,
"IF SHE IS STILL ALIVE IN THREE MONTHS, BRING HER BACK.
THEN THEY PUMPED ME WITH MORE CHEMO AND RADIATION.
THAT IS HOW IS WAS DONE BACK THEN.
ITS A FAMILY JOKE THAT BY THE TIME I WAS 12,
I REFUSED TO DIE SO THEY FINALLY BOUGHT ME A BIKE.
WHILE THIS SEEMS LIKE A CRUDE JOKE, 
THERE WAS SOME TRUTH TO IT, MY PARENTS WERE SOOO 
OVERPROTECTIVE, HENCE CAME ROX BEING MY FIRST FRIEND.
YOU SEE MY SISTER, CELENA, (i was so glad she was there for support)
WAS BEST FRIENDS, WITH ROX'S SISTER, LIZ
AND THEY LIVED DOWN DURSETTE LANE SO IT WAS ONLY RIGHT
THAT I COULD WALK WITH CELENA TO PLAY WITH ROXANNE.
AND PLAY WE DID. WHEN WE TOLD OUR PARENTS WE
WANTED A GROCERY STORE IN THE PLAY ROOM AT
ROX'S. OUR PARENTS STARTED SAVING ALL EMPTY FOOD CARTONS.
BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, THAT PLAYROOM HAD MORE
GROCERIES THAN LEDET'S SUPERMARKET.
I WANT TO SAY THAT THERE, AT MR. LINTON AND MRS. HELEN'S
HOUSE I WAS TREATED JUST LIKE ALL THE REST OF THE KIDS.
THEY DID NOT KNOW AT THE TIME HOW MUCH I NEEDED THAT.
TO NOT BE THE SICK ONE, THE ONE EVERYONE FOCUSED ON,
 BUT JUST ANOTHER KID, SHOOT, I THINK MRS. HELEN
EVEN FUSSED ME A FEW TIMES! NO ONE FUSSED THE SICK ONE
AT HOME.....
I WANT TO THANK THEM FOR THAT, IT MADE ME SEE
ANOTHER SIDE OF MY LIFE, AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE JUST A KID.
THEN WE GREW TO BE TEENS, AND LIKE MOST TEENS WE
GREW APART SOMEWHAT, DIFFERENT CROWDS BUT 
EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE WE WOULD MEET UP OR 
VISIT AND CATCH UP ON ALL THE HAPPENINGS IN OUR LIVES.
WHEN I FOUND OUT SHE WAS GOING TO MARRY WHO
EVERYONE HERE KNOWS AS NATHAN BUT I ONLY 
AFFECTIONATELY KNOW HIM AS NOMBRE' (belly button in cajun french)
I WAS SHOCKED, NOM AND I WERE PARTY BUDDIES FROM
HIGHSCHOOL! OH THE STORIES WE COULD TELL.
THEY MARRIED AND MADE THIS BEAUTIFUL FAMILY.
ROX SPOILED HER TWO BOYS LIKE NO OTHER,
THEY WERE HER BABIES, HER REASON TO FIGHT
SO HARD NOW.

LET ME SHARE A FEW WISDOM'S I BELIEVE TO BE TRUE.
LAST WEEK I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH MY NIECE, TOYA
(who was also in the crowd and i was pleased to see)
WHO IS FIGHTING HER OWN CANCER BATTLE.
SHE SAID, 
'AUNT LIL, EVERYONE WANTS TO DO A BENEFIT FOR ME
BUT I HAVE TROUBLE TAKING MONEY, THINGS FROM OTHERS.
I AM THE ONE WHO WORKS, MY WHOLE LIFE, I AM THE
ONE WHO GIVES NOT GET..."
I STOPPED HER THERE.
I SHARE HERE TO ROX AND HER FAMILY WHAT I SHARED
WITH TOYA.
YOU SEE, THIS DAMNED DEVIL OF CANCER,
ITS RARELY ABOUT US. THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING
BUT MORE ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE, 
SOMEONE WHO IS WATCHING THIS FAMILY, WATCHING
TO SEE HOW THEY GO ABOUT THIS HARD TIME,
HOW THEY FIGHT THEIR BATTLE.
I GO ON TO EXPLAIN, TO TOYA,
YOU SEE WHEN YOU REFUSE HELP, REFUSE 
MONETARY THINGS, BENEFITS, YOU ARE TRYING TO 
CONTROL THEIR CHANCE A BEING A DISCIPLE TO GOD
OR WHATEVER HIGHER POWER YOU BELIEVE IN.
YOU SEE, WE RARELY HAVE THE CHANCE TO DO GOD'S WORK
AND WHEN WE DO, IF YOU DENY THAT, YOU ARE
STOPPING THE BIG MAN'S PROGRESS.
WELL SHE HAD NOT LOOKED AT IT THIS WAY.
I HOPE I GIVE INSIGHT TO ROX'S FAMILY AS WELL
AS ANY OTHERS OUT THERE SUFFERING FROM THEIR OWN
DEMONS.
INSURANCE DOES NOT PAY MISSED DAYS AT WORK
FOR THE PATIENT OR THE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO NEED 
TO BE WITH YOU. IT DOES NOT PAY GAS, MEALS ON THE ROAD,
HOTEL ROOMS FOR TRAVEL. IT DOES NOT PAY FOR PEACE 
OF MIND THAT THE ONE WHO IS USUALLY THE GIVER,
GETS WHEN SHE/HE BECOMES THE RECEIVER.
SO BENEFITS ARE IMPORTANT AS WE LOOK AROUND TODAY
TO SEE ALL THE LOVE OUR LITTLE COMMUNITY HAS
FOR THIS FAMILY. 
I LOVE YOU ROX, AND YOUR FAMILY AND I CONTINUE 
TO PRAY AND FIGHT WITH YOU GUYS.
I ended with one of our favorite songs back in the day.
we all sang,
LEAN ON ME
and I reminded them I needed help as I could not sing and that
was a good thing because if I could, none of you would know me,
I'd be famous somewhere. I called my dear sister, C up to 
sing with me ala' karaoke and the crowd sang with us as 
tears streamed down many faces.
It was a great day.
I ended it with a visit to my Uncle Luke and my cousins.
That is a whole other blog!
Again, I write this one, not for bragging rights but
because I want to remember and never forget,
what myself and my little community shared that day,
HOPE.



Tuesday, May 29, 2018

MEMORIAL DAY WITH MY HERO....

We all speak of how to live...
"Live a good life, live with no regrets.."
But few of us talk of how to die.
It seems like a while ago when I stood in 
this very same home, in the very same room
 watching my Aunt Tim
die with such grace.
Now yesterday, I visit this sweet man,
my Uncle Luke, my Mom's brother
but so much more to me.
Yesterday on Memorial day,
at 99 years, 7 months and 28 days, he was supposed
to ride in a parade and speak in front of many
who know and love him at the Memorial Day
parade. Yet his health had his children attend
in his honor. When I told the Boo that my
Uncle Luke was not well he suggested we,
instead of boiling crawfish, go ride to GM
to see my Uncle.
See why I love him?
I had told many Uncle Luke stories and I 
think Boo wanted to meet him as well.
What a visit we had!
When we got there my cousin Liz,
whom I had been texting with the day before
said as we entered the home,
"He must know you were coming because yesterday
he slept all day and today he is awake and waiting."
I joke with what I always tell him,
"Of course, his favorite niece is here!"
We walk into the living room where there lies
this wonderful, beautiful man,
wide eyed, sharp as a tac, ready to visit.
I go to kiss him, he grabs my hand and says
"sit here on the bed, and you"
as he motions to Boo.
We take a seat on each side of him and 
he begins to talk.
I ask about what Memorial Day means to him.
I served in WWII and then was called back for
the Korean War but he won't brag of all the
things he did there, the sacrifices he and his family
made during these years.
He tells of Uncle Freddie stories,
my Dad, always bragging about others,
telling us how my Dad was the best fisherman
he ever knew. Never bragging on himself,
always others. There he lays giving us advice,
"I am here just waiting, I am in no pain, I don't
need this oxygen, that is just to make me look sick.
I have no regrets, I have lived the best life and now
I just wait, wait to die."
I try not to cry but I add
"And there are lots of people waiting for you on 
the other side, Dad, Mom, your other sisters,,,"
"The love of your life..."
He does not cry, he shakes his head yes.
Because he won't brag about himself, let me 
say a few things about what this man has done for me...
I am called Lilly or Lil by most who know me.
Some may not know Lillian is my birth name.
It is my Uncle Luke I was told as a child, who gave
me the shorter name of Lilly.
"A little bitty thing like that don't need a big name."
From that day on he has always called me Lilly or Lil.
i was a sick child, causing me to have to stay home
while my peers and siblings went to school.
My mom worked, my Dad stayed home and
cooked. Most days my Uncle Luke came and had
lunch with us. After his meal he always called,
"Mattressitis" and napped on the sofa with me in
the crook of his arm. It was years before I realized
this was not a real condition. I think I even looked for
it in my medical dictionary when I was in Nursing school.
Another thing very few will know. 
Unle Luke grew daisies on the side of his house.
A large bed of them. Because they were my favorite,
each time I visited I would cut a handful to put
in my room. Daisies stayed beautiful for so long
and i always loved fresh flowers in my room.
One day after school I see him at my home,
planting something in our flower beds.
Daisies! 
He had taken plants from his many to plant
for me in my yard so I could have them
every time I wanted them.
When I thanked him for this, almost in tears,
he joked as he always did,
"Don't thank me, this is to stop you from taking
all my own daisies!"
Every year Uncle Luke planted a garden.
Every year he planted a few plants of cucumbers
that every one knew were mine.
"Those are Lilly's. She likes big seeds, the burpless kind."
When I lived on the bayou, he hand delivered the cucumbers
traded a cup of coffee for cucumbers.
He always drank a small shot in my demitasse cups
so that I always kept his cup close to the pot,
"just in case he stopped by...."
When I moved to Thibodaux the cucumber planting 
did not stop and when I went dtb but did not go to pick
up my cucumbers, I was fussed.
Many days, I went to visit and he was at his camp,
always at his camp. I knew when he could no longer
go to the camp and agreed it was time to sell it,
I knew his days in our world were coming to an end.
I am not sure you ever get ready to say goodbye to someone
you love so much.
I talk lots, am not shy to speak in crowds
and maybe I got that from my Uncle Luke.
He has been such an important part of me
and as we decide we have taken enough of
one on one time with him as family is coming 
in now from the Memorial Day gathering,
Boo takes this picture and walks to the kitchen.
I spend a few more minutes with him.
He grabs my hand as I kiss his head
and gives me words of wisdom
"Lilly, live your life with no regrets,
do what makes you happy, be kind to all 
like you are, when you get the chance to do good, do it"
I am teary-eyed and I kiss him again,
tell him how much I love him, how important he is to me.
I tell him I am happy, at peace, living a good life.
As I make my way to the kitchen, giving room for
family that is piling in now,
there are these beautiful framed artifacts,
a rendition of each medal he himself had earned in 
his 11 years in the service.  I am in awe of just how much
he has done for our freedom as he is never one to brag of
himself.

I can't hold back tears when this beautiful sketch
done by our own Golden Meadow artist, Sharon Doucet,
of our dear Uncle Luke.
As my cousin, Cindy presents it to him,
with his children, grandchildren, great grand children 
and a few friends surround him in his living room,
she says of the sketch,
"That is your eyes, that is your smile"
I can tell he is overwhelmed by it all.
So am I.
This man known as so very many for all he has
done his whole life, his sense of humor,
is closer to the next life than any of us are ready to admit.

As the boo and I leave, as I continue to tell 
more memories to him as they come to me,
I realize something, why I began this blog in the 
manner I did,
He has shown me not only how to live,
but how to die.
How to die with grace and honor and I beam
with  pride and I thank whomever was responsible
for having this man to be my Uncle.
In a world where we are told how to live,
I gained much knowledge yesterday on
how to die.
Forever in my heart, I share this blog with you all,
in honor of my dear uncle,
LUKE CHERAMIE.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

MOTHERS DAY 2018

An unconventional Mothers Day Blog
First Happy Mothers Day to my Momma....

For the last few weeks I have been missing my Dad.
The Last three Collins Girls were raised by Daddy,
of course it was a village including my Mom
and my older sisters, but Dad had the day to day events.
Which brings me to this post that I have been thinking lots of lately.

The Boo, he works a lot... Long hours and because he is 
a Bachelor, living alone, when I go to his home I like
to help out by straightening up, helping where I can.
It is a known fact that aside from Laundry....
(I HATE Laundry)
I love housework, Love it!
So Yesterday morning, as I loaded dishwasher,
my thoughts went so far back to my younger days,
when Daddy was the day parent.

Our Home was always, always filled with People,
Sisters coming home with their own families,
friends of older siblings, fishing buddies of my Dads
sleeping anywhere they could find a spot so they
could wake up early to go fishing with the 
old Freddie Collins who always knew the best spots.

Dad loved to cook for a gang, on any given day,
we could have over 15 people over for fried fish,
french fries homemade style. He loved to cook but
he hated the cleaning part, hated it.
Our house was not a filthy one, but it was
definitely had a clutter-filled messiness.
Even back in those days, I loved cleaning and organizing,
my room was always being cleaned by me, my linens
that featured Hollie Hobbie sheets, were always being
washed.

On those nights that my parents filled the house with food 
and laughter, the kitchen was left in a mess. 
I would wait for everyone to go to bed....
and I would start my magic.
We had no dishwasher, so every dish, pot was hand washed,
dried and picked up. The cabinet tops were organized and
clutter was removed. Some summer nights I was up
late into the night doing what I loved, cleaning house.
In the days of my younger years, I would pretend
I was married with a home full of children as I cleaned.
I would pretend talk to imaginary kids, I always stood
at the sink standing on one foot with the other
hinged up on my knee, having Dad tease me
about my being a Stork.

After those long nights of cleaning, my Dad would awaken
and always pretend he was so surprised at how the
kitchen mess he went to bed to, was cleaned to perfection.
I was always tickled each morning as he almost always
said the same thing...
"AGAIN!!!! Looks like the Kitchen Fairy visited our house again!"
and I would beam, always proud of the feat I had accomplished.

And so on this Mothers Day of 2018,
I honor my Mother but I also honor my Daddy
who was our stay home parent and one of the best "Moms"
that I was always proud to call mine!
Happy Mothers Day to all you Momma's out there,
No matter what kind you are!


Pictures of that old Kitchen I Just loved, 
and the parental, working in Dad's garden.





Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Triple J lemonade stand grand opening...

It has taken me some time to write this blog
as TRIPLE J LEMONADE
had it 2018 grand opening, Saturday.
New Location, Mumsies' front yard.
The two big Grand Girls slept over on Friday to 
get ready for the big day.
They don't just sit behind the stand and pour lemonade.
No, they help their Mumsie, bake, decorate their cupcakes,
make lemonade and count their change
They are avid Entrepreneurs!

(excuse the roughness of the Mumsie, the early morning of Saturday)
As most days of my life, something happens to touch me.
Saturday was no different. I wrote a blog last year
about my sweet Motherly neighbor Mrs. Shirley,
who grandson, in the floods last year, lost
everything including all the books and toys of his
one year old daughter, Lily.
When I brought this up to the Grand Girls, Bean, especially
they wanted to donate all their earnings of last year,
every penny they were raising for spending money at Disney
to this sweet little girl. I was blown away, touched
by their kindness and as Bean said
"Mumsie, ALL HER BOOKS?"
I got it, I explained to them I would match whatever they gave.
...and what a difference that small donation made to that
young family. They wrote the best story on Facebook 
about Triple J Lemonade.
The girls thought it was not a hard decision,
I was proud of their big hearts.
The story continues this year.

Their were my little grand girls, enjoying the most beautiful day
selling their lemonade for dollars with many customers leaving tips
once Bean counted out their change, 
(always trying to teach them something lol)
When we were lucky enough to have Mrs. Shirley's daughter
visit the stand, She does not live here and was only here
because the night before, she and her sisters had gone
to a wedding the night before.
She makes her order, and reminds us that it is
"PAY IT FORWARD DAY"
She hands Bean a hundred dollar bill and wants no change.
Their Dad was their visiting at the time and we both
said, "No way, that's too much money!"
(as Bean held that bill tightly....)
Then she tells a story that leaves me unable to talk due to
being choked up with emotion.
She reminds the grand girls of the good deed they did
last year when they "paid if forward" and gave their
hard earned money to a little girl named Lily.
She is my granddaughter, and we took that Triple J money
and bought little Lily new books and some of her favorite
toys that were ruined in the flood.
Her grandmother tells my little girls,
"What y'all donation did for us, was more than what
the money bought, you girls made us see how much
good is still in the world, that money brought hope and 
happiness to my son and his family"
This may have been a little more than the grand girls could
comprehend with Bean saying while clutching that bill
"Yeah, Mumsie!"
But myself and their Dad understood it and I allowed
them to keep the money.
Thanks to all my wonderful neighbors in
GARDEN DISTRICT OF PLAQUEMINE and
others that the girls flagged down,
they made the most they have ever made before 
and never complained about the work only about how 
long it had been since a car had stopped to shop.
Another thank you to "daboo" who built the
very best stand ever.
The new location, in front yard, helped sales quite a bit.
We can't wait until schools end so we can open often.
Pay it Forward Day another success and although
they say they are NOW saving for Disney spending
I've no doubt if the opportunity comes up,
they will donate all proceeds once again with their 
big hearts all in.









Tuesday, April 24, 2018

MY TOWN...

Seems like everyday, as I open up my computer,
or phone there is another from my home town of Golden Meadow
who either passed, is battling Cancer,
is sick and not likely to pull through.
Although all below Lafourche Parish Intracoastal belongs
to another breed of people, it seems like our little bayou is 
fading fast.
I am now soon 54, soon to be 55,
and I am honored, thankful for the childhood I had.
Many of these same people I speak of has added to my
little childhood world.
How do you say "Thank You" to a whole community
who made you the person you are today?
Writing a blog seems to be such a small thing
yet it is what I do.
Having met a new friend through the Boo,
Lisa Poche Calhoun 
who has written her first Novel,
SUPERFLARE
THE FORTUNATE ONES
I am beginning to finally put together all my 
writings, journals, blogs to write my very
own book.
I know my childhood life being lived in 
lower Lafourche Parish, especially in Golden Meadow,
will be a main part of my first few chapters.
My love, prayers and part of my heart lies
always with the families  and town that 
made me who I am.
"THE TOWNS THAT BUILT ME"

Monday, April 23, 2018

Every life needs a Mantra

I have forgotten a few things since I began this new blog.
Every life needs a Mantra,
A slogan, word or saying that stands for what you believe.
I have found mine from 2014 and I must say, 
I still feel like it is what I want, need, believe for my life:

SLOW ME DOWN LORD
EASE THE POUNDING OF MY HEART, BY QUIETING MY MIND.
STEADY MY HURRIED PACE WITH A VISION OF ETERNAL 
REACH OF TIME.
GIVE ME, AMID THE CONFUSION OF THE DAY,
THE CALMNESS OF EVERLASTING SMILES FROM YOUR HEART.
BREAK THE TENSION OF MY NERVES AND MUSCLES
WITH THE SOOTHING MUSIC OF THE SINGING STREAMS
OF YOU IN MY MEMORY - CONSTANT.
HELP ME TO KNOW THE MAGICAL RESTORING POWER OF SLEEP.
TEACH ME THE ART OF TAKING MINUTE VACATIONS 
OF SLOWING DOWN TO LOOK AT A FLOWER,
TAKE TIME FOR A FRIEND.,
TO PAT A DOG, TO READ A FEW LINES FROM A GOOD BOOK.
SLOW ME DOWN LORD AND INSPIRE ME
TO SEND MY ROOTS DEEP INTO YOUR LIFE
ENDURING VALUES, THAT I MAY GROW 
CLOSER TO YOUR DESTINY,
MY HEAVEN.
AMEN

As I read this, I realize, it is still those things I need
to tell myself, the desires of my heart.
So much has changed in my life since 2014,
divorced, moved out of a huge house that I knew
was beautiful but too much for me, 
found my cottage that speaks my name to all who enter
and I feel proud.
Proud of the life I have made that is different from the
one I began back in the 80's.
While I will always be thankful to the Father of my children,
for keeping promises he made to me a long way back,
for being fair when it came to separating what 
30 years of marriage had gave us,
I, personally, have never been happier, more at peace,
knowing that there is a man who lives an hour from me
who loves me, who understands and agrees with the
future has in store for us, which is time together equal to
our own time to ourselves.
Yesterday, as I was riding with the Boo
knowing I was leaving him to come home to my cottage,
I was sad that it was already time to end our weekend
but then, I felt this peace surround me.
The peace of knowing the cottage, my cat, 
all those things I love were there waiting for me.
I am proud of my cottage, I love the way
I walk in and I feel like I am "home"
where I can take my shoes off and do whatever my
heart desires, 
 I love the smell of an old church that always fills 
my nose when I open my door,
and I look at that Mantra from 2014 and know,
it is still the reminders I need for my life in 2018.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

THE BRUCE WEDDING...

On Saturday, the boo and I forged through the weather
to Lafayette for the Bruce wedding.
It's taken me a while to write this blog and I am still
not sure if I can put into words what the night brought me.
However, it is time to attempt..
Gavin Bruce, Gav.... almost like a son to me.
Not only was he and Gypsy baby good friends at a very young
age but in second grade, they became neighbors.
When the Burregi's moved in Tarpon Heights,
their Jaedon and the other two became "every day" friends.
Along with Jessica Rousse who also lived in the neighborhood.
When You live below Intracoastal your neighborhood becomes
a village, a village to raise your children in, where
each Mother and Father has full authority to correct,
encourage any of the other children.
And that we did!
Image may contain: 4 people, including Alice Lathrop, people smiling, people sitting and indoor
(Randy, myself, Alice)
As we gathered on  Saturday. our three children now adults,
all our personalities have changed.
( gypsy baby, Alice, Jaedon)
(Alice, Jaedon's mom and Wanda, Gavin's mom)
These were two of the Mom's of Gypsy's village as well
as becoming some of my best friends in the neighborhood.
It is amazing to see, now that the kids are grown, how much
fun we can have together, which was proved on Saturday.
But back to the past.
Each of us were "hands on Moms" we were responsible,
strict with love. We walked together most afternoons and
our three kiddo's followed us many days either riding their bikes,
skates or skateboards. We talked of so much, personal life things,
our children, our careers... 
Just so much.

(Alice, myself, Wanda, Jae, Gavin)
So gathering for Gavin's wedding was almost marrying one 
of our own. Happy tears for us all.
...And boy did we celebrate the night, rarely
leaving the dance floor. It was a night I will never forget.
Dancing with Gavin, he tells me thank you,
Thank you for being like a third, fourth mother to him.
He is the most gracious groom, remembering to let
each of us know just how important we are to him.
(Lindsey and her Dad, during the Father/Daughter dance)
I must make remarks on this beautiful bride,
Gavin's wife, so beautiful, so natural,
Bohemian almost, loving vintage probably as much as I.
Her father has been in a wheel chair most of her life.
Not a dry eye in the venue when for the Father/Daughter dance
she jumped in her Daddy's lap and danced the way
she has always danced with him.
One of the most touching things I have witnessed.


... and another thing I must comment on,
My gypsy baby and her love, Delainey, 
enjoying each other so much at the wedding.
The Boo took this picture and I see her,
so very happy and at such a good place in her life right now.
I look around the party after Randy shows me this
photo and I realize, in a room full of "down the bayou" people
and Lindsey's family, no one looks at them awkward
actually, no one seems to even notice the love of 
two women dancing together surely in love.
This is our bayou, Acceptance of all,
no matter how you live your life.
I have not seen my gypsy this happy in a long time.
Thanks, D, for being the reason for that smile.
Then the boo.....
Thanks for being my date at such an important day for us.
Although you are not a dancer,
you were so attentive to me and my friends,
holding my jackets, my phone, my pictures,
keeping my glass cold and full. 
Allowing me to dance with all my old comrades
and when I sat to rest, blew on my neck to cool me off,
made sure we got back to the hotel safely.
You were an amazing date! Thanks for loving me the way you do.
Gavin and Lindsey,
I will share here the same advice I shared with you that night,
"Never forget how much you love that woman today, don't
let the World ever, ever come between that"
and my favorite advice to all new couples.
"When you wrong admit it, when you are right shut up."
Thanks for the best reception and wedding.
I remain thankful that I have been in the village that
raised you, Gavin.
Love to all my peeps!








BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO FORGET....

Roxanne's benefit last weekend was one for the books! It was like a Dursette children reunion minus a few, It was overwhelming the ...