Holding Pattern

Today is Cappy's BIG 29th birthday (50th). I waited all day in hopes of being able to take him out one of his gifts that I picked up the other day, since he already opened the birthday present last week that I had 'hidden' in his seabag. Well, here it is after nine o'clock at night and it doesn't look good. As I'm typing this, he's in the process of 'doing a good deed'. Someone else's towboat is mired down to the point of being stuck and not able to move, so he's got lines attached to the other vessel so he can pull him out. What a guy. That's the kind of thing that makes me proud of him. He's always looking for an opportunity to help someone. He often does so at the expense of himself, which he says gives him the biggest blessing; "otherwise it aint a blessing now is it?" and "isn't that whatcha 'posed to do??" What a good man. I hear him talking over the mic to the other captain, saying, "I'm easin' it kinda slow here; I don't wanna scratch my pretty paint job". It's sailor thing; them taking pride in how bright and 'pretty' their boats look, and they take great pains to make 'her' look good. We used to have pictures of other boats he drove until our computer crashed and 'ate' all of them. As of yet, we still haven't taken pictures of his current towboat. So that's what he's doing; easing and moseying along, helping others and eventually heading along the Intercoastal Waterway and up into one of the bayous where the oil companies have gathering facilities with holding tanks, where the crude oil he collects in his huge barge is to be delivered. Presently, I hear the other captain laughing his head off; Cappy has a way of making people laugh. They jokingly call each other "Pirates". Cappy just told the guy, too, when thanked, "Hey, thank YOU; you gave me the opportunity to help somebody." As it is, he's already doing double duty today, because one of the guys on his boat got off the boat yesterday to go be with his 4 year old son, who had surgery this morning. We got the report this evening that, so far, the little fellow is doing just fine. He had to have his tonsils, adenoids taken out, and tubes put in his ears.

I talked with my daughter, Sookie, whose husband is in the hospital, that he's getting well, having had an extremely bad viral infection, which affected his brain. We're just waiting on him, now, too, to get back to his old self.

I didn't get to Thibodaux to see if there's any more news about Brad regaining consciousness, but called across the street as soon as I saw lights on over there. Mr. Jude said that Brad remains the same, but there's also no negative news to report, so that is indeed, still, good news. We are optimistic that he will awaken at any moment. His mother's birthday (and her twin sister, Marcella) is next week, so we are hoping for the best birthday gift God could ever give to them.
So, now it's late, and today I waited all day to see if the dawgs and I could somehow manage to connect with Cappy to take him a book he wanted for his birthday; and alas, it just wasn't to be. The book, written by Jimmy Buffett, the famous 'balladeer', whom Cappy truly respects is appropriately titled, "A Pirate Looks at Fifty", I also found a pirate pen that lights up to go with it. It'll wait.


Update on our young neighbor, Brad(Updated Again tonight)

I didn't go visit the hospital yesterday(Sunday), because I knew the place was going to be packed with people who can only visit on the weekend, and I that will be able to be there with the family on the weekdays, when everyone else has to work.
I just received the following email from Ms. Helen, so am posting it here. I can't begin to tell you how much your prayers are appreciated. Please keep up the good work.
Subject: Sunday Update on Brad
We visited Steve and Monica Sunday morning. While not much has changed, there was a bit of encouraging news yesterday. The doctors lightened up on the sedation a bit to run a few tests. They checked Brad’s pupils and they dilated slightly for the first time since he initially arrived at the hospital. He responded to pain when they pricked his chest and when they placed an instrument in his mouth, he pulled his head away.
Monica said that the only visible sign of damage to his body is a bruise across his chest from the seat belt. The doctors said that he had some minor fractures on his spine but they seem to be routine and will heal themselves.
Steve and Monica wanted to thank all of you for the prayers. They believe the prayers are working and that they are the reason for the improvements. They ask that you continue to pray because they still have a long road ahead of them.
But, as for yesterday, it was a good day.
I plan on going to the hospital this afternoon with Miss Pauline. After reading the email from Mr. Allan, I can't help but be excited at the prospect of Brad finally waking up and recovering.
Oh, Brad looks soooo much better today than he did the last time I saw him. They took him completely off the medications yesterday, so now everyone's in more uplifted spirits with all the good news, are just waiting for him to wake up. I'm given to understand that the swelling of his brain has gone down a lot more, so now it's just a matter of time before he opens his eyes and lets us know he's baaaaaack.
I have to say I misunderstood about the other car's occupant. I was told that 'they' were treated and sent home. It's understandable, with so much going on, fearing for Brad's life and all the confusion. Today I learned that the other driver, who 'met' Brad on the road, was also in the hospital with a broken pelvis, broken leg(s) and sundry other injuries, but not in ICU. Please keep both in your prayers and we will, as well. Expect to hear more good news.


"Muh-dahm Ray" and Arky's Are Back Home

Since someone on Cappy's boat absolutely had to get off the boat a day early, we rushed around and got Cappy back to his boat on Wednesday afternoon. In the rush, we had forgotten to put a few things in his 'ditty-bag', so this morning SparkyBear, MarkyBear and I took a nice drive down to LaRose to hand him his Walmart shopping bag, with the things he needed, across a small span of water, where they had tied up and were waiting for us. We were supposed to have done this yesterday, but, like life on the water, things change. Since he couldn't actually get off the boat, the dogs were howling out the windows the whole time, from the confines of our Trailblazer, for their 'Dad'. A minute or two later, we were back-tracking the same hour-long route home.
As I drove through Thibodaux, I wished I had left the 'boys' home, so I could have stopped at the hospital to see how Brad was doing today. As soon as I got in the door, I called and talked with Abby, Brad's cousin, who said that nothing had changed, so we are still in a wait-and-see mode 'til Monday, when they begin withdrawing the 'coma medicine'.
The other night at the hospital I learned something I hadn't known; here in our neighborhood, where most speak Cajun-French, I am referred to as "Madame Ray". I had gotten used to being called, "Miss Peggy" for the last 6 1/2 years. (All women's names, when spoken are preceded by Miss, such as Miss Annie, or Miss Sonia.) At the hospital the other evening, either Brad's mother or one of his aunts told me that they had told Brad, "Madame Ray is here to see you". Because of my puzzled expression, she quickly said, "That's how we refer to you, as 'Madame Ray'; the wife of Ray...Mrs. Ray". I love how they pronounce it, "Muh-dahRay" (they leave off the 'm' sound and put 'Ray' in it's place). I LIKE it. Everytime I think of "Muh-dahRay", I envision myself wearing a black felt, wide-rimmed hat, with a big black poofy ostrich feather, curled on the end, sticking way up out of it. Very classy.
Well, it's a beautiful day outside, so I think I'll go and do some yardwork. It's that time of year already. On the way home I saw several azalea bushes already ablaze with color.The day before Cappy went back out to his boat, we mowed the lawn and fertilized the trees. And I'm all dressed for yardwork anyhow; I went to meet Cappy just now dressed in blue jeans, a faded purple sweater, black socks that peeked out of the holes of my bright hot pink 'croc' shoes, which somehow looks as 'politically incorrect' as old men who wear shorts, with black socks, those ugly leg suspenders and sandals. But that's what I'm wearing and that's what I'm going with. It's very sunny out;...Hmmm, I wonder where Madame Ray put her big ol' gorgeous hat with that fabulous plume?


Even the Sky is Crying Here, (Updated tonight).

Right now I'm just heartbroken. One of our young neighbors; a wonderful young man, Brad, was in a bad car accident on his way to school, during the bad weather we've been having this morning. He's sustained brain swelling, but is breathing on his own. It's serious enough that they want to transport him to an hospital in New Orleans, as soon as the weather permits. I'm having a hard time writing between bouts of tears and prayers; this young man is a rare gem in today's society. He's what every parent dreams his child would be; clean cut, polite, hardworking...just an all around terrific person. He was on his way to school...Nicholl's University, where he is studying medicine, when he collided with another vehicle on or near a bridge...one which I don't like, even on a sunny day. Please...PLEASE help us to pray for his full recovery and for his family, ...the best kind of people in the world...because this is such a scarey time for them just now. Thank you; we'll let you know how he's doing.

Later that evening

I went to the hospital to be with the family. Brad is still in Thibodaux's hospital, in an induced coma, in the ICU. They operated, putting a monitor on his brain, and the report is that his brain function is fine, but there's swelling. His brain stem suffered some damage, but not the spinal column, except for, perhaps a few vertebraes. Thank God he's not paralyzed. I could not believe that I had the honor to be able to actually go in with his Mom and aunt, to pray with him.

This young man just 'made' his 19th birthday last Saturday. He had gotten a barbeque pit, so Cappy and I, seeing him and his little girlfriend out in the driveway working on it, stopped to joke with him about it. His aunt said that, Brad is already a good cook and he had recently made his own smoker to make beef jerky...made it himself.
I mistakenly understood that he was on his way to school this morning, but found out later, that, instead, he had gotten up at 4:30 a.m. (!), to go to work in the lab, drawing blood. Actually, he wasn't due to work this morning, but volunteered to go work ...on his day off..."what kind of 'kid' does that?", to quote his proud aunt. The best kind of human possible, I say. The world needs more like him, so Please, I implore you once again, please keep him and his precious family in your closest prayers,...and so Cappy and I can selfishly actually get to taste some of Brad's Cajun bbq and 'backseat stir the pot', while he's busily sweating over the pit.
Next morning:
I should have known better than to call the hospital to ask how Brad is doing, because they can't tell personal information about their patients over the phone. I don't have the family's sundry cell phone numbers, so couldn't call, directly,to learn any news, so, took a chance and called their house across the street. His younger brother, Matt, answered the phone and said that Brad had a good night's sleep and that no other complications had come up, and that he was headed to the hospital himself. So, that's good news. I'm going to find someplace to take this pot of chili I made for them, and head that way myself. Once again, thank you for your continued prayers, and we will keep you informed.
I just got back from the hospital. I spent time with the family and made a couple of new friends. It's a good thing the ICU waiting room is huge, because so is Brad's crowd, who are waiting for him. Most of his family spent the night there at the hospital. They are exhausted, but not tired of waiting; never tired of waiting for Brad. They remain there, steadfast, waiting for any improvement; waiting for Brad to 'come back' and wake up. And while they wait, they love one another and also anyone who shows up to wait with them. I got to go in and pray with Brad again and his Mom, Monica. The room was dark and still. He needs his rest, and come Monday, the doctors will begin to wean him off the medication which has put him in the temporary coma. As I was leaving, his Dad, Steve told me that Coco and Shadow, the two dogs aren't eating or drinking...they haven't for the last two days; and these are Big Dogs. Somehow they know. I just don't know about dogs sometimes. When I got home, the very first thing I did was to walk across the street and give them each two big Milk-Bone biscuits and talked to them. I told them everything was going to be okay, so they'd better eat now. Coco started chomping on one of them, and Shadow disappeared back into the shadows, but I saw she had one of the light colored 'bones' in her mouth. I stayed while Coco, the big brown beast, chomped away on another one. I'm not sure who got the last one, him or Shadow, but it got cold, so I walked back across the street, where my three 'brats' were standing there with all six ears standing straight up and they were wearing looks of indignation, so I got them their supper. First things first, boys.


Cruisin' Down Da Bayou, Jammin' To Da Blues

Peg and I, with or 2 bratty Dawgs, went fishing/boat riding in and around the lake by our house. We made a slideshow of our trip, but try as we might, we couldn't get Blogger to take the video. So, we did the next best thing and loaded it up to youtube; here it is: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=7UpjGGc-Y80
hope you enjoy it. While riding around, we also got some video of an eagle. Now that the pesticide DDT is finally dissipating from our environment, the big birds are making a roaring .... or is that squawking(??) comeback. Since we are down- stream from everywhere, it took longer for the DDT levels to drop low enough for the birds' eggs to be hard enough, not to crack in the nest. When I was a kid, eagles were something ya only saw in books, and Spoonbill Rosettes were mythical birds Grandpa talked about. I am so very proud to say that, this is no longer is the case. Well anyways, here is the link to the eagle video: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=HSdOTj_Qzr0&feature=user It's very obvious we still learning the video camera though.


Chicot State Park Trip

We are safely home from our camping trip to Chicot State Park . As you can see from the slide show, camping aint exactly what we
aughta call it.
The cabin we were staying in, was lots more like a lodge or something, perched up on the hill over-looking the lake. Our good friends from Houston, Dave and Ginger drove up at the same time we did Friday afternoon and working together, unloading the vehicles, we were settled in, in no time. We lugged the heavy boat batteries all the way up the stairs to the cabin and put them charging for the night, so we could go for a boat ride the next day.
The next morning after we had got the boat all powered up, and lugged the heavy batteries back down the hill again, was when Cousin Larry pointed out that there had been some outside receptacles on the concrete wall right beside the boat the whole time...... sheesh! ( now he tells us.) We had a great time on the lake Saturday. If you click this picture of me fishing and make it big you can see the little Gater sunning in the back ground. When we got back to the cabin we feasted on grilled steaks and all da trimmin's. Glenn and Veronica stopped by to say "hi" on their way home back to South Louisiana, from modular house shopping way up in Mississippi. We were glad to see 'em and had a wonderful visit.
Sunday Peg and I kinda slept in, while Dave and Ginger hiked around the park. They left to go back home to Houston around noon, and Peg and I fried up a big ole mess of fried chicken, while we visited with Cousin Larry. Larry left early in the afternoon to go back home to Port Barre so Peg and I had a quiet evening, relaxin'. The big ol' cabin was very quiet after all our company had left. The next morning (Monday) we packed up the left-over chicken, and spent the day on the water, riding, fishing, and enjoying the beautiful lake. Chicot is the Cajun French word for 'stump', and as ya see from the slides, it is an aptly named little lake. While heading back to the landing for a potty break, we ran into a very nice guy named Troy, from New Orleans, who was checking out the hiking trail for his local Scout Troop. We visited with him at the landing and since he'd never been out on the lake and showed such an interest in it, that we offered to take him out on the lake in the boat. As he rode with us, he told us that he had hiked all the way around it on the trail, but only saw the lake from the banks, so Peg and I took him way out and showed him the big cyprus swamps and some of the lake channels.We really enjoyed meeting Mr. Troy and it was a great lil diversion on a wonderful day. After our day on the lake, we had a great night, got up Tuesday morning, packed up and headed out for home. We had a nice chat with Skye, the gate attendant, who related to us how she had come by such a pretty name. I jokingly guessed that her parents had been hippies. She said as a matter of fact they were. She said one night her mother had been 'stoned' and looked up at the starlit sky and said, "That's beautiful, and my daughter's going to be beautiful, so that's what I'm going to name her, 'Skye'...and she did". By looking at the picture, you can see the name fits. The last photo we took for son Thom, to let him know that, yes, there are bears here too :-) We had a wonderful time and are already dreaming of camping trips yet to come.

Yep,... This is About What I Thought Would Happen.

As soon as Cappy hit the banks last week, we've been off and running. As per my last blog post, where I mentioned I had lost track several times as to how I was operating my new-fangled video camera, rather than forgetting myself and having fun with the rest of the crowd and grabbing for Mardi Gras beads; I did the latter. I still don't know how to download...or is it upload (?) the videos from the camera, so couldn't look at the results til yesterday, when we got back from our camping trip. It's a good thing, via that last blog post, that Cappy got a 'heads up' as to what to expect. He was, uh...wellll...he mentioned that we have a lonnng way to go with our video camera. Here is the video of a portion of the parade in Lafayette. Hey! I have lots more video of the parade and the camping trip to Lake Chico...betcha can hardly wait, eh?


The Family's Annual Mardi Gras Get-together 2008

When I first moved to Louisiana, I remember reading something that said the people down here think that the combination of purple, green and gold is absolutely beautiful. Since it was mid-summer at the time, I was mystified. Not anymore, tho. I know it means; everyone in the area is already in celebration mode for Mardi Gras. Wall-to-wall parades and parties, and just a general atmosphere of carnival revelry.When Cappy is off the boat during Mardi Gras season, which isn't very often, we go to a few parades. We know people who go all day, most every day, from morning til nightfall, attending parades and parties, then get up and do it all over again, until Fat Tuesday aka Mardi Gras, then at the stroke of midnight, collapse in a happy heap, repent and reflect during the Lenten Season, and pretty much lay in wait til next year's frivolities begin, or til the family BBQ or any 'happening' to celebrate life with family and friends.Years ago Cappy's Grandmother and Aunt Gussie started their annual family Mardi Gras get-together in Lafayette, LA. It didn't take long for the rest of the family to catch on and join in the fun. "MawMaw" (Cappy's Grandmother) passed, and is now celebrating her parties with The Lord, since last year, and alas, this year, her daughter, our sweet Aunt Gussie wasn't feeling well, so she wasn't able to attend. Even though we just saw her a scant while ago, I missed her dearly yesterday when I went to Lafayette for the family BBQ and party. In her honor, I took way too many pictures. Still photos and video. Cappy admonished me several times, not to wave the camera around from person to person while taping, because he absolutely cannot stand to watch videos that blur from person to person, or all over the place, on the way to another person. It was my first real outing with my new video HD camera, and I was so 'psyched' to tape lots of shots. I got a lot of still pictures with my regular camera, as usual, but during the parade, I wanted to make sure to get videos of all the floats. Dang, in all the hub-bub, I forgot to take still photos of said floats and bead tossers, who were riding the floats. New habits die hard, too. Bead catching is new to this Yankee/Cajun. Watching the Mardi Gras parades on television from New York State was always a curiosity, akin to disdain for me. Hmmph. How could anyone get so excited about catching tacky plastic beads...and fight over them?? Well...I dunno what happened, but I well remember my first night-time parade over there in Lafayette. I found myself screaming, "Throw me somethin', Mister!!!" along with everybody else, and clawing and flailing after the shiney 'jewelry' which was sailing through the air in my direction. (Sheesh, you woulda thunk they were real diamonds or pearls.) I even got into minor skirmishes over 'loot' that was definitely MINE that somebody else grabbed. Tug of war's will only lead to a broken, good fer nuthin' string, with sad little beads, dangling from your paw. Well, I learned that anyhow.

Now...yesterday at the Children's Parade, I whipped out my video camera and began 'shooting' the floats. The crowd around me were jostling against me, waving their arms and hands, yelling for beads and trinkets, like plastic cups or doubloons (special colored coins, usually stamped with the special occasion and year on them). When the kids on the floats threw beads at my camera, and I instinctively started grabbing them, all thoughts of Cappy having to witness blurry films ran off with MY beads somebody else had the NERVE to take. Oh yeah?? I started grabbing for every set of beads hurtling my way, bending down and clawing them off the ground, lest some 50 year old 'brat' next to me got 'em first. All bets were off...but then I'd remember I was a responsible adult here, and begin video-taping the kiddoes on the floats again, with all the gorgeous pagentry. Til another set of beads or a cup came right to me! I hadda get down there, stick my hand through the barricade and grab MY prizes...thrown directly to ME,... after all. If I got into one particularly 'friendly' dispute, where I 'won'...the next batch, I'd give to the 'offended' party, to kinda/sorta make up for the last round. I guess that's the way it's done. Well, anyhow, I managed to plaster six long minutes worth of still pictures onto the Blogger Video thingy above, with some Cajun music also. I don't know how long it will be before I can tackle the 'video's' I took...editing will probably lop off most of what I taped. Since I haven't begun to learn about that process yet, guess who will be stuck sitting here in this chair sometime next week, suffering through an hour or so, of blurry visions of pavement, metal barricade closeups, someone's shoes, broken beads strewn on the ground and an occasional purple, green and gold float smear by at an hundred miles an hour?