Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Friday, October 26, 2012

From Boys to Men

 
 

My boys turned 18 years old a couple days ago. I considered writing a post about it, but, well, really, what can I say? They look the same to me. They act the same. But I'm taking them to vote this weekend. (Early voting, since Eric is home this weekend and won't be able to vote in Natchitoches on Election Day.) And I'm buying them their first-ever dress suits. No more borrowing a jacket from Dad or a friend. They received their selective service notices in the mail last week. Does voting, being old enough to be drafted, and wearing one's own dress-up clothes define "grown-up"? How exactly do we measure adulthood? How does one determine maturity level? Surely it is not a chronological number. It's not an appearance. Is it an attitude? Must it first be proven by demonstration? What are your thoughts?

In the meantime, I found a couple birthday posts in the archives. You can read them here and here.

One thing I can say . . . these boys make me proud and honored to be their mom every single day. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Flashback Friday -- Missing Autumn 2

Still missing fall in the northeast. Couldn't resist posting another lament. This one is from 2008. And I still love those yellow daisy-like flowers. They are prolific this year!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Eunice, Louisiana

Travel yesterday took me to Eunice, Louisiana, via Alexandria and Chicot State Park. I had never been to Alexandria before, and I thought I might write a post about the town, known for being quite “central” in the state. But honestly, I didn’t see much there worth writing about. If anyone knows anything fun or interesting about Alexandria, please let me know and I may revisit it.

I had been to Chicot State Park before, and it is lovely. You can read my original post about the park here. The purpose of that first trip was exclusively to kayak. This trip was dedicated to hiking. Chicot is home to the Louisiana State Arboretum.

 
We meandered through miles of hardwood forests, stands of pine, and marshy bottomlands. The park is as wonderful on foot as it is paddling through the water.

 

Later in the afternoon, we explored the town of Eunice, named for founder C.C. Duson’s wife. Considering how small the town is, there’s surprisingly a lot to do. Eunice boasts three diverse museums. There’s the Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum.


The Eunice Depot Museum, chock full of interesting antiques and other historically significant items.

 
And, curiously, a Nutcracker Museum.


But the town’s center of entertainment is the historic Liberty Theater. Notice the handsome guy holding up the pole.

 
Each Saturday evening, the Liberty features Cajun Music artists. The show is broadcast live on radio and TV. In front of the stage is a dance floor, and the dancers are as entertaining as the musicians. The songs are sung in French and the emcee speaks mostly in French, so of course, I couldn’t understand most of what was said/sung. Is it any wonder I sometimes say I feel like I live in a foreign country?  The announcer did say, briefly in English, that the Liberty Theater is like the Grand Ole Opry of Cajun Country. Troy LeJeune and Cajun Review performed last night.

 
Have you been to Eunice? What were your experiences?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flashback Friday -- Missing Autumn

Fall is in the air . . . or is it? Here in southwest Louisiana, it depends on the week. Last week, we reveled in a reprieve from the heat. This week, we're back to summer.

I wrote a post a couple years ago about missing autumn in the northeast. (Read it here.) I still do miss it, but I've grown to appreciate fall in this part of the world. October is one of my favorite months. I think we in the south might be more grateful for the cooler temperatures (I'm talking 60s and 70s here, folks), after living through the oppressive heat of summer. I relish these weeks, even a month or two, when the AC is mostly off and before the cement slab beneath my house has turned into a chill radiator.

Wherever you live, I hope you bask in the season. Please leave a comment and tell me how you savor autumn.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Reading is FUNdamental

Back when I was a kid, in the late 60s or 70s, there was a literacy organization that advertised alot, probably on the stations that aired cartoons. I can still hear the jingle in my head and picture the graphic -- "Reading is FUNdamental!" Do any of you in my age range remember that? How basic is reading in our day to day lives? Can you even imagine not having that ability? I think it is something that 99.9 or more percent of us take for granted. It's not something we feel grateful for. We just do it, almost as if we were born knowing how. But what if you couldn't read? Imagine what a handicap that would be! For some, that is a reality.

For that reason, I'm feeling blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer in a new mission with my church, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Charles. We have started tutoring 2nd graders at Oak Park Elementary in reading.

In general, throughout my life, I've had a hard time finding a service niche or campaigning for a worthy cause. I'm not one to wield power tools and build a house in three days or fly to a foreign country to dig wells. I don't protest or picket perceived injustice. I shy away from rowdy crowds or even large groups of people. But I love interacting with people one-on-one. Helping kids learn to read . . . this is something I can feel passionate about. This is something I can do that I feel can truly make a positive difference in people's lives. I'm excited about it. The only other time in my life when I've volunteered long-term was the seven years (K-6) of my boys' elementary education and I worked a day or two a week in their school library. Shelving books was tedious, but I loved helping kids find that perfect book.

These children who need help at Oak Park Elementary impress me. They are precious. They struggle to sound out most every word. But they are determined. They work so hard. They truly want to learn to read. They are polite, respectful, and so grateful to us volunteers. The smile on their face when they get a word right and when they hear me say, "Great job!" . . . just pierces my heart.

Our church has also partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters to do Lunch Buddies at Oak Park Elementary. There are never enough volunteers for projects like these. If you think you might enjoy participating in the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these children, come join us at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Charles. We have a contemporary worship service Sunday mornings at 9:00 with an incredible praise team led by local musician extraordinaire Trip Wamsley, and a traditional service at 11:00 with a fantastic choir led by musician and Barbe High School's chorus director Chris Miller. We have a wonderful pastor, Chan Willis. And our congregation is "growing with the Spirit." For more information, check out our wesbite here.