Friday, November 30, 2007


Here I am in Scottsdale at the Fairmont Princess living the life of the "High & Mighty". When Mel was cutting my hair this week, she told me that she was going to cut it in a style that could be combed in a sophisticated brush-back. That got a good laugh out of me and the infamous "rolling of the eyes." Who did she think I was???? I thought the girl knew me! This place is really something with every possible thing you could want at your fingertips. I could get spoiled fast-but it is not my style to enjoy being waited on. I get this "old fashioned guilt" thing going if I am subjected to too much of this life.

I got up for my 6 mile run this AM. Now we are in the desert, who would have thought that it would rain the entire time that we are here, but raining it is. I felt right at home while sweating and sloshing through the puddles. This place is very flat and I had to run on concrete sidewalks. Shades of what Houston will be like! Since I went pretty slow and the traffic caused stops every time I needed to cross a street, this is probably not a fair shot at what it will be completely like, but a close resemblance. You forget, when you are not subjected to concrete much, how hard that is on your legs & feet.

One of the things that we do while at these meetings is meet & greet. There is a small nucleus of people that we know from LA, but the majority of the 400 people you have never seen. This means smile, make conversation, be polite, smile, make conversation, smile, meet new people, smile, act interested, smile. I JUST LOVE DOING THAT! My mother's side of the family are a group of introverted people who can come across as charming, but find this kind of activity pretty exhausting. I have most of the day to get myself prepared for another round of this activity tonight, and I will need that time.

Last night I did meet BC's regional manager. HE IS A RUNNER! Bobby is always laughing about the fact that runners seem to be magnetized and instantly attract each other in a room full of people. Buster (he didn't look anything like I thought a Buster would) has actually had a long weekend of training with Jeff Galloway-noted runner's guru. WOW! He told me the tale and I loved hearing it about this weekend and his personal running goals and why he has those. He is a competitive runner and limits his runs to a maximum of 15 miles. It was great talking running with him, but I felt WAY out-classed. Most runners though do not make you feel bad about your limitations, but relish in your accomplishments. That is a very good thing.

While running I noticed the local flora and fauna. TRULY BEAUTIFUL! I should have my bird book with me as I spotted a few that I had never seen. What a treat! The interesting thing to me is the air here smells different. I could never figure out if it was due to all of the sand around you are the different types of vegetation. There are lots of eucalyptus trees-maybe that is it. How different!

It is nice to have the down time and since I am away from my home base, I cannot do anything about the long list of things I need to be doing. I did awaken very early this morning and felt God nudging me to pray for some of my favorite people. It was an honor to do just that!

Hopefully I will get some pictures at some point in time for you to see the beautiful desert and the old mountains that surround this trendy and modern time. Truly this is "retirement Mecca"-not my idea of retirement, but lots of others , obviously,think it is perfect.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


We were up bright & early for the trip to Arizona. The airline people did not cooperate. We were treated to the view in the downtown Monroe airport for the next 4 hours. Not exactly how I envisioned the start to our trip, but never the less.... We arrived late this afternoon-finally-but unfortunately it was dusk and I did not get to really enjoy the view. Will have to tell you more about that later. We went to a reception, dinner and symphony concert tonight. The symphony was mostly young people and were quite good. I especially enjoyed "Music of the Night" from "The Phantom".

I read Camille's blog after we were settled and chuckled over her remarks about no comments. We all like to think that someone is interested in our thoughts and that is how you know you've been read.

I'm tired and it's late s0-here's the next installment of Louise's life-ENJOY


I finally graduated from Overton High School when I was 17 years old. Aunt Lora wanted me to go to Teacher’s College, but I had no desire to teach a classroom full of not always clean and unrefined children. I had taken many business classes during my high school years so it was decided that I would continue to work with Daddy at the Drug Store and help him with his bookwork for the store. My days were busy as Daddy worked in the pharmacy portion of the store and I ran the front part of the store. This was during the time before you had to have a degree to dispense medicine and there were only a limited number of drugs available. There were many elixirs and remedies produced in small quantities and under no oversight as to there effectiveness. Many people still used remedies passed down through their families for generations, but the business of drugs was only a fledgling business just in the early stages of infancy.

I was still heartbroken over my broken romance, but did not let this stop my social life. I was quite the darling of the county and enjoyed being taken out by all of the local young men. Daddy finally relented and allowed me to date without a chaperone. He had very strict rules about whom I could date and where they were allowed to take me. One night one of the local beaus took me to a roadhouse in Troop where there was dancing and drinking. I loved the excitement and the great time we had dancing. When I got home that night, Daddy was waiting on the front porch to have a talk. He was so mad! It turned out that he, Ora, and Bruce have taken a drive out in the country looking for one of his lost fox hounds when they passed by the roadhouse. Bruce recognized my date’s car and thankfully Ora talked him out of coming in to get me. I was once again reminded of my Mother’s saintly reputation and told how disappointed she would have been in me. The final threat was that if it happened again, he would call Aunt Lora. Now Daddy and Aunt Lora did not always see eye to eye about me, but this they would agree on, and I would never hear the end of it.

About this time there was BIG excitement in east Texas. OIL WAS DISCOVERED! In those days, oil and gas were just beginning to be in demand and there we were sitting on top of one of the biggest oil fields ever found. The really great thing about the discovery of the oil was all of the young eligible men this brought into the area. There were literally hordes of workers needed not only in the oil fields, but in the businesses that were all related to the drilling, transporting, and manufacturing of the oil. BONNAZA! The level of excitement in the local area was electric. After so many years of agriculture based economy, we finally had a real cash crop.

We local girls were so excited about the fresh new crop of young men to take us out. Daddy put such a damper on this though. He announced I would not be dating anyone that he did not know and to not even think about asking. How could he?? Here I was with the first real opportunity to heal from my broken heart and I was not allowed to even think about it. Well I had to think about a way to change his mind.

My friend, Mary, moved to a little town in northern Louisiana with her family when her Daddy took a job at a saw mill there. I was allowed to take the train to go and visit Mary for a week the summer after the oil rush started. Mary lived across the street from the James family who had a son, Robert who was a couple of years older than me. Robert was quite the charmer and came across the street to meet the visiting Texan. He was tall and slender and certainly a ladies’ man. He played the piano with a local band that often traveled the area playing in dances. I liked Robert, but my first love was still in the back of my mind. The week went by fast and we all had a great time, hanging out together and just having fun. I left thinking I was going back to Texas and the life that I loved with no thoughts of a future with Robert.

I went back to Overton and back to work and Robert started writing me letters. I received a letter one day that his band would be coming to a local dance to play and would I please come. I got a group of my girl friends and we all drove over for the dance, but without Daddy knowing. We had a wonderful time and he charmed all the girls. The letters continued and it appeared that Robert was pursuing me. I wrote Robert and explained that Daddy would never approve of our involvement since he did not know Robert personally. I could see no future for Robert and me, and thought no more of it.

The next thing I know Robert has moved to east Texas to work in the office of an oil company. He had just graduated from business school and had a good job. He began coming in the drug store and always made a point to talk with Daddy. Finally Daddy invited him over for Sunday lunch. Little did Robert know that this was the “Trial by Fire”. Daddy had also invited all 3 of “The Aunts” and their families and it was inspection by the masses. Robert was so easy to talk with and so charming. He was quick to offer to help Ora and Bruce loved playing with him. He was fun to be around and everyone who met him liked him. Daddy finally gave his permission for us to court.

We began a wonderful courtship. Once again I was being treated like the center of the universe and I loved it. Robert was so sweet to me and treated me like the perfect lady that I had been raised to be. He promised me the universe if I would only marry him. How could I turn down this good looking man that promised his undying devotion? We were married on the first of May when I was 19, almost 20. Robert’s family was not able to make the trip, but all of my family was gathered in Daddy and Ora’s Parlor for the marriage of their sweet little Louisey. What a wonderful day and the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

Robert decided soon after we were married that we would move back to Farmerville. It turned out that he was quite a family man and very close to his parents and siblings. I would have to leave my beloved family and hometown of Overton. The long distance and difficulty of traveling in those days would surely keep me away from Daddy and the family. Once again I found myself heartbroken and knowing I would be homesick since the distance would “keep me away” from my precious Daddy. My heart and my head were echoing the old refrain, “For today, keep her away,” as I prepared to leave my beloved Overton.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


OK-the endorphins should be through the roof as I have just completed my 20 mile run. The very best thing I can say about that is -IT'S OVER! About this time in the 18 week training schedule, you begin to ask yourself-"Oh, Self, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS? " Some might say this borders on masochistic-today I might agree. You do have this huge sense of relief that it is over. This marathon has a 6 hour cut off and I have been worried about that, but today I decided this is doable. You probably think a snail could move down the road faster, but all I can say is don't go there until you have tried it. It's one thing to run 9 minute miles when running 5 miles, and another to run 10 minute miles when running 10 miles, but once you get beyond around 13 or so-those miles get hard! I get plenty of encouragement from Mr. C who has always been my biggest running fan. He always asks,"How was your run?". He is a sweet man!

While running I ran through my head the conversation my legs would be having with my head, (sans Camille) during this run.

1st 3 miles- Legs to Head- Hey, thanks for going slow enough to get us warmed up. You need to watch for holes-it is totally dark out here.

Up to 5 miles- Ok, this was a good workout and 5 is always doable. Are we headed to McDonalds for a biscuit?

Around mile 10-We're beginning to get a little tired, where's our goo? Don't you think this is enough for today. Ok-maybe a couple of more miles, but then let's go home.

Mile 13- OK-ALRIGHT- THIS IS THE HALF! You are not Superwoman. Are you crazy trying to run with all of these real runners? What are you thinking. Time to head back.

Mile 15- OVER THE TOP- We hurt-We're tired, WHINE WHINE WHINE.

Mile 17-HELLO IS ANYONE HOME UP THERE??? Test, Test, Test-Am I getting through to you? TIRED TIRED TIRED

Mile 18- HEY STUPID- We are going to mutiny. We just will not pick up when you say pick up. YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF US!

Mile 19-JUST WALK IN! Get us back to the car. If we ever get our feet propped up again, we will NEVER take you anywhere again! IDIOT!

Mile 20-When we get our strength back, we QUIT! No more cooperating with you-Luny Lady! Get us home and in the shower and then in a long soaking tub. OH YOU ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE! YOU JUST WAIT UNTIL WE GET HOME!

I am packing my bag and I do not plan to think about this marathon while in Arizona. Well maybe except for the 6 mile run I need to make. Mr. C & I are off early tomorrow and I am looking forward to down time. Meanwhile, I am getting a sports massage this afternoon to get the blood flowing in these bad boys again. If you hear a moaning sound around 3:30 this afternoon, it is just me.

Tomorrow, I will post Louise's latest update. She led quite a life and I really understand her better than I ever have by writing all of this down.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


SAD-Seasonal Affect Depression

I come from a long line of depressed people. I have always run to keep those good endorphins flowing in an effort to miss out on this wonderful inherited trait. Most of the time, I just do not have time to be depressed, but Christmas always throws me for a loop. Who knows what the roots of this are. I personally do not want to search through my childhood in an effort to find someone or something to blame for every negative thing about me. I just need to deal with it. For some strange reason, every year, I hit this real low during Christmas. Why would anyone be sad during this wonderful time of the year? It is a funky feeling that pulls your entire body and mind down into the dark. I do not like going here and have never really talked with anyone, except BC, about it. Perhaps I am not the only person out there who experiences this. This feeling snuck up behind me and wrapped it arms around me suddenly yesterday. I was not expecting it and was quite taken by surprise. Bobby & I talked about it last night and as I told him, "This too will pass." In an effort to push the blues out the door, I decorated the tree today. I still have lots of decorating to do, but in my old age, I take it a step at at time. I am about to go outside and get in the sunshine and work on the leaf accumulation. I refuse to give in-How could anyone SO BLESSED dare to be sad? I will not-I plan to push through the clouds and relish the sunshine of life once again. I remind myself -it is all in my mind-it is all in my mind.

Tomorrow I have to get up and run my 20 miles. UGH! The worse thing about that is that I have to do it alone. Double UGH! That which does not kill us-makes us stronger!

If you have not read Camille's blog from yesterday, you need to take the time. SHE HAS NEVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH DEPRESSION! She is definitely her Daddy's daughter. Thank you Lord!

Monday, November 26, 2007


I have a couple of friends that seem to have families, shades of "The Cleavors." Totally amazing! Bobby & I just made a fast trip to Monroe for a hospital visit and to go by Dillards. While there, I began talking with the sales clerk, whom I have known for a few years, but only in passing. I asked a question about her family and that started her tale of family dysfunction. By the time she had finished with her story, I was totally depressed-AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN MY FAMILY! Most families seem to have their tales of woe and misunderstandings, but some are worse than others. As my sweet friend and certified therapist, Barbara told me a long time ago, "Most families are a mess at best." If you are living with "The Cleavors" consider yourself blessed and one in a million. The Conville Clan are definitely not "The Cleavors."

There is a universal rule of nature, "All things left to themselves will implode and return to the state from which they came." (Or something like that) As I drove out of the drive this AM in the dark at 5:15, I looked over in the flower bed and there was one of the pumpkins in a big orange pile of pumpkin mush. It definitely was proof of the above theory. I am not sure how you could have saved the pumpkin, but it definitely was returning to that from which it came-THE GROUND!

We ran 9 miles this AM and the West wind was cold. After 2 days of no physical activity, the run actually felt good and was not bad at all. Perhaps not quite as fast as I would like, but not bad-for an old lady. Rest tomorrow and then 20. Oh I will definitely think about that tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Christmas Memory # 2-
We had a tradition at the James household of dividing the space under the tree every Christmas. I do not really remember what brought that on, but I suppose we must have had some disagreements about who was getting what. Being a "HUGE TOMBOY", I liked whatever the boys got better than my "girls things." Daddy would get a 6 inch wide piece of Christmas ribbon and divide the floor space under the tree into thirds. You knew where your space was and your "things" were all within that ribbon. Santa did not wrap gifts to bring to our home on James Avenue, so there were no gift tags to denote who got what. I really do not remember us exchanging gifts among our family members so there were not many "wrapped" presents under the tree. We always got up in the "middle" of the night and looked at Santa's Haul. My Mother & Daddy's room was at the end of the house which was built in a L shape. I think they must have closed their door to the hall, in anticipation of this midnight exploration. We also each had a stocking, that Grandmother Gillespie had made, that was full of fruit and candy and an orange in the toe, and left on the marble hearth by the fireplace. There were also plenty of fireworks to be shot for the next few days leading up to New Year's Day. Until Daddy died, Christmas was a magical time and so much fun. He loved it as much as any child ever did! Once he died, the magic also died, and Christmas became just another day. I have always tried to make our family's Christmas just as magical as those early Christmases were for the James children. I am thankful for those good memories and glad that I have shared them with you all. That which we pass on does not die, but lives in the memories of those that have been retold the story to. Pass on your memories, Friends-Pass on your memories.

Back to the real world tomorrow, at least until we leave again Thursday. We are running tomorrow AM at 5:30 for 9. BC & I have chilled all day since I am having allergy problems and he is "just tired". We will hit the ground running tomorrow early.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Uncle Gabe & Cade






They say a picture is worth a thousand words! The favorite game this year at Thanksgiving was "sock fight". This involved throwing rolled up socks at each other. Quite entertaining and impossible to get hurt. The best of all worlds!
In honor of the official "kickoff" of the Christmas season. I thought I would share one of my memories from my childhood Christmases.
Uncle Bryant & Aunt Mattie Maude (this is correct spelling which occurred to me in the middle of the night last night) lived in a beautiful wood, brick & stone house at the top of a hill surrounded by beautiful woods and gardens. Aunt Mattie Maude was quite the gardener and the evidence of her talents even impressed a young girl! They had a wishing well! How cool is that. I loved to walk to the well and throw in a penny and make a wish. It was surrounded by beautiful gardens, but the well was the center piece. How wonderful!
The road to there house went up the hill and then wound to the right. The road lead all the way to the house and actually went through a covered portico where you let the "ladies" get out of the car. The road then wound back around the back of the top of their hill and came back out just before you went back down the hill.
I have such a distinct memory of riding up the hill to be greeted by Christmas elves! They were all through out the woods with lights on them. The elves were all working on Christmas projects and one was even swinging from a swing high in a tree. IT WAS MAGICAL! This was during the 50's and enormous Christmas displays were not common place. I felt as if this was next to being at the North Pole ourselves!
When you stepped into Aunt Mattie Maude's house, it was another magical entrance into the "World of Christmas". Every nook & cranny was decorated and very tastefully. No homemade decorations or commonness to this house-more like "Southern Living". I remember they had the first flocked tree I had ever seen. WOW-How Did They Get That Snow On There?
It was all pure fantasy, but the thing that has always stuck so prominently in my memory were the elves. How I would love to be able to copy that idea and have elves all around our home in Vienna. Some things are left better, though, as memories!
Unfortunately Uncle Bryant's & Aunt Mattie Maude's house burned to the ground a few years ago. It will totally fade away when we that have the memories are gone. That strikes me as very sad!
A long day of driving with rain every inch of the way and lots of traffic. I would hate to see the traffic tomorrow if it is worse. Wonderful trip and many "good times" as Camille would so aptly put it.

Friday, November 23, 2007


We all had a discussion about why the Thanksgiving meal is always better the 2nd & 3rd time you eat it. Well to be correct, my turkey sandwich tonight would make the 4th time, but they were all good. We were pretty much at the end of most of the left overs, but it was great each and every time. The spinach madeline, when Camille is around, doesn't usually last but about 1 1/2 serving. She is known to actually ration it out to everyone else and count how many helpings you all have had. Since she was not around this year, it actually lasted until tonight. Now we never knew that it got hotter and hotter with each reheat. Tonight's serving burned all the way down, but in a good way!

We had a wonderful day with the boys & Caroline. We started our day together with a look at the house they have a contract to buy. It is down right by the Colorado River. It is in a really quirky part of Austin and you really do not have the feeling of being in a large town. It reminds me of the quaintness of a lake community with the feeling of old and new all around you. The houses are not cookie cutter, but have a very unique feel. I think it will suit them very well and hope all works out for them.

We then drove into Austin to see Gabe's apartment. More of the feel of living in downtown and near the action. The drive from Scott's to Gabe's parallels the river and goes along the side of the hills. It reminds me of Hot Springs and is really quite beautiful.

We then watched the LSU ballgame and decorated the tree with the boys. They have a 9 ft tree that has the majority of the ornaments on the bottom 3 ft. It was great fun to watch the boys decorate. Cade especially enjoyed decorating.

We have so enjoyed our visit with the kids and it is always good to see them in their environment. The boys have done a lot of maturing in the 18 months they have been here, but they are all boy. You never knew from moment to moment if they would be best friends or in the floor trying to kill each other.

My sweet niece, Adrian, asked me about Uncle Bryant. Uncle Bryant was the president of the bank in Farmerville when we were growing up and pretty much the aristocracy in Farmerville. They had a lady that had an apartment in their house, Mary, that cooked and cleaned for them. They also had a man, William, that drove them and helped with the yard. Shades of "Driving Miss Daisy". I will probably never know the truth about what caused the rift between Daddy and his brother, Bryant. I do know that it makes me incredibly sad to know their lives ended like this. Uncle Bryant and Aunt Maddie Maude had a reversal of fortune many years after Daddy's death and both died with little or no fortune. Do you think it is harder if you once were financially well off and lose the money?

As an important side note, my brother Noel, is actually named for Uncle Bryant, Noel Bryant James, II. Obviously there was a time that the family was still close and Uncle Bryant was held in high esteem by Daddy.

They enjoyed the best of the best at one point in their lives. Uncle Bryant was a Republican delegate to the national convention and proudly displayed his picture with President Eisenhower & Vice President Nixon. They lived in a beautiful and unique home on the top of a hill. The landscaping was breathtaking as Aunt Maddie Maude was quite the gardener. For someone that was from Dubach & Farmerville, they cut quite the metropolitan figure. They both died sadly, bitter and angry for the reversal of fortune. We all tend to always blame shift when things go wrong and always look outward rather than examine ourselves for blame. HOW SAD!

I did get up and run 5 miles this morning in the COLD Texas wind. I should have run another mile, but my hands were so cold that they were extremely painful. I came back to thaw out! Home Sweet Home tomorrow!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I got a passing grade from the family on the Thanksgiving cooking! In the wonderful style of Grandparents everywhere, we managed to spoil the grand's appetites before serving the turkey. Who was to know that donuts at 9:15 would ruin your appetite? It didn't seem to phase any of us adults! We all ate our fill and then, in the true spirit of T'Day, had to have a short nap. I am now trying to stay out of the pecan pie and ice cream, so I can enjoy round 2 tonight. The second time around is always better than the first. I have to give friend, Mona, credit, the dressing and gravy-per her old family recipe, were delicious. She gave great instructions and they both were so moist and mouth watering.

I really have a difficult time remembering many big meals while growing up at Thanksgiving. I seem to remember eating at Mama Jameses once or twice, but no other huge family gatherings. We never went to The Gillespie's for any holiday, that I remember. That is so strange to me now, when I think about it. Most everyone I know talks about big family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I don't really remember many of those. Aunt Lora & Uncle Joe came at Christmas a few times, but no other family in my memory.

My Daddy and his brother, Uncle Bryant, had a huge family split at some point when I was a young girl. I think this might have pretty much put a damper on the family gatherings. From what I remember and understand, the split was over a business deal. Thus my personal philosophy today of do not go into business with your family. Somethings are much more important than money and business, and that includes family relationships. To my knowledge Uncle Bryant and Daddy never mended their quarrel, even after Daddy became terminally ill. HOW PROFOUNDLY SAD!

We have missed our friends, The Thompson's, but trust they, like us, have enjoyed the blessing of family and good times. WE ARE MAKING MEMORIES, Friends, we are making memories!

It has been a delight to watch the boys and their friends play and play. They are just like we were as kids-it doesn't matter how cold it is outside-they want to play. They come in with rosy cheeks and cold noses and hands, but not even aware that it is cold outside. How wonderful and carefree! They are constantly sniffing from the cold and wiping their noses with their hands, but do not seem to have a care in the world. AH THE GOOD LIFE!

We have talked about decorating the Christmas tree tomorrow while we are here. They seem to be very excited about Christmas and Santa. Caleb seems to think there is no Santa- HOW SAD FOR HIM! He did help me with the math at lunch to determine how many more days is was to Christmas. The Sweet Anticipation Of Youth!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


What a trip! There was bumper to bumper traffic from Ruston to Austin. We must have been one of every other American that decided to travel to celebrate Thanksgiving with family! This has become such a familiar trip after more than 6 years of traveling from Ruston to Waco and now to Austin. We actually pass through Waco on our way to Austin, which is about another 100 miles. It has all become well recognizable territory and accustomed sights.

One of the familiar sights that we pass is a Deer Sanctuary just beyond the Trinidad River. This sanctuary is the home to hundreds of deer, but you have to know where it is and keep your eyes peeled for the deer. There are literally hundreds of them! What a sight! They have very high fences all around the place, but I suspect the deer have learned how protected they are and appreciate the security. Why flee when you are well fed and away from the guns?

We also pass a compound with old commodes with plastic flowers by the gate. There are about 6 of them all lined up by the main entrance to the property. I am not quite sure what statement this is making.

You pass through miles of rolling hills with cows dotting the hillsides. You will go through 30 miles of these rolling hills and then you are in the flat lands with short trees and thick shrubbery, not unlike what you see when they show George's place in Crawford. This really reminds me of LA which will have miles of rolling hills followed by miles of bayou & swamps.

Today I saw a cow parade while traveling. How is it decided who gets to lead the parade? Why do they all follow along? Where are they going? What must the leader be thinking? It was quite a sight to see 100 cows all strolling along in a line in no particular hurry and seemingly having a destination in mind.

We are in Austin &having a good evening. Looking forward to a wonderful T'day with plenty of good food and lots of laughter. I am truly thankful for the blessing of family. We are only missing Camille & Adam who will be about 3 hours North tomorrow with The Jennings.

I ran my 13 miles this AM in the heat. 41 miles in 5 days. That is ALL I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


"T Day" is rapidly approaching and the pressure is on! For the past 25 + years we have shared Thanksgiving with our dearest friends, The Thompson's. When we started this tradition all those years ago, I never dreamed that the day would come when we didn't celebrate together. Who could have known that once our families were grown, the problem of getting everyone together would become impossible. Bobby & I have this overwhelming feeling that we need to be with our Austin family. This creates a stream of sadness in me, but a profound sense of gratitude for all of those years together. I am positive we will have a wonderful time with the boys and Caroline, but there will be a hole in the day without the Thompson & Brantly families.

Barbara and I had the Thanksgiving cooking down to a fine science. We were even able to serve the meal by noon and did not have people unhappy with a tardy meal. We were a well oiled machine, with years of practice enabling us to create quite a feast. The menu was set in stone after much trial and error and we each knew what we were responsible for. Barbara is an amazing cook and I have learned so much from her. We have had many a laugh about the day and the expectations of those with us. We have shared the meal with many friends and it has always been a treasure.

Barbara's Mother, Mammaw Brantly makes the most delicious dressing. We all love it! I tried to make the dressing one year, I think the Brantly's were out of pocket, and did I ever hear about it. My sweet daughter, Camille, and the food critic, Gabe, delight in telling me of my culinary shortcomings. Well I made dressing this morning. Camille will be in Fort Worth with Adam's sweet family, so I will be spared her remarks, but Gabe will be there with his notebook in hand. What pressure! I have my friend Mona's recipe. She swears by it! She has had lots of practice, but this is my second time to try it. Well be warned, the first one to say A WORD- gets to make the dressing next year.

Everything is frozen and ready for the trip. We only have to put together a few things Thursday morning and heat everything up. The meal is the same and most of the company is the same, BUT IT JUST WON'T BE THE SAME!

No physical activity today since I have a long run tomorrow before leaving town. I have flip flopped my long runs and will only do 13 this week. I will then have a full week to recover before next Wednesday's 20 miler. I do have a sports massage this afternoon. My legs are still pretty tender, so they may hear me moaning all over Tech!

Monday, November 19, 2007


While reading the daily newspaper, I came across a column about holiday gatherings. The paper reports that 75% of Americans have a relative that gets on their nerves. SHOCK! Now I am certain that I never get on anyone's nerves since I am the soul of flexibility and never have an agenda. What's not to like?

The column further reported that 67% find family get-togethers "sometimes very difficult" or "an obligation that is rarely enjoyable, but I do it anyway." The study also revealed that only 20 % of families avoid family gatherings all together even though a large number had ambivalent feelings about these gatherings.

Even with the difficult relatives and seeming ambivalence, the study still found that there is a desire for family connection and the subsequent endurance of the conflict. The columnist recommended that you use the brain's RAS to train yourself to ignore these problem relatives.

The RAS system acts like a filter for your brain. You tell your sub-conscious what to be listening for and it can filter all of the other goings on around it and hone in on that particular target. He gave the example of a business airport where we pretty much ignore all of the noise and goings on around us, but if our plane or our name is called, we hear it.

The recommendation was that we train our brains to ignore those things that tend to become troubling and create conflict. You tell your brain to concentrate only on those things that we enjoy and tune out the other.

Obviously, the author is living in a fairy tale land! I find it very difficult to tune out ballgames that are turned up until you have to shout to have a conversation. I find it very difficult to ignore comments that are made in a critical and demeaning tone. Most of us have a relative that at times become difficult. I find this behavior self serving and selfish bordering on hostile.

We Southerners are too polite, in most cases, to confront and meet the problem head on. We probably know this is a no win situation and the confrontation will only lead to worse problems. Coming from a long line of passive aggressive genes, I would never directly attack the problem, but more than likely would draw attention to the problem in a joking manner. After a couple of encounters with a problem relative, I just tend to withdraw and avoid all encounters.

To my knowledge, our immediate family does not have this problem. I get called on the carpet when I have over-stepped the boundaries. A close relationship allows for freedom of confrontation. When BC confronts me, I usually get mad in the beginning, but with thought most of the time agree with what he has revealed.

This Thanksgiving I am going to make a conscious effort to be aware of how I come across to my loved ones. Hopefully, we will all focus on the positives of each other and make every effort to be thankful for the bond that we will always have. I am blessed and I am thankful for my family. I thank God that I look forward to my time with my loved ones and look forward to each and every occasion for our circle to be joined again.

Enjoy your loved ones this Thanksgiving!

On a lighter note, I ran 9 miles this morning less than 40 hours after running 19. My legs were like tree trunks. It was so hard! The good thing to be gained from this is training myself to continue on-when I do not think I can go another foot. This is exactly how I will feel the last few miles of the marathon and I need to know-mentally-that I can do it. Blisters-sore legs-stiff hip- I Plod On!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I grew up on 7 acres of beautiful land on the edge of Farmerville. My Daddy loved raising many different kinds of animals including sheep during my childhood. The sheep were supposedly mine and Robbie's 4H project, but I suspect that Daddy was the one that wanted us to become shepherds. We were actually required to do all of the work, I am sure it was supposed to be character building. It was a life changing project for me since I decided I definitely did not want to be a farmer when I grew up.

We started the sheep project with several lambs that were being raised for food. This evolved into raising breeding animals including a ram and several ewes. Our first lamb was born in the dead of the winter, around February. The lamb was so cute-all legs and a long tail that would be clipped when the lamb was older. The barn was at least a football field length behind the house and required quite a trek on cold mornings. This did keep you from hearing the noise that the animals made or smelling the aroma that always accompanies a barnyard.

When the lamb was a couple of weeks old, we had a severe cold front arrive. After much discussion about what should be done to protect the lamb, a heat lamp was put in the barn over the ewe's pen. Sometime during the night the cord overheated and caught the hay on fire. I do not remember why the entire barn did not burn down, but I do remember exactly what happened. That ewe backed her baby back into the corner of the pen and stood between it and the fire. Her entire side was burned with the wool being burned completely off and the flesh looking like cooked meat. She might could have jumped the fence, but chose to protect her offspring and take the pain herself. The lamb was not completely spared from the heat of the fire and also had burns on its legs, but this was not life threatening. While still suffering the pain associated with the wounds, the lamb's life was spared, but the ewe lost her life in the process.

This reminds me of what Jesus has done for us. Though we are not spared the pain of the world around us, Jesus has taken the brunt of the punishment that we truly deserve. The fallen world would have us in the heat of the flame and suffering the pain of the burn it produces. He has stood between us and that flame and suffered the burn for us. He is truly "Our Good Shepherd."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

19 DOWN-7.2 TO GO!

If you say it fast, "I ran 19 miles," it does not sound like much, but just try it! Three hours and 20 minutes later-FINISH-THE END-Etc. Etc. Whose bright idea was this marathon? I could spend hours telling you what a mental deal it is to run these long distances, but my legs might argue that point at this time. They are definitely pretty tired and I have them propped up and resting following a long shower and then a long soak in the tub. The mental part involves fueling your body for the effort. I got up and ate a banana and muffin at 4:30. Then I had to time my goo just right. I tried a new liquid energy drink that was like having a 2 ounce shot of concentrated kool aid. YUMMY! I am not sure if all of this stuff works or if it is all in my head, but whatever! Three more step ups-but trying to figure out my schedule during the next two weeks of traveling is a challenge. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Our evening at the Boersma's was great. We had the leaves up and the yard spic and span in about a hour. With lots of hands, rakes, and blowers, it does not take that long, even with a big yard. We all enjoyed burgers and laughs following the yard work. You need to ask Debbie about the black helicopters as she had us all going on that story. BE VERY CAREFUL what you look up on the internet! Something about a government conspiracy-that is all I have to say for fear of drawing attention to myself.

Here is the next chapter of Louise's story. I have tried a different voice for this story-just experimenting with styles.

Maybe having Ora in our home wouldn’t be so bad. She was always sweet to me and Aunt Lora kept close watch over what was going on in our family. Just as I thought this might be alright, there was another change coming. Daddy told me that We would be having a baby. What did he mean, We? It seemed to me that he and Ora were having a baby and I was not sure at all what that would do to my place in my Daddy’s life. A Baby! Ora just got moved in and settled and our family was beginning to settle into a routine and then this! How could they?

Baby Bruce was born that year and I was almost 11 years old. He was a cute baby and they named him after Daddy. Now Daddy had that boy that he had always wanted and to top that off he had Daddy’s name. I didn’t stand a chance. Aunt Lora had me come spend the summer with her and Uncle Joe in south Texas. She made it her business to make sure that I was doing well in school, but she was mostly concerned that I was learning all of the social graces young ladies needed. We were always dressed like ladies, we always acted like ladies, and we most certainly spoke like ladies. Not much time for playing and certainly no getting dirty during my summer holiday. Uncle Joe was so sweet to me, but he dared never question anything Lora said. For a woman that wore a skirt, she definitely wore the pants in that family.

During the time that Bruce was a toddler, I became sick. I was having girl problems and the doctor said the best thing would be for me to stay in bed until the problems were better. My Aunts once again came to the rescue and made sure I always had books to read. Everyone else in the house was busy, with Daddy gone to work everyday and Ora was taking care of Bruce all day. I was in my room with my books and oh, how I loved those books. I could escape to wherever the characters in the book where and my mind would wander and I would imagine myself the heroine. It was a lonely time, but everyone was concerned and tried to find time to help entertain me. Those days of forced rest were probably were I got my love for napping. A year passed before the doctor said I could resume my normal activity. It was a time of limited medicine and minimal knowledge about women and their bodies, so time was the only medicine. Daddy was concerned and very sweet during this entire year and Ora, though busy with Bruce, did her best to tend to me. It was really alright with me to be confined that year, since everyone was once again concerned and paying attention to me. I had missed being the center of the household and glad when once again all eyes were upon me. Poor Little Brucey, he was the one that probably came up short, but after all, I was sick!

Following a year of being in the bed, it was quite an adjustment to go back to school. I did love my friends and think they might have been a little jealous of me. I was really cute and had wonderful manners that all of the adults loved. Could I help it if all of my teachers thought I was “the perfect child”? My Aunts had spent hours teaching me how to speak with adults and say and act in the perfect manner that every adult loved. I did have a few special friends, those that my Daddy and Aunts approved of. After all you had to be careful who you were spending time with, you might pick up some bad habits or mannerisms.

Daddy decided I was old enough to begin helping in the drug store about the time I started high school. During the years that I went to high school, you graduated after the eleventh grade. I actually loved working in the store. For one thing, I was with my sweet Daddy all day long. Now I suspect this was a way for him to keep his eye on me, but I didn’t mind since adults were always bragging on me and my manners to him while we were at the store. I discovered that there were quite a few good looking fellows around the area about that time and Daddy did not approve of that, one bit.

When I thought I was surely old enough to begin dating, Daddy did not agree. I was so unhappy with his obvious unfaltering stance on no dating. I kept on and on arguing that everyone else was dating and I actually had quite a few fellows asking me out. He finally relented and agreed to allow me to date-with one provision. I had to take Ora on all of my dates with me. OH BROTHER! I could not believe it! Now Ora was not really old-but she certainly was older than my friends and me. Imagine my surprise when Ora turned out to be great when we were out. She knew just the time to turn her eye and was always a lot of fun to be with. She probably enjoyed getting out of the house and having some fun. Daddy was not much on going anywhere, except fox hunting. A girl needed more of a social life than that, even if she were married and had a child. Brucey would either stay with Ora’s sisters or he would go with Daddy fox hunting. We always had a great time and I was relieved to find that Ora was so sweet about sticking up for me with Daddy. We all wanted to keep Daddy happy, because he was such a sweet man. Narrow minded, but still sweet.

I started dating Dan when we were in our last year of high school. We were so much in love and wanted to get married. I could not see anything wrong with marrying once we were out of high school and he was the man of my dreams. Dan came from a prominent family in Overton. His Daddy was the owner of the automobile dealership and they were well thought of by everyone in town. When Dan went to his parents with the plan for us to get married and him work for his father, they were very upset. They had plans for Dan to go to college, which most people did not even think about in those days. They were adamant about college and insisted upon Dan breaking it off with me. I was heart broken! How could they? I had my whole life planned out-to live happily ever after in the same town with Daddy and my family and they just stopped it. Why didn’t they like me? What had I done? They told my Daddy, “For right now just keep her away.” Once again, “Keep her away” echoed in my dreams and filled my thoughts day after day.

Friday, November 16, 2007


As Sandra, Babs & I were traveling to Arcadia yesterday, we discussed why my running has taken a turn for the worse. I was feeling so great for a while, but now find myself back in the same old rut. One of the things that I had changed lately was I gave up on the HUGE bottle of Omega 3's with the wonderful Fishy aftertaste. I decided one day that I could not go there one more day. It is not fun having indigestion and especially tasting fish most of the day and part of the night. Sandra assured me that this could be the problem, so back I go to the Old Wheat Barn. This really nice young lady helped me. She was very knowledgeable and convinced me she had the answer. She sold me a bottle of Omegas that are coated with some kind of peppermint thing and should not digest in your stomach, but pass through to you intestines to be absorbed. RIGHT! To begin with the tablets are about the size of a quarter. I haven't seen anything this size since pre-natal vitamins, or the last time I had the upset stomach and you didn't have to worry about swallowing those. I am a trooper though and can throw almost anything down my throat. The problem is that about 20 minutes later the indigestion starts. Now I am not tasting the fish, since you taste the peppermint coating instead, but I am not a huge fan of indigestion. I once had indigestion every time I ate. NO FUN! After I had my gall bladder out, I pretty much quit ever having it, only on the rare occasion that I ate something really spicy or fried. Since I have to take not 1, but 2 of these horsepills everyday, that means pretty much an entire day of burping and discomfort. All I have to say is that my running better pick up and I mean quick or another bottle will be going to the trash.

The Shreveport paper headlines were all about Hannah Montanna coming to town for a concert. I looked at the pictures of the fans and saw a bunch of little girls that should be playing with their dolls or climbing into the tree house, or riding their bikes. Not acting like a bunch of teenagers crazed by their idol. Why did this happen? Camille was outside playing with her animals, jumping on the trampoline, etc. etc at that age. I do not remember her going to any concerts, on a school night, and emulating every move of a too old and too promiscuous singer. Did all these girls' mothers not learn anything from the Britanny Saga. Surely they do not want their sweet daughters to grow up and act like that out of control, sad and mis-directed fallen star. I am glad Camille is grown and that I am not having to face today's societal problems in raising children today.

Our small group is going to the Boersma abode tonight for a little yard work and then a great hamburger. Looking forward to being with all these dear friends.

Today is rest day and tomorrow is the 19 mile run and that's all I have to say about that!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Where the drive should be.

On the right, house and yard covered with leaves.

Birthday Girl on the right front.

Momma had Power! For a little 5'2", 90 pound woman, she could strike fear whne she wanted. I distinctly remember those words, "Get in here RIGHT NOW and clean up this mess!" Without hesitation, you scurried off to do just that. Now Momma could whup good, but that wasn't the only thing you feared-YOU DIDN'T WANT HER TO GET STARTED on a tangent. You paid the price when she was unhappy. When Momma wasn't happy-nobody was happy.

Mother Nature came through Louisiana again yesterday and returned Fall to us. Thank you-Mother Nature! While she was here, she decided to do a little cleaning. She brought the North Wind to blow all of the dead leaves out of the trees. It literally rained all colors of leaves all day and most of the night. As you will note in the picture, every square inch of the yard and drive are covered with this. Oh,Mother Nature, you left a mess when you came through yesterday. GET BACK HERE AND CLEAN UP THIS MESS! Something tells me that I am blowing in the wind with that statement-literally. BC & I will be out there trying to reclaim the woods, but I think we will enjoy doing, just that. When looking around you notice that most of the leaves that had already turned are now on the ground. You also notice there is a whole other group, that are still green. It is usually January before I have gotten all of the leaves up, and even then they still blow out of the woods and back into the yard. I STILL LOVE FALL! When running through Tech yesterday, we saw an entire group of trees that would take your breathe. Babs told me they were Sugar Maples and were "October Glory". How appropriate-since all I could think of when I spotted them was Glory.

We went to Arcadia for lunch today with friend,Mona. Thanksgiving day is her birthday, so we celebrated today. We had a great time and a great lunch. After my 5th or 6th piece of hot water cornbread, I yelled UNCLE.

We walked 5 miles today,a proverbial WALK IN THE PARK!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


When Mr. C happened to find the UPS delivery yesterday before I had time to get it in and put it away, he told me I needed to make a picture for my blog of all the running shoes I had. I am not sure how interested anyone is in the fact that I currently have 7 pairs of running shoes, but let me explain. The pair on the right with the red orthotics are the pair I started the marathon training with. Nine weeks later I have more than the usual 300 miles I put on a shoe before getting a replacement. They all look fine, but the cushioning wears out before the outside does. I usually do a better job of washing them and recycling them through the Salvation Army, but have gotten behind on that chore. The oddest thing about this collection is that they are all Mizuno brand and the same style of shoe-just some are a later version. The two pair with the yellow insert and the current running ones are all the same exact shoe. If it works-don't mess with it! I have actually toyed with the idea of trying another shoe, but get a little paranoid about injuries, etc. when I actually place the order. You think this is an inexpensive sport until you find out that the good shoes all run around $100. The better the shoe, the more expensive, as my physical therapist explained to me when ordering orthotics. Our entire group has actually been to Baton Rouge to a physical therapist that specializes in recommending shoe types for runners. She analyzes your run, your mechanical makeup, your tread, etc to tell you what kind of shoes to wear. The shoe companies love us runners! There is an entire catalog of running gear and shoes just for runners. All the clothes, shoes, and gadgets we could ever possibly want or need.

We ran our first 9 mile mid-week run this AM and then walked 4 1/2. I was in better shape today than Monday, but still not back to speed. I am trying to analyze what could be the cause, and hopefully will get back on track. I suspect fuel is part of the problem and hot-humid weather the other, but will experiment with that.

I spent several hours today trying to learn how to down-load music and then burn a CD. After I finally figured out what I was doing wrong, I felt stupid. I needed the 7 year old Grand here to help me!

Two cute things that the Grands told me this weekend-
The 7 year old told me that the stores were not nice teasing everyone by showing them all of the toys they had at Christmas knowing they could not get them all. I believe he currently has 48 items on his list. Something tells me that Santa will probably have to cut that list down.

The 5 year old was eating a peanut butter sandwich that I had made and he started telling me he did not like the little things in it. Thinking he was talking about peanut chunks, I showed him the creamy that his sandwich was made from and the chunky which I had not used. He kept insisting that he didn't like the chunky things. After about 30 minutes, I finally figure out there were small seeds on top of the bread. OH Those Chunky Things!

We went by to see The Boersma's last night. I always get a kick out of going over there. Helen was on Dale's case since he did not get out of the bed until 3 PM, I then gave him a talk about maintaining his level of fitness. Dr. Dale then proceeded to try to defend himself-Bobby looked at him and said-"You might as well give up-They always get their way." WISE HUSBAND!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


While the kids were here this weekend, we started playing with our electronic scale. The scale is on the floor by the kitchen table, which is definitely a little SICK. Bobby manages to completely ignore the fact that it is behind his chair, but I find myself going through periods of getting on it daily-which is completely stupid. Actually I am weighing more now trying to make sure I am eating enough calories to sustain my level of activity.

Gabe misunderstood how to set it up for each individual and that caused quite a laugh. A one point it has an A Line shaped person and a straight up and down person-he thought that meant your body type and not your sex, so he puts himself down as an a line-or woman. This caused his body fat % to be in the high 30's. We all got a great laugh out of that and he was so flustered. When we discovered the mistake and he reset the scale to a male, his body fat was in the 20's. This set me to thinking about that. The only thing he changed on the set up was the sex and his body fat goes down more than 10 points. THIS IS NOT FAIR! Now I know that God with his weird sense of humor decided that we women must have body fat for our bodies to act correctly. Girls that are anorexic or bulimic and have really low body fat %'s are not able to function as all of us girls should. Before they ultimately eat up and destroy their internal organs, they become infertile and are more on the level of young girls.

Now I have thought this through and since I am the age that I am, I should be able to put down I am a man. After all the hormones are not functioning anymore. Why should I be penalized 10 points just because I am a girl? I promise you, without a doubt, I am in much better physical condition than Gabe, since he does not exercise at all. HOW IN THE WORLD COULD HIS BODY FAT % POSSIBLY BE ANYWHERE CLOSE TO MINE? This is a not so funny quirk of nature. I wonder, as women are now much more physically fit than they ever were, if this % will begin to close the gap?

I've spent my life being at the wrong end of each and every trend. When I was a teenager, the in thing was for girls to be soft and curvy. I was a reed with bones protruding everywhere. Now that the trend is more for thin, I find myself thin in the wrong places, and soft and mushy in the wrong places. I am definitely getting thinner, thinner eyebrows, eyelashes, skin, and hair and I have nice flat places also, but it is my butt not my abs that are flat. I just cannot seem to get my act together.

I leave you with this one fact-there is one really good thing about fat-it pushes those wrinkles out. Unfortunately I missed the boat with that too, the fat places are not visible and the thin-my face, the top of my legs, my neck, and the top of my arms are all thin and the skin sags like the skin on a chicken. That is why I say I have chicken skin!

We walked 5 this AM and I lifted. Feel much better today, but tomorrow's run will tell the tale of recovery.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pictures from an active and fun weekend. Two boys full of fun and life. As expected, a few tears, but mostly plenty of laughter. They both hung on Poppa Bob the entire weekend and loved being goosed and tickled. Looking forward to our trip to Austin in a couple of weeks to spend a few more days with them on their turf.

On another note-

OH, MOTHER NATURE, somebody stole Fall from Louisiana. Maybe Mother Nature is the culprit, but all I know is that I look out the window and it is literally raining leaves, but the temperature is more like early summer. It was hot and humid this AM when we ran and I suffered through the entire ordeal. I am not sure if I was tired from the weekend or what, but today was not a good day since I walked every hill. Hopefully, I will recover since I have 2 weeks of hard runs on tap.

Mona came and ran with us this morning which is a rare treat since she only runs with us on the weekends and does her mid week runs in Arcadia, where she is now working. The amazing thing about Mona is that she can talk the entire time she is running. I am gasping for air and trying to push enough into my lungs to sustain me, and she is carrying on a monologue about everything that has happened in her life since I last saw her. If she ever used that air to fire those legs off she would be going off and leaving all of us.

One more time, would the person that left the area with our Fall please bring it back. There will be no questions asked no reprisals, JUST PLEASE RETURN IT TO US!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


All of the male Convilles have gone to see Nannie & Pappaw in Arcadia, so for a few brief moments all is quiet and still. What a contrast to when they are all here! After many years of being two of us in the house, we forget the level of activity and noise a house full brings. From the moment they get up in the morning until around 9 PM, there is nonstop activity and the noise that goes with that activity. BC can actually grab a nap, even with all of that going on in the same room with him, but I am high maintenance when it comes to sleeping. Dark, quiet, one certain pillow, etc. etc. What a curse!

They had a beautiful memorial service for Caroline's Daddy at the Episcopal church yesterday. There is such a blessing when the services from the Book of Common Prayer are used and the comfort of the scripture and old, old prayers are read . It was a sweet service and a wonderful memorial to my sweet grands' Hymie. He loved those boys and was a great grandfather to them. I plan to always remind them of that very fact. I always told Jim (or Hymie as they called him) that it was not a competition, the more love we gave them there better. On a lighter note, I did share with the rest of the family, later, that from now on,since he was not here to respond, we could always blame Jim's genes when the boys are acting up. Poor Jim, so unfair to blame his side for all of the "unlovely traits", but better his crazy family, than my crazy family.

We have made lots of pics, but the camera is in Arcadia, so I will share tomorrow or whenever I manage to recover. Seriously, I have loved having them here and they are sweet boys.

No physical activity this weekend, since I ran Friday in anticipation of this weekend, but the real world shows up again tomorrow!

Saturday, November 10, 2007



Louise’s earliest memories were all centered around the family home of The Gillespie’s. The three Aunts, her Grandfather, and her Daddy all lived together in the large old rambling wooden house. There was a long porch on the front with rockers and cane-bottom chairs lining the floor between the wooden support pillars. The memories include sitting outside in the early evening enjoying the shade and escaping the heat of the house. Hours spent with family and friends discussing the news of the community and passing the time in pleasant communion.

Louise had no memory of her Mother, but only knew her by what she had been told by her Father and her Aunts from both her Father’s family and her Mother’s. She knew her to be a beautiful and gentle Angel. Her memory was a living presence in the house and her Daddy only spoke of her Mother with a quiet, but reverent tone. She was so proud to have such a Mother, but found it strange that she had no memory of the woman held in such high esteem by so many. One of the very effective discipline tools used by her Daddy was to remind Louise of the Saintly Mother that surely she would want to please and emulate.

Louise’s day to day life was shaped by the three Aunts and her Daddy. Daddy was gone to the Drug Store everyday except for Sunday and was often gone before Louise woke up until late in the evening. She missed her Father, but was left with instructions to obey the Aunts and follow their directions while he was gone. The Aunts all worked outside the home, which was very unusual for those days, but Grandfather not only approved, but also encouraged them to work in these female professions. He had encouraged their education and this education and their working made them intimidating to all of the local young men. The house full of strong willed and domineering women could intimidate even the men in their own family, much less any potential suitor.

While the Aunts were working, Louise was left in the care of the long time family cook and housekeeper, Lilly. Louise’s earliest memory of the household included Lilly. Lilly was an excellent “country cook” that kept wonderful meals on the table and kept the household running in good order. Lily had a sixth sense of anticipating what the family would need and had their needs met before they realized they had the need. Lilly treated Louise with tender kindness since she felt sorry for the motherless child. Louise had only to ask Lilly for anything and it was immediately answered, if it were in Lilly’s power. Life was sweet, but lonely without the nurturing Mother all of us need. Lilly loved Louise, but she had her own children to nurture and mother, while holding down a full time job. There was only so much Lilly to spread around and with a house to run and meals to prepare, there was not much time to hug or cuddle Little Louise.

Louise was a beautiful and smart little girl. She was kept neat as a pin and always the consummate “young lady.” She was eager to please, but found herself the constant center of attention in the household. The family expressed their delight in her beauty and her good manners and she came to relish and savor the praise so lavishly poured on her. Years passed with Louise being the center of not only the household, but also the center of each and everyone’s life within the household. The devotion of the Gillespie’s was a treasure that Louise came to expect as a normal part of her everyday life, but change would surely come.

Aunt Zula was the oldest of the sisters, and the sister with the meekest personality. Zula helped Will A at the Drug Store, but she was also in charge of the operation of the household. Aunt Zula could be relied upon to offer plenty of hugs and kisses and was the nearest thing to a “Real Mother” that Louise had. Zula’s true aspiration in life was to be a wife and a mother. Being the eldest, she was also the first of the Aunts to leave the family home and marry her beau, Tom. Louise missed the day to day mothering that Zula had given and in some ways felt like she had once again lost her Mother, but the other two Aunts doubled their efforts to meet the void in Louise’s life.

Aunt Kate was the middle child and in the usual middle child role, the peacemaker in the family. Kate felt the responsibility of soothing hurt feelings or calming tempers when emotions were high. She was Louise’s protector and “watched” over her when the rules of the house seemed a bit harsh. Kate worked for a local attorney and spent the remainder of her life in the business world. A kind and genteel “Lady” Kate would always have a special place in her heart for Louise, but just as Zula had married and left the family home, so did Kate. Louise was left with Aunt Lora, and clung tenaciously to the remaining female household member.

Aunt Lora was the teacher in the family. She was somewhat distant and emotionally removed, but loved Louise in her own way. Ever the “Proper Lady” she felt responsible for not only Louise’s traditional education, but also her education in the “social graces”. Many of the local townspeople felt that Lora put on “Airs”, but no one ever questioned her dedication to Louise and the family. Lora was the last to marry and only after Will A had announced his plans to marry Ora. Knowing that she had lost her “ultimate authority” as far as Louise was concerned, it was time for her to also marry and leave Louise. Louise, in the deep recesses of her soul, felt abandonment once again. Why did all of the important women in her life always leave her?

Will A.’s grief abated with time and after many years, he began to court one of the local ladies, Ora Warren. Ora was another tiny beautiful whisp of a woman that had caught Will A’s eye at the local bank where she was employed as a teller. Ora had a soft-whispery voice, a beautiful smile and a twinkle in her eye. She was quite a bit younger than Will A., but he was once again smitten with a lady. The aching loneliness of all the years had been filled with his love and admiration for Ora. In the back of his mind, he also thought Ora would make the maturing Louise a wonderful Mother during these years when a woman’s influence and presence were so important. Ora was delighted with his proposal and they were married in her parent’s parlor before family and friends.
At the tender age of ten, Louise was unsure and confused when her Daddy announced his marriage. It wasn’t that she didn’t like Ora, but she had grown to like her and her Daddy being in the house alone. The Aunts were all married and in their own homes and though still in her life, not in the intense day to day manner as before their marriage. It seemed that she had lost her Mother, lost her Aunts, and now felt as if she were losing her Daddy. Thinking she had been abandoned, yet again, Louise-the once center of her Daddy’s world, was re-living the sadness of her early years. The desperate and over-whelming grief enveloped Louise’s very being with the subconscious echo of her Daddy’s long ago request whispering in her very soul, “For Today, Keep Her Away.”

Friday, November 9, 2007


The Grands are coming, The Grands are coming!!
Our sweet grandsons, Caleb & Cade are in route to Ruston as I write. Oh yeah, their parents and Uncle Gabe are also coming. We are so excited to see our favorite grands, but let me tell you they are all boy! I always have all these activities, games, etc planned for when they come and they quickly tell me they just want to be boys and play. Their favorite activity involves rough housing, tickling, and somebody ending up crying. Our world of peace and tranquility will be abruptly turned on its ear. They will have a weekend of doing just what they want, when they want, eating what they want, when they want, and pretty much ruling the roost at Poppa Bob & Momma Lulu's house. Pictures will be posted next week of our wild and fun weekend.

We ran our 18.2 miles this morning. It was warm and humid, but it could very well be the same weather in Houston in January since it is so near to the Gulf. It was long, it was hard, and I don't know how I can run another foot, much less 8 more miles. Somewhere after mile 14, my legs begin to tire and my pace slows, but so far I have a reasonable pace-for an old lady.

Our long time friend, Cynthia and our college adoptees, Meriedth & Gracie came for supper last night. We enjoyed catching up and hearing all of the drama and adventures of our young friends. This week one had broken up with a boyfriend and the other has started dating a boy. So much drama-we don't realize how dull our lives are until we listen to the goings on in their lives. Cynthia currently has 3 jobs, Grace has 2 jobs and is an engineering student, Meriedth is a double major including graphic design which requires lots of projects and is on the staff of the school paper. THEY LEAD VERY BUSY LIVES!

I am off to prepare for our family, but if you hear a loud noise or disturbance out North of Ruston ,in Vienna, it's just us and the kids-enjoying the weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Our friends, Helen & Dale brought a proclamation that had been given to Dr. Dale by the local representatives and senator honoring him for his years of service and the path he had walked before all of us. Helen seemed surprised and caught unawares. As I quickly told her, what goes around comes around. When you have spent your life living the example of your King, Jesus, and treating everyone you come into contact with in a kind and interested manner your reputation spreads. Whatever accolades this humble man receives, they could never really express our admiration and love for him.

My earliest memory of Dale involves his quick wit and that weird sense of humor. My Mother would not allow me to have my ears pierced-some story about being a lady -yadda, yadda, yadda. After marrying, having a baby, and holding down a full time job, I decided that I would defy her-knowing how unhappy she would be- and get those ears pierced. For some strange reason, I do not remember why, I went to Dr. Boersma to get that done. I rationalized that this would be sterile and safe and better than the department store. I believe I had only seen Dr. Boersma when he came into the bank where I worked. I had not really had any- one on one- contact, so I don't know-or maybe I do- what led me to the Bonner Street Office. I am definitely nervous, when the appointment finally came around, as I have a long and BAD relationship with needles. Dr. B walks in the room and asked what I was there for. When I told him my mission, I am sure with a nervous but resolved voice, he disarms me as only Dale can do. With a twinkle in his eye, he asked me, "Would you like me to pierce your nose too, while I am at it?" He did the deed and I have always loved my pierced ears, although (not that I am OCD) one appears to be a little higher than the other. Let me assure you, it is not big enough of a problem to start over again.

My next experience with the Boersma's was when BC & I were working with an evangelistic crusade. I mostly remember Helen, since she was the card then that she is today. That particular story, (get BC to tell you) was after Gabe was born and before Camille, so at least 25 years ago. That was a brief but memorable encounter and we love to tell the story, until this day.

For some reason, that I don't really remember, Dr. Dale became one of my clients when I had my CPA practice. I really had more contact with his office manager, whom I grew to love and enjoy as we both tried to keep Dale straight. I would only see Dale once or twice a year, but he knew how to push my button. My staff would begin calling early in tax season to get him to bring his information in, but over the years he would drag it in later and later. IMAGINE, he thought tending to all of those sick people was more important than getting his tax info together. It's a good thing that I finally retired, since at the very end of our professional relationship he was dragging his little pile of stuff into my office mid-afternoon on April 15th. By this time of the year, I was never in a very good frame of mind, but he never acted like my curtness or lack of patience was insulting. I am thankful he forgave my lack of manners and borderline rudeness.

We then became connected with our small group at Christ Community Church. What a man of faith! When Dale added something to the group discussion, he would challenge you to think and prod you into study. I did not always agree with his theology, but I admired his conviction and his research that helped form his opinions. The very soul of what our faith is to be-he urged us to be "the church" to our fellow believers. If we found a project, no matter if it was mowing the church yard, or what, he was there and worked just as hard as anyone else there. Quick witted and fun loving, he led the group on many a silly venture. He always has this little laugh, that is like his voice, a little wispy, but THE TWINKLE in those eyes.

Dr. Dale is walking a very different path now. ALS has not been kind to him and it is difficult to see what he is enduring. Dale has not questioned God, but has embraced the journey. It must be difficult to accept help for such a strong and independent man. The simplest task of breathing, requires the help of the machine that is by his side at all times now. He has allowed the ministry of his faithful companion, Helen, with thanks and no complaints. I am sure if I were in this same situation, I would have hibernated in my home, but Dale has fought to keep mobile and continued to attend church, group, and an occasional outing.

This is a very inadequate attempt to tell you what a hero Dale Boersma is. Not only a hero in fighting this disease, but most important a Hero of the Faith. I am so blessed that God placed our families together and thank God for our friendship. As I said earlier there are no accolades that could possibly ever praise this humble and faithful servant enough.

I leave you with this: If I could give him part of the muscles in my diaphragm and it meant a loss of physical activity, I would jump at the chance. The only thing is I would have to get in a long line of friends and family, who would also jump at the chance to do anything to relieve him of this journey of illness. As I told Helen, "What goes around, comes around," and in this case the love and friendship of a wonderful man would inspire scores of us to do anything we could to relieve his sufferings and restore his physical well-being. Dale has truly, "Fought the good fight," and many of us plan to be warriors by his side to continue the battle. God has richly blessed us all by placing these two wonderful friends in our lives and we will walk the path with them, not matter where it takes us. I thank God daily for Dale & Helen, but also pray for that miracle we all want and, No Dale, it is not a miracle of growing grass on your arm or another leg, but the miracle of restored physical health to match that glow of spiritual health that shines from your very being. Know this-I would help, if only I could help!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


It was cold, by Louisiana standards, when we started our run at 5:30. My car showed 32 deg in "Downtown Vienna", but 34 by the time I got to town. I AM NOT COMPLAINING! This is so much better than the hot & humid days we endured for MONTHS! The cold helps you get started in an effort to warm up and deciding what to wear is a dilemma! Today I layered with a short sleeve dri-fit shirt under a long sleeve dri-fit. No need for another layer until it gets quite a bit colder. I did wear long pants-1 layer only- but the old legs warm up and stay warm. I also wore my new "light" gloves. Just enough to keep the cold out after the first mile or so, but not hot-like so many gloves are. The final necessity is the cotton in the ears-sort of looks like a cotton boll growing from your ear.

I am thankful for the dark while we are running, since I am sure I am a REALLY LOVELY sight! The cold tends to make my nose run, not a problem, unless my face becomes numb and I do not realize that it is running down my face. ATTRACTIVE! I also suffer from a genetic malady of roscea. I can pretty much keep it under control, except when I am out in the really cold and then it looks like Rudolph running down the road. All my problems seem to revolve around my nose, but you know we James'es are well known for our big noses. That will make a good subject for another post.

I ran 8 this morning and then walked 5. I did not get any exercise, except yard-work, yesterday, so I had to push myself today to get those miles in. It is so difficult at this stage of the training to keep yourself motivated. We have lots of REALLY hard runs left and staying on task is not easy. The long runs seem totally overwhelming and your mind tells you that you cannot do this. IT IS SO MENTAL and getting that mind right is the hardest part of the training!

Poor Camille & Adam still have no lights. I thought losing the power with snow only happened in the South. I was totally shocked to find out that they have these same problems. She is undaunted though and loving the snow. Only when you are young, would all of that sound like an adventure.

My friend, Barbara, told me I should take a writing course. I told her that I did not have time for that. She reminded me that I would not be able to run like I am now all of my life and maybe I should have another obsession in the wings waiting. Like does she think I am OCD or something??

I have a draft of the next episode in Louise's life, but am not very happy with it. Hopefully I will have it ready soon and you will be my guinea pigs again.

Have a busy end of week with our small group meeting with us tonight, our college adoptees and our friend, Cynthia, coming for dinner tomorrow night, and the kids and grands coming for the weekend. They are having a memorial service for Caroline's father here Saturday, so we have the thrill of a long overdue visit. We will have a wild and fun weekend with those boys!