Sunday, May 24, 2009

Something Better Than We Planned For...

"When you least expect it, something great might come along. Something better then you even planned for."

That's a quote from my pal Suzanne Tanner's facebook page. And it's true. We experienced that time and time again the past few days.

On Friday afternoon, my friend Vidal sent out a (desperate?) request to several folks, saying that her husband, David, needed some paintings driven to New Orleans, from the Bryant Gallery in Jackson to the Bryant Gallery in the French Quarter. I asked Nicole if she was game, she jumped at the chance to get out of her purple room, and I responded that we'd do it! I invited Susan Luke to come along--we needed time together as she's moving to Cincinnati in June (another story for another day). I arranged for Roxie to be boarded, and come Saturday morning, the three of us were New Orleans bound!

We expected rain the entire time, but after driving down I-55 a ways, the rain stopped, the skies cleared and New Orleans greeted us with the most beautiful weather! We delivered the paintings, then took our things up the the apartment they provided for us. After a little wind-down from the drive, we got ready for dinner--at a most spectacular restaurant on Bienville, G.W. Fins. I'd never heard of it, but was delightfully surprised. Excellent food, superior service and wonderful company and conversation. We sat at the "see and be seen" table, which was perfectly angled to see both the restaurant (which was beautiful) and out the window, which provided some very entertaining sights. It was, after all, New Orleans!

After dinner, the three of us walked around the French Quarter, taking an obligatory stroll down Bourbon Street. It was so uplifting to see the Quarter full of people. Restaurants were hopping and folks were everywhere. Katrina may have kicked New Orleans in the butt, but she left the Quarter alone. Nicole walked between Susan and I, with us all hooked arm-in-arm. We laughed, because it looked like Nicole was a drunk, having trouble maneuvering after drinking too many hurricanes! But that wasn't the case, and actually, she was walking very well, keeping up with our stride step for step.

This morning we woke up and went to "church." The Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues is the place to be on Sunday mornings! We enjoyed the most delicious food--Nicole and I split a made-to-order omelette with spinach, crawfish, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and cheese. It was F-I-N-E! We also enjoyed grits and grillades, pecan-encrusted catfish, smoked gouda cheese grits, boiled shrimp, and soooo much more. We were so full that we skipped the dessert table--and they had bread pudding!!

The music had us up on our feet--Jo Cool opened the show with a song and served as the M.C. The Zion Harmonizers sang favorites like "This Little Light of Mine," and "Amazing Grace." During the show, the nicest lady sat at our table. She enlightened us on the Zion Harmonizers, declaring them to be the best gospel group in town. She said they traveled all over the world. After the show, she asked if we liked flowers. We told her we did, and she invited us to come upstairs with her, because she lived above the House of Blues and she wanted to show us something. We waited until the place cleared out after the show, then she led us to an elevator and up to the most spectacular rooftop terrace filled with pot after pot of flowering plants. The flowers were as breathtaking as the view of the city, the Mississippi River and St. Louis Cathedral. We had a great visit with her in her lovely apartment and after exchanging cards, we promised to stay in touch.

"When you least expect it, something great may come along. Something better than you even planned for."

The moral of this story is to let yourself be open to something wonderful that just may happen when you least expect it. Friday at 4pm, we had no plans for the weekend. Friday at 4:30pm, we had a trip to New Orleans planned. On Sunday afternoon, we were in a beautiful apartment above the House of Blues, seeing fascinating things and hearing fascinating stories from someone who has lived--and is still living--a magical life. it was certainly something better than we even planned for, and we are all grateful for it.

On the way home, we stopped in to see my mom, who is still gaining strength at Wisteria Gardens. We took her a Mardi Gras mask to cheer her up. Her blood sugar was extremely high, so that has everyone concerned. My sister, Sarah, was there, along with my dad. We'll check on her again tomorrow and pray that there is some improvement.

And tonight we mourn the passing of Larry's sweet Aunt Lilia. Ironically, I first met her in New Orleans, when she came to the U.S. from Venezuela with Larry's mom for a visit. It was in 1980, before we got married, and I was very nervous about meeting Larry's family. Lilia was so sweet to me, even though we had a bit of a language barrier. I remember we all spent a wonderful time exploring the French Quarter and staying in the Monteleon Hotel. God bless you, Lilia. Please give Isabel a big hug and kiss for us when you see her in Heaven.

Blessings to all who read this!

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