Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stopping to Smell the Roses

How crazy are we? Rushing all the time to do what? Before Nicole's accident, Larry and I barely saw each other. We were always working, working, working...then we came to a screeching halt. We sat for a month in the neuro-ICU of New York Presbyterian Hospital, focused only on Nicole...taking one day at a time. Often, it was one moment at a time.

So now, Nicole is back on her feet--a miracle! And she is walking, albeit slowly. Which makes everyone around her have to slow down. And in doing we so, we are forced to see things around us we normally didn't see, because we were much too busy, rushing, rushing, rushing. And, as Martha Stewart says, it's a good thing. We are stopping to smell the roses, and man-oh-man, do the roses ever smell sweet!

This photo is of Nicole on the rooftop terrace garden above The House of Blues in New Orleans, where our new friend, Mrs. T, invited us up to visit last Sunday. Because we were slow going into the House of Blues, Mrs. T noticed us. And because we were slow leaving (we couldn't join in the "second line" of napkin-waving folks parading out of the restaurant), she asked us if we'd like to come see her flowers upstairs. It was because we were slow that we had the opportunity of a lifetime to see something magical and to visit with such a fascinating lady.

Nic had a couple of really great workouts with her personal trainer, Eclecius, on Tuesday, then a really good workout in therapy yesterday. She said the muscles in her legs were like jell-o, but she loved it, because she said she really felt the muscles and she knew the work she was doing was paying off. We ate a quick lunch and headed north up I-55 to Camp Bratton-Green, where Josh is a counselor for the week. It's the annual "special needs" camp where mentally and physically challenged adults have the opportunity to enjoy a camp experience for a week. Nic and I went up last year--I to write a story on it for PORTICO JACKSON magazine, and Nicole to work with a group, teaching them a dance to perform in the talent show. We went the talent show and for four hours, we were thoroughly entertained by the campers. I vowed then that I'd go back each year!

We arrived at the camp around 3:15, and Josh took Nicole out on the pier to go fishing. They didn't get any bites, but had lots of fun. It was another "stop and smell the roses" moment, just standing on the pier and listening to the late afternoon summer sounds of the crickets and frogs.

We watched a group play "Duck-Duck-Goose," then watched as others participated in "extreme body painting." The great thing about the campers is they don't hold back. They really have a ton of fun, and the counselors (many of whom are high school and college students) are so kind, caring and giving towards the campers. We stayed for dinner before heading back home. It was a full day for Nic, and she went to sleep fairly early. We'll be going back Sunday evening for the talent show--we wouldn't miss it for the world!

Camp Bratton-Green, by the way, is an Episcopalian camp north of Canton. Joseph attended summer camp there for five years, and deems it "the happiest place on Earth." It is a small camp, but it really is a wonderful place filled with God's beauty. There's a magnificent lake, a beautiful chapel, cozy cabins, a cool, clean swimming pool and lots of other special places. It's interesting how a place that was so special in Joseph's life is just as special in Josh's. And although Nicole had no connection with the camp, she's learned to love it as well. I'm sure she'll be back there many times in the years to come.

Nic's back in the gym with Eclecius today, and I'm home, catching up on some writing. I had a couple of deadlines, so it was good to have an uninterrupted day to write. I checked the mail a little while ago and a fun thing arrived: the Michael Vick chew toy I ordered for Roxie! Pretty funny, huh? The proceeds go towards an organization that works to create awareness about the violence associated with dog fighting. (Check it out:

Nic and Joe are planning a fun night out together, going to hear the new band that friend Justin Cook is playing in at Martin's. To hear a preview, log on to I'm going to pass on that...too late and too loud for me. Instead, I'm hoping to head up to Canton tomorrow evening. Thacker Mountain Radio (normally taped in Oxford and played on MPB Radio on Saturday nights) will be taped on the square in Canton. The Scramblers will be musical guests along with Grady Champion (my man!) and Bobby Smith. Author Jim Ritchie will be there as well.

We've got another road trip planned this weekend--Nic and I are driving over to Birmingham, Alabama for a wedding. Her friends Maurine and Zack (actors she met while at the Actor's Theatre in Louisville, KY) are getting married. Nic also found out that one of her roommates from NY will be there as well, so it should be a fun reunion for them all. I'm basically the driver, but look forward to it as well. I've really loved all of the friends Nic made while at Actor's Theatre. On Sunday, we're going to brunch with my Southern Living at HOME pal, Anita Hand. She's been such a great friend to us!

Life is so full of magical moments. We just simply have to take the time to slow down and enjoy them. I hope everyone reading this can stop and smell the most aromatic rose--literally or figuratively--today!

Blessings to all who read this!


  1. I had to order a Michael Vick chew toy as well!!! We got ours in today, love it!! And so do the dogs! I'm so thankful that you are continuing to write about Nicole's recovery. I love your perspective. Nic is such an excellent girl and her perseverence is super encouraging.

    Monica P

  2. Thanks so much! OK, all that's left of Michael is his head...Roxie tore him to bits in about 30 minutes. But it was worth it. We all got a big laugh. But then again, we are easily amused!
    Have a blessed weekend!