Friday, August 30, 2013

A Dress for Geoff's Wedding

“When I move back home, we will have Oreos in  the house at all times.”
Whether or not Elise was joking when she said this last month, since her return to La Place I hear her voice when I am grocery shopping and respond with a cookie purchase.
Living at home puts her closer to the Make A Wish office in Metairie, where she serves as an intern, a requirement for her December graduation. The perks also include home-cooked meals (almost daily,)  chicken salad (her new favorite food,) and laundry service (which she declines.) In exchange, we get educated. Apparently we are supposed to have cable boxes attached to every television. Elise is about to change our archaic ways.
Elise’s goal has always been to return to the bayou for grad school and a recent opportunity to move into a house with best friend was too good to pass up. Her still unpacked bags will return to Thibodaux, where she will live on the weekends. This news sent me scurrying in search of thrift store furniture to refinish for her new room.
I decided to begin looking in Thibodaux so I could work in a visit to Victoria. A cancelled English class allowed us time for breakfast. Assuring her I would have no problem occupying the three hours before our lunch date, she headed to her next classes. I headed to Houma.
I had no more success finding new furniture for Elise than I did at the thrift store, so I decided to pay attention to the thought that surprised me. Maybe it was time to begin looking for a dress for Geoff’s wedding.  With my son’s wedding less than three months away, it was certainly not too soon to begin to search for something to wear. I tried on the first dress that caught my eye, decided to look no further, and walked out of store with a dress that I love.
I drove back to Thibodaux thanking God for planning my day better than I could have imagined and happy I didn’t stubbornly stick to my schedule of shopping for Elise. She’ll get her furniture. And her cable box in La Place. In the meantime, she can watch her recorded shows in the living room with her Dad and answer all of his questions about each episode.
And even though Victoria went to the wrong classroom and sat through the wrong class, she later found her teacher and explained her error. Everything will work out. Hopefully life will always be as easy as finding a dress in five minutes.
I went home and ate an Oreo to celebrate.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Space Jam

           My grandchildren’s world is filled with music. Almost every one of their toys sings, talks, or plays a melody. Olivia has a brightly colored remote control toy that loudly sings, “I’ve got a remote and I’m ready to roll; making things happen ‘cause I’m in control.” In control they are! We jump at their command and race to meet their needs. And if you see me dashing across the room, it’s probably to silence on of Adeline’s toys which sprang to life when the dog bumped into it.
            I don’t run quite as fast as I did when I was younger and shared a room with my sister Kay. We would sometimes watch an episode of Perry Mason on the little black and white television in our room. Because the theme music scared us, we would take turns jumping out of bed at the end of the show and try to turn off the television before the music started. Yes, I’m old enough to have lived in the days when televisions did not have remote controls, received stations you could count on one hand, and were more expensive if the picture was in color.
            When my Mom was a child, she didn’t even have a television in her room. Or a lamp. Or a fan. She grew up without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing. If chicken was on the menu for supper, it was her sister Martha’s job to go in the yard to catch, kill, and clean one before it was cooked. My Mom now views photos of her great-grandchildren on her phone’s Instagram. Oh, how times have changed.
            But some things haven’t really changed, they are just gradually discovered. Take space, for example. In the Perseus cluster of galaxies, about 250 million light years from Earth, is a giant black hole that hums. You can’t hear it, so you’ll just have to trust the scientists at NASA. The black hole sound translates to B flat and is 57 octaves below middle C,  too low to be picked up by the human ear.
            Despite the difference in our ages and experiences, throughout all of our lives, we’ve slept under the stars which have their own space jam. I don’t hear it, but I believe it’s the Heavens declaring the glory of God. (Psalm 19:1) Our world is filled with music.
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Projects, Projects Everywhere

Boxes, bags, and clusters of items yet to be identified fill my home’s hallway, living room, kitchen, and dining room. It’s the aftermath of Victoria moving to college, Elise moving home, and an untimely decision to swap the furniture in two rooms. I’d call my home a work in progress, but progress stopped the minute I brought Elise’s desk home, placed it in the center of the living room, and began to paint it. As soon as the desk dries, I’ll send it to Victoria, then  return to sorting through books I probably won’t read, CDs no one wants to hear, and floppy disks from computers long gone.
            But don’t worry. I have a vision I’m working towards and won’t stop until the job is done. (Or until something else needs to be painted.) I guess that’s why I don’t panic when I have to step over plastic bags filled with Elise’s clothes, boxes of wires without coordinating appliances and pieces of fabric waiting to be turned into dresses for my granddaughters. Everything will be put away in time, sewing will soon resume, and Elise will sort through her college bags before graduate school begins. I’ll just keep doing a little each day until the last envelope filled with wallet sized school pictures is put into a photo album. (Why didn’t the kids give them all away and why do I keep every single one?)
            Projects. I have lots of them at the moment. And it just reminds me that God does, too. Although I’d prefer to point out the work that needs to be done in the lives of others, God continually redirects my thoughts home, to my own clutter and chaos.
I haven’t yet matured beyond some disappointments, patience is taking her time to get here into my life, I’m still lugging around a few useless opinions, and I’m frustrated over my inability to change others. And here, at the point of brutal honesty before my God, I bow and once again ask His mercy to cover my failings, knowing with all of my heart He has a plan for me and will continue to work on it. Paul said it best, “Being confident of this, that He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Ronny may be reached at

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Adeline collapsed in tears onto the shoulders of Lauren, her mother. It’s tough to be 14 months old, too tired to play, but unwilling to stop long enough to nap. They entered the empty elevator and just before the doors closed, they were joined by others. Adeline, the social butterfly, sprang into action.
            She lifted her head to smile at her new audience, while vigorously waving her right hand. As the elevator ascended, Adeline entertained the small group. When it stopped, the doors of the elevator opened, allowing the people to exit, then the tears resumed.
            If I were a psychologist, I’d use a few multisyllabic words to replace this unanalyzed grandmother’s explanation for Adeline’s actions. She saves her tears for the one who daily comforts her and meets her needs, and simply enjoys the company of others who pass through her life.
            I can relate to Adeline. Maybe you can, too. Swallow a sob to manufacture a smile. Afraid that if I think too long, or talk  too much, I’ll start crying and won’t be able to stop. Putting on a good front, not wanting to upset anyone, yet burdened with a hurt, a need, or the helplessness of watching a loved one experience the consequences of wrong choices. It’s then I turn to the Lord and seem to live out Psalm 142. “I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble.”
            When do I cry? Occasionally while reading a book, watching a movie, or in the company of a great friend, but mostly, like Adeline,  when the doors close and I am safe with the One Who loves me.
Ronny may be reached at