Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Do You Remember Where You Were?

On Saturday night, August 27, 2005 after a delicious dinner on the Pontchartrain Lakefront and continued calls to Delta Airlines…..who assured us that our flight on Sunday would be timely, we settled down in our hotel room near the New Orleans airport.

Our children and grandchildren were in various stages of worry and disbelief, elsewhere. Our youngest daughter in Texas was excited “I’ve always wanted to ride out a hurricane!” she said. Our oldest daughter in Pennsylvania was beside herself and couldn’t understand why we were taking such a risk. I’ll never forget our oldest grandson then 15 years of age, telling us “I hope you two lovebirds can swim!” (For the record, only if my head is above the water when my feet are touching the bottom!)

We had absolutely no idea what was ahead, but based on the fact that the television stations were “suggesting” that people begin evacuating……who could help but wonder what we were thinking!

We arrived at the busy NOLA airport earlier than necessary and checked our luggage, curbside…….mistake!  We entered the terminal and immediately knew this was going to end badly. Delta was the only counter open and the lines were miles long. The Delta Arrival boards were showing no arriving planes and the Departure board was showing that our flights were cancelled. And they had taken our luggage!

We went through Security with the hundreds of other hopeful people. Why? I don’t know. It seemed like a good idea, at the time. The Gates were empty…..there were hundreds of passengers, like us…but no Delta employees. (They had followed the evacuation “suggestion”)  Of course there would be no flights out of NOLA…..they weren’t bringing planes, or people, to this disaster that was about to happen, so there would be no plane to take us out.

I began calling Delta in an attempt to reschedule our flights to Las Vegas and Minnesota. As one of their customers who flew weekly and had attained Platinum status, there was a “special” line I could call. The best I could do was to book us on a flight out of Dallas, Texas for 4 p.m., that same day. Sure, that would be an easy trip!  (We hadn’t seen Interstate 10 and the evacuees, leaving NOLA!)

We needed our luggage back, so while I was rescheduling our flights my honey (Bob), and cousin Jimmy’s wife, Pat, went to retrieve the bags. They returned, shaking their heads. It couldn’t be done. We’d have to leave without it. (That was what they said….I knew that wasn’t going to happen.)

I have failed to mention that we had three different personality types in this group. Bob and Pat were both easy-going, patient, get things done, organized. Jimmy was anxious, impatient, and easily agitated. I was probably a combination of some of these things but I was also known for my “authoritative voice.”

And for that reason, I went to get the luggage. I didn’t have time to stand in the “mile long” line at the Delta counter….so I went directly to the counter. Yes, they were screaming at me! I really didn’t care. I didn’t know these people and they didn’t know me, and in all likelihood would never see me again. There was a hurricane coming, I wanted my luggage!

I didn’t ask for our luggage. I demanded it. My argument was they had taken it, curbside, knowing the flights would never take off. I got the luggage!  From that day forward I was called “The Gestapo.” (I never had to act like that, again. I’m reserving it for the next hurricane!)

I have often wondered how much luggage was lost, in that storm, because Delta wouldn’t (said they couldn’t) return it….and those travelers didn’t have an authoritative voice or a “Gestapo” person with them.

We finally arrived in Dallas….and when we got back home, over a week later….there were trees down in our yard.  Two tall pine trees had fallen across our front walk, right beside the 32 oz. cup that was still sitting where it had been, when we left.

We were fortunate……we were back at home and it was safe and sound. Many people weren’t so fortunate.

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing?
#Katrina #August 2005 #Hurricane #Delta

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Legs Murder Case.....

I was on my way back to Taylorsville from Slidell, LA. Not only do I love Story telling, Genealogy, Cemeteries, and old country roads, I also love Antiques. (Takes one to know one!)

I had heard that Picayune (some folks call it Picky-une) had several nice Antique stores, so at Exit 4 I got off the Interstate. I was in no hurry to get back home and there were a few things I wanted …….not needed!

I headed toward town and turned on old Highway 11 to the downtown section. The first Antique store was closed, but I saw a “Flea Market” that was open. I kinda’ like those, too. I stopped and went in and saw, quickly, there was probably nothing I couldn’t live without. Of course, I was wrong….I found some Champagne Flutes, yes, in a Flea Market!

After paying, I asked the owner where the Antique stores were, and I was given directions to Angel’s Place. His exact words were “She’s got some real good stuff.” When I opened the door to Angel’s, my thoughts were “boy, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder!” And there was nothing, in Angel’s Place, that I couldn’t live without!!

After scoping out three good Antique stores, I did find some “real good stuff.” I headed on up I-59. I was determined to go back to McNeill and find the grave of the legs, and the grave where no grass grows. I’m nothing if I’m not inquisitive!

Have you ever gotten someplace and couldn’t remember why you were going? Well, I got to McNeill Cemetery and I could not, for the life of me, remember the last name of the people for whom I was searching. I literally was going to have to search for a grave without any grass.

The Legs Murder Case had occurred in 1930, so I immediately went to the old section of the cemetery. At one point, I decided it should be named The Spiers Cemetery, since that seemed to be the only folks buried there. I was amazed at how many small children and infant’s graves there were. I walked over the entire cemetery…..old section, new section, all sections…..and all the while I was going thru the alphabet, in my mind, trying to remember the last name of the people for whom I was searching.  

Finally, in the middle of the cemetery (some old stones, some newer stones) were two graves and Ouida Keeton’s grave had almost no grass. Ouida had been buried beside the legs of Daisy, the mother she had been accused of murdering some 40 plus years ago (and only her legs were ever recovered.)

They were both buried at the foot of the grave of John Monroe Keeton who had been killed, by a train, at age 37. (John Monroe was Daisy’s husband and Ouida’s father). Apparently, there had been unanswered questions surrounding his death which resulted in his young wife, Daisy, becoming a millionaire at age 29. Had Daisy’s horrible death somehow been the revenge of the God’s for her husband’s mysterious death?

Someday, when you have nothing better to do …find a copy of ‘The Legs Murder Case’ …but be forewarned, it can actually be pretty boring. The book goes into laborious detail, so I found myself skimming through some pages to get to the “meat” (sorry, no pun intended) of the book.

#Laurel #murder #LegsMurderCase #OuidaKeeton #DaisyKeeton

Friday, August 19, 2016

As Easy As.......................

Camping (is living in a Motor Home with all the accoutrements of home, really camping?) in the backwoods of Minnesota has been beautiful.

This state with its thousands of lakes (License Plates boasts 10,000) plentiful with fish, water sports, and winter sports, abundant forests where the tall trees seem to be reaching for the blue skies,  many Nature Trails, hiking and biking trails, Corps of Engineer Campgrounds and private campgrounds nestled in and among the trees – filled with campers of every type.

The almost 50 mile Heartland State Trail established in 1974 was
one of the nation’s first rail corridors to be converted into a hiking/biking trail. The asphalt paved trail follows the shoreline of several of Minnesota’s lakes through forest of towering white pine, spruce, fir and hardwood. In the woods are deer, red fox, porcupine, beaver and some of the largest raccoons I’ve ever seen, in my life!!

This trail is home to many bikers and hikers – and that’s where my problem began. My friend is an avid biker – riding 40, 50 or more miles per day. I, on the other hand, hadn’t been on a bike … years….and then, it wasn’t one of those “fancy” bikes that changed speeds ….and it was a girl’s bike!! And, I never wore a racing helmet……in my life.

The die had been cast. It was decided. I must join my friend riding the Heartland Trail. The Bike was removed from the Bike Rack, on the back of the car, and suddenly I was being shown where the speeds were. My question was….”where’s the brake?”

It was a man’s bicycle. There was no putting my leg through….I must lean the bike over and throw my leg over and then try and stand it up.  Do you know how old I am? Do you know how hard that is? The seat was too high. It was lowered. It was still too high. It was lowered, again. It was still too high. When did I get this short?

I was instructed about starting with my right foot and then getting my left foot going….with confidence….(heck, I think I left that in Mississippi)…..and taking off. I wobbled and wobbled and finally got it stopped. I asked…”Why am I wobbling?” I was told….”because you aren’t riding fast enough to keep it upright.”

The last time my hands were this sweaty was when Bob made me drive the RV on Interstate 20…and the semi trucks were passing me. This was a bicycle, for goodness sake. This wasn’t supposed to be a big deal!

It didn’t turn out well. Yes, the bike and I fell….and I wasn’t even moving when it happened!  (That takes a real Pro.)

I was told, “We’ll practice tomorrow….so you can get better, at this.” I worried, for hours, about how was I going to get out of this. My bruises were beginning to have bruises…and I was sore.

This morning, I suggested that I didn’t “need” any broken bones (at my age)….and hiking might be my speed.

As far as I’m concerned….it may be as easy as riding a bike for some of you, but for me….it’s as easy as falling off one!!