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Gueydan – Getting There and Getting Settled

The following morning in the Super-8 motel was heavenly. Though I was sliding downhill fast, Chelsea came to the rescue and headed out to the breakfast bar, bringing back breakfast goodies. Combined with the juice from the night before, we had a feast.

We moved slowly after breakfast, getting things ready for our ride to Gueydan.

Seeing Kenneth and Krisy was an absolute delight. They are both low-key, and Kenneth in particular has a completely irreverent and irrepressible sense of humor. It was just what we needed.

Krisy and Kenneth were amazed at our stories, laughing along with us. They were suitably impressed to hear that Krisy was only the second woman we’d spoken with in four months. We told them we had felt like little bits of estrogen floating in a sea of testosterone for the last few months.

Kenneth and Krisy get our Hero of the Day for not only picking us up in Shreveport, but for making the day such a pleasant experience.

The drive back, as always when Kenneth drives, was incredibly peaceful and comfortable. The bad news was that I could tell the stress had finally gotten to me and I was goin’ down.

The following week was a blur of coughing and Kleenex. Enough said. By Friday Chelsea and I were beginning to gain some energy, but it was another full week before I left the house. Too much stress and a pronounced lack of sleep – it’ll gitcha every time.

Heuetta

Heuetta left Gueydan that first Friday for Lafayette, a few days after we arrived, headed to San Antonio on Monday in preparation for her surgery the following Wednesday. The few weeks before leaving were busy for Heuetta as she prepared for her surgery and wrapped up tasks and jobs in anticipation of her long absence.

She had a lengthy list – buy a reading pillow so she could sit up afterwards and have back and arm support; buy soft white tee-shirts and cut them up the front; get only Dial soap; follow all the diet restrictions; get only button front clothes; make sure to have only soft pull up pants; make sure the paperwork at work was properly filed; the list went on.

She had so much to track that Peggy, her cousin, got Heuetta set up with a black binder for tracking all the paperwork, must-do’s, doctor’s appointments, medical tests and everything else that was in the pipeline.

On her last night home Heuetta responded to a friend’s inquiry about how she was holding up. “If I don’t laugh I’m gonna cry, and I’m tired of crying”, she said, then changed the subject.

All of us were quiet and somber that week until we heard that Heuetta had come through with flying colors. The doctors were quite sure they had caught all the cancer.

Her sister, her son Kenny, her daughter Erika, and Erika’s daughter Amanda spent the week in San Antonio, so Kenneth was glued to the phone waiting for updates, which he shared immediately with us. We all felt increasingly more relaxed as the news continued to get better.

Chocolate covered bacon

We did have a few lighter notes before the surgery. We actually made it out of the house long enough to photograph some wonderful mushrooms on Saturday, and on Monday Erika and her boyfriend Donald showed up from next door with chocolate-covered bacon.

Yes, chocolate-covered bacon. Donald had seen it on a cooking show and tried his hand at it. It was amazingly good, with that sweet and savory flavor. Warning – you won’t want to eat much at a time.

Jaimie Snoddy

With her trademark laugh and “Y’all can’t miss this!”, Jaimie Snoddy got us out of the house for the first time in nearly two weeks by inviting us over late on a Friday afternoon to watch the rice harvesting at Pat Hair’s fields just west of downtown Gueydan.

Oh how we had missed the open fields and big skies of the south! We found ourselves breathing deeply for the first time in far too long. Jaimie took Chelsea out in the rice cart to watch Terry Beard run the combine and to collect the rice he’d cut, then I had my turn.

Jaimie Snoddy

After a few hours of hangin’ out, we both felt infinitely better and more connected. Jaimie absolutely gets our Hero of the Day for getting us out of the house and into the rice fields.

The next morning we met up with Jaimie again while she worked at Marceaux’s in the meat department, getting the store set up with freshly cut and packaged meats. Not only did we get the taste treat of a spicy Cajun hamburger, we laughed and talked with Jaimie for over an hour.

Always one to tell a great story, Jaimie came through for us again. This time it was the story of a young man she knew. He got to telling her how strict his mother was, and about one of his most memorable times of getting in trouble.

As young boy, maybe only six or seven, he was bored in church one day, as kids usually are. Holding his rosary, he started swinging it in wider circles. “Hang on little Jesus, you’re goin’ for a spin”, he said, into the middle of an unfortunate pause in the church services. Unlike us, his mother did not see the humor in the situation.

After much laughter and a few other stories, it was time to head off to the computer store, but much to our delight, Jaimie spent time at the end of her work showing Chelsea how to find settings on our Nikon camera, going over ISO, white balance, aperture, shutter speed, and more. When you want the right answers you ask a professional, and that would be Jaimie. She’ll deny she’s a professional. But we know better.

Update:

Heuetta did come through all the way with those colors still flying. Not only is she completely cancer free, she does not have to undergo chemo and radiation. Our hats are off to Heuetta!

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