Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Boy Singing Beautiful Song ('Tell Me Why').

I came across this while I was watching a couple of other videos. It is amazing. The message is powerful and the singer is incredible. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Time in Florida

Mom and Dad posing the masks I bought in New Orleans.

I finally have some time to finish my March Break adventure to the south. After Louisiana Don and I went to Florida to visit mom and dad. We arrived on the Sunday, later in the day, after a six hour drive. It rained our first full day there so we spent the day doing mom's favourite activity. One're right on your first guess - shopping!

Tuesday was spent doing Don's favourite thing - nothing in particular. In the morning we played shuffleboard and I actually almost won a game against my game-winning husband! We relaxed, Don read, I swam, and watched the sunset. Later in the evening we played aggravation with mom and dad. The girls won!
Wednesday: Don wanted to do his favourite activity again so I went to St. Andrew's State Park for the day. I walked through the ruins of a turpentine mill sat on the beach. Isn't interesting that the beach looks like what I left behind in the north - snow! That evening Don and went out to dinner with his mom and her new husband, Ted. They just happened to be vacationing in Panama City Beach for two weeks the same time we were - coinsidences...

Thursday: Mom, dad, Don, and I went to Sandestin, a golfing resort. We went to the Baytowne Warf to look in the shops. What an interesting place.
On our last morning there Don and I went down to the beach. It was early and despite it being psring break time the beach was deserted and quiet.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Plantation Tour Day

Our second day in Louisiana was a rain day so we spent the day touring sugar plantations along the Mississippi River on river road. Most of them were in Vacherie. It was interesting to see the influence of the french, in particular the Acadians (the cajuns)who had been expelled from Canada by the English 200 years ago. Some day I would love to come back to Louisiana and explore this further. One day does not do it justice!

We started at Oak Alley. It got its name from the line of 300 year old oak trees, obvious in the photos. What a stunning home. Sometime in the early 1700's, a settler claimed land for his dwelling and planted two rows of live oaks to mark its entrance that lead to the river. It's so sad to think that it was built on the backs of black slaves.

Jacques Joseph Roman arrived from France and later, in 1741, married Marie D'Aigle, whose family had moved from Canada, and spent much of the first years of their marriage buying and selling plantations. Of their five children only one son, Jacques Etienne, and his two sisters survived to inherit the estate. The grew sugar and flourished. Unfortunately, due to mismanagement within the Roman family, the plantation had to be sold in 1866 and had various owners ever since.

Down the road was St. Joseph's, a 1,000 acres plantation, where we had a private tour. Raised Creole style home predates nearby plantations constructed in Greek Revival style. The home stands on brick columns 8 feet tall to protect from flooding. It was originally owned by a doctor who cared for the families and slaves in the area. Eventually it was purchased for one of the Roman families as a wedding gift. It came fully furnished and with a full staff of slaves. In 1877, they lost their plantation because they couldn't pay the back taxes after slavery was abolished.

Today, it is still a working plantation and some family still live on the estate. I enjoyed this tour since it had a video about the making of sugar, a mini museum, and different outbuildings, such as slave quarters, an out kitchen, and small schoolhouse.

Unfortunately, we just missed the final tour of the Laura Plantation on the same road as the other plantations. I was able to take a handful of pictures but do not have a full context for it, except for what I read. It is a creole plantation and was built in 1805 and restored to same period. At its greatest it was 12,000 acres in size and apparently the manor house is about 24,000 square feet with a detached kitchen that was 2,500 square feet (the size of my house). I can't imagine farming a property that size or house cleaning a house of that size!
Lastly, I took a picture of the Evergreen Plantation. I love the stairs that set this home apart from the other ones we saw. Apparently the main house was constructed in the 1830s and continued to be in operation growing sugar cane until the 1930s.

Red Shirt

I had something very interesting sent to me via e-mail this week. I have copied it for everyone who readds my blog:

Red Shirt

If the red shirt thing is new to you, read below how it went for a man...

Last week, while traveling to Toronto on business, I noticed an army sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together. After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who'd been invited to sit in First Class ( across from me), and inquired if he was heading home. 'No', he responded.

'Heading out', I asked?

'No. I'm escorting a soldier home.'

'Going to pick him up?'

'No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Afganistan, I'm taking him home to his family.'

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn't know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier's family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days.

I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, 'Thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do.'

Upon landing in Toronto , the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom. 'Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the Canadian Armed Forces join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign.' Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be a Canadian.

So here's a public Thank You to our military Men and Women for what you do so we can live the way we do. Red Fridays. Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Canadians who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority.' We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or overbearing. Many Canadians, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Canadians supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that every red-blooded Canadian who supports our men and women afar, will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make Canada on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming Hockey game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family, it will not be long before the Canada is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on. The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is 'We need your support and your prayers.' Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example, and wear something red every Friday.

This coming Friday I will be wearing red. What colour shall you wear?