New Orleans to Dallas 11/09

Posted: October 2, 2010 in Helping Hands Events, Table Of Contents, TRAVEL / Gatherings
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(continued from NE to New Orleans chapter)

I had to leave New Orleans a bit earlier then hoped partly because there was a hurricane heading towards me.

After 3 weeks I had; helped the city park clean up recycling; volunteered for a few green house projects; planted bull grass in lagoons with a Save the Wetlands group; planted around the amusement park and looked for people to help outside the park area. I had not found a host with a safe place to park my van by the day the edge of the storm arrived so I headed northwest. I hope to line up a more secure place to stay before my return at the end of October 2010.

With the storm behind me, I marked the nearest camping spot on the map and set course. I spent the next 3 weeks moving around between camping spots. More details about these days can be found in the next volume of our fundraiser book. As Thanksgiving approached, I headed north to be with family near Dallas.

My first destination was my cousin Darla, near Lake Hawkins. Her Husband had passed away and she had a few projects that I could help with so it was the perfect spot to make camp for a few weeks. It didn’t hurt that her property was a mile from a gorgeous lake. Over the next few weeks I improved a septic ditch, fixed a few things, cleaned up litter, burned trash and brush and organized her storage building and tools.

The lake had a few perfect spots to focus on my writing for the next book. There was a peninsula park that stayed in the sun longer then any other spot in the area. There was also a beach and campground with a dock that I could get a wifi signal on. The signal must have been coming from a boat house near by!

On colder days I wandered around looking for new spots to work. I found a city park in Hawkins that had a strong wifi signal so I spent several afternoons there getting eBay stuff listed. A worker at a bank next to the park and another neighbor complained about me hanging out there two times but other then that it was a great spot.  Another great spot was the Daily Grind Coffee Shop in ..Mineola… The owners were a couple of hippy type peace supporters. Even though they were not selling much, they keep the place open so the community has some place to gather. They have a pool table and organize card nights to attract as many people as they can. They didn’t mind me hanging out there to get work done most the day.

For Thanksgiving I went to ….Paris…. where cousin Kay and her family, Dennis, ….Josh.., ..Jordan…. and Jeremy lived. I was invited to stay for the weekend so I started looking for things I could do to help out around the house. They didn’t have much I could do but I did help hold their spots in line for the black Friday experience.

One day I went to a park with Jeremy and we played some ball. Another day I went to a parade with Kay. When everyone was busy I went to a soccer field and did some workouts. On Sunday I went to a St. Paul”s Baptist Church. I was approached by the church mother, Joan Mathis. She noticed I was by myself so she asked me to sit up front with her group. After the service, the pastor/deacon asked me some questions about my efforts. Once I explained how my goal was to battle depression by building support groups of peaceful, earth friendly, truth patriots in a barter based economy, the deacon wanted to contribute.

I told the Deacon that once I got a bit more organized, I would send them more info. After I was done talking to the Deacon, Joan asked me to join her for dinner. I only refuse invitations if I have another event scheduled so I followed her home.

There were a bunch of youth from the neighborhood and another assistant Deacon joining us. The neighborhood was mixed middle class with some nice houses and a few with busted windows and salvage vehicles. I felt safe in Joan’s presence but would not walk the streets at night.

Once inside, I realized how much Joan and her deceased husband had done for her community. There were all types of letters and awards around her house for events they sponsored or organized. I helped prepare the meal and set the table while telling the children my stories. After the meal was finished and the table was cleared the deacon played some organ music while Joan led in some singing. The day reminded me of when I used to spend Sundays with my grandmother.

The next day I went to the soccer fields to workout and this wonderful lady noticed the writing on my van so she pulled up and wanted to know about me.

Charlene ( ) was at a difficult crossroad in her life. She was passionate about life as a christian and needed guidance. I gave her my contact info and asked her to follow up with me. We would soon be editing each others notes for publications.

From Paris, I headed about 90 miles south, back down to the Mineola area. My uncle had a few projects that he didn’t have enough time to finish so I worked around there a few days. I also got a lot of writing done while passing time until Christmas.

I enjoyed my Texas family’s hospitality very much so I stuck around through Christmas to celebrate with them. I drove around with cousin Lydia, husband (John), kids ( ) and Madison to see the areas holiday lights. They also had a fun pre xmas party at their place on the lake. When a couple of their friends get together and share stories about their high school trouble making, there is never a dull moment!

For Xmas day everyone was meeting at Lydia”s so I spent Xmas eve at another party with her and Darla then went home with Lydia. She invited me to stay the night so I would get a bit of the Xmas morning celebration with her kidos. I was so thankful for all the love they gave me. I had been missing it from my Lincoln family ever since dad died in 2005.

Xmas day was great. Kay’s family all made it from Paris and the food was amazing. The only thing missing was our elder, uncle Ken, their father. He was on a semi run and had timed it to spend time with his girlfriend’s family in Az.

The kids got new laptops, psps and a Play station 3! They were so fortunate to have family with money to spend on those expensive things. When I was a kid, my parents would go in debt to put just one expensive thing on credit so all the kids could share it so their gifts were just as shocking to me as they were to the kids.

After pictures were done, the food was gone, and the games completed, we all went separate ways. I went back to Darla’s and regrouped. Not too long after, I was invited to a party for the next night. I had been looking for something fun to do that could include a friend and this was perfect.

I had found a nice girl in Mineola to spend time with who could help organize a support group in the area so this would be a chance to get together. I texted her and she accepted my invitation. We had been in the local coffee shop at the same time but she usually has her kids with her so we never got to talk much so I was excited when she was able to go out for an evening.

On the night of the party, I followed my cousin to the location to make sure I would not get lost with my friend. I went in and met everyone and then checked in with Alisa. She asked me to come get her after finishing with a care taking client so I went and picked her up. Her friend gave me the standard 20 question interview and told me she just wanted to make sure she was not going to have another stalker. After I passed her test, we drove out to the party.

After about an hour of socializing and playing Wii with cuz Darla and her date I noticed some interesting packages around the house. I was not aware it was going to have an adult theme gift exchange after everyone was lubricated with party favors. I have been in plenty of embarrassing situations so I was all good but I was holding my breathe to see how Alisa was going to react.

It was great! As everyone joined in a circle to play white elephant exchange, sexual conversations filled the air. Everyone joking about what they thought this or that was and which package they would pick. Alisa smiled and joined in the conversations like she was their best friend. She hadn’t even known them for a few hours so I was amazed. Alisa would be perfect for organizing group events here when I was gone.

As the gifts got passed around and the talks got extremely perverted, Alisa’s comfort increased along with her enjoyment. Darla’s date was doing just as well but being a bit more shy. The experience was one I will remember for a long time.

After the party Alisa knew where there was karaoke by the lake so we went there. We learned a lot of interesting things about each others lives through the evening and would be great friends. At the bar I met her friends and all my other neighbors. It had a nice biker bar atmosphere so I was comfy seeing my dad raised me in that surrounding.

From there I took Alisa back to her friends where she would stay the night to avoid the drunken stalker knocking on her door after hours. Had I known that when we were by Darla’s I would have offered the spare room and breakfast. All in all it was a great time.

As new years eve approached, I checked in with my LA buddy Sung Park. He was ready to ring in another decade with me so I packed a hitchers bag and made sure my items at Darla’s were where she wanted them. I was prepared for a crazy hitching experience! My uncle Ken then told me that he could get me on board his semi but it might not get us to LA in time.

As NYE drew near we would find that his schedule would not have him leaving until the 2nd. I decided that Sung and I would find another adventure and act like it was NYE instead so I was fine with waiting. It gave me one last night of partying with Texas family. Alisa was with her kids so I went to Lydia”s for her NYE party.

I was so anxious for LA that it was hard to be in a partying mood. I enjoyed the party but kept my wits so I could drive back to Darla’s to sleep and watch football the next morning. I was packed and ready to go on the 2nd. Darla gave me a ride to the drop point where uncle Ken was waiting and after some hugs, I was on my way to So Cal!

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Comments
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