I am just back from a three-week journey back to my home. In the words of a friend of mine from my youth, Carl Warden if I am not mistaken, “I live in California, but Lake Charles, Louisiana is my home. I visited many old friends and family members, especially my sister, Pat, my cousin Bobby, and my dearest friends Dean and Bea Thibideaux. Thomas Wolfe was wrong you can go home again, and it is damned fine.
I played golf on a river course outside of Dean Texas surrounded by “hog wire” to keep feral pigs off the golf course. I teed a ball up in Texas and hit it onto a green in Oklahoma. I talked to World War II veterans in New Orleans at the World War II Museum. They were very proud, very humble men and women. I lived again the night I made the long train ride from New Orleans to San Diego.
I saw in Louisiana a vitality and energy that reaffirmed my belief in the goodness of her people, the undiminished potential of obtaining the American Dream if you commit yourself to the ideals of honest hard work, faith in your government, and as a very fine Methodist minister said one Sunday morning, “If you are the one who stops to lend a helping hand to one in need, you lift us all a little higher.” My son, Lance, may have said it better, “Don’t be a hater. Be a celebrator.”