I guess everyone got on the plane okay this morning, since I haven't gotten any "Where did Bill go?" messages. It was sort of bittersweet seeing the group off at the airport. I'm happy to be starting the second part of my journey down south. But part of me wishes any of them could be coming with me. They did Seattle proud this week, and I was just too damn tired to say that to them this morning. There were the occasional slow movers in the morning as the week went on, but by the time the van arrived they were ready to go across the board.
And holy cow, what a fun team! I felt like I was the party-pooper of the group most of the time, leaving whatever bar we were in to head home before anyone else. I guess that's just a symptom of getting ready to age out of the "Seattle Works" demographic. :) Actually, I've been saying that for years, but I know it's not true. They won't be able to get rid of me any more than I could get rid of them. Everyone in the group seemed to have as much fun as they needed, and they're heading home in one piece.
Our final night, we went to the (in)famous Mother-in-Law Lounge, for steamed crawdads and po-boys. What a feast! Then we proceeded to visit with the locals (including the owner of said establishment, Ms. Antoinette) for several hours, drinking glass of wine after glass of wine and picking jazz and blues classics from the juke box. And where else would the owner/bartendar slide the corkscrew and bottle over to a first-time customer and say "I need you to open that fo' me, and go 'head and pour dat yo'self", and then give you the glass for free because "you did all the hard work"?? I'm sure photos will show up on various Facebook accounts over the coming weeks. Enjoy!
I've tried to say this before in various situations and media, but there is something cosmic and magical about New Orleans. It's a spirit of generosity, and a generosity of spirit, that you simply can NOT find anywhere else. And that's not meant as a challenge or a cynical comment about other cities...it is simply a statement of factual opinion shared by me and few million other folks who don't even live here. Whereas in Vegas, where everything that happens there stays there, everything that happens in New Orleans is talked about, and talked about, and talked about again...proudly. I can't wait to bore you all, again...proudly. :)
I will be signing off now, and will have limited access to the Internet during the "vacation" phase of my trip to the south. I will try to post as much as possible.
A Top 10 NOLA moments addendum:
10a. The broken house rule (No inappropriate fraternization in facility)...
9a. Shout outs to Scooter, Peanut, and the rest of the gang!
8a. Our fearless leaders, Ray and Marshall, of Katrina Corps! Get your butts down here, people!! I ain't lyin', you will have a life-changing experience. And Ray can amaze you with the ability to have conversations with himself for an entire van-ride. Just kiddin', Ray, nothin' but love, baby.
7a. "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's...AMORE!"
6a. Nia and her beautiful blue hair. And blue face. And blue hands. And blue clothes. Good lord, did she get any paint on the doors? Just kiddin', Nia, nothin' but love, baby.
5a. "At laaaaaaaast, my love has come along..."
4a. Running to the truck stop to pick up change for the bar. You just don't see things like that every day...
3a. Giving up on finishing the Indiana Jones novel I started on Saturday night...I think he lives in the end.
2a. "I found my thrill....on Blueberry Hill....on Blueberry Hill....where I found you".
1a. The best part of the trip (so far): Ashley, Beth, Bill, Pam, Ryan, Scott, Tyler, and the rest of our crew from Connecticut, DC, and Wales. Talk to you all in a week!