Thanksgiving and New Orleans 2.0

The Way I See It



As another Thanksgiving is upon us all, do we truly count our blessings on all that has happened the past 365 days? Granted, there may be some days that we questioned what was going on, but surely there are days that made us feel thankful, right?

What a whirlwind of a year since last Thanksgiving it has been for me! Last year I had been on my new job for just about two months, my home was for sale and I had just turned 60. My life was in flux and I don’t do well with that type of scenario.

Fast forward a year and I find myself living in a new city, in a new relationship and truly living a life of wonder. I am amazed at the family (both blood and chosen) that I get to spend time with on a regular basis. My friends – old and new – are what keep me centered. Among these friends is my new one who broke through my barriers of trust issues and managed to make me feel valued and loved. Bit by bit, we are marking off our bucket list of places to visit and things to do. Thank you, Dennis!

This past weekend we visited one of my bucket list places … New Orleans. I had visited there over 45 years ago on the way to Florida with my best friend Christa, her sister Lesa and their dad’s cousin Billy Bob (totally serious). We had left Houston later than anticipated and ended up in New Orleans. Billy Bob said we’d have a good meal and get a good night’s rest and hit the road early the next day. We set out and ended up at Pat O’Brien’s on Bourbon Street. Apparently they don’t care if you’re 16 or they thought the adult with us was our father. Either way, we all had a Hurricane (or two?). I have a photo remembrance of Christa and I in a fake Bourbon Street “jail”. Sadly, not much more memory was retained of that visit because the “good meal” was an ear of corn washed down by said fruity drink. I had vowed to return to experience this wonderful city full of history, shrimp, oysters, beignets and music.

And return we did! This trip, we happened upon a charismatic young man – a younger version of Simon Baker/Mentalist looks – and he was in front of a manual typewriter. Intrigued, we approached. Lecco Morris of Ragtime Poetry Co. writes commissioned poems. I told him of my New Orleans redux and showed him the “jail” photo. What he wrote blew my mind. Here goes:

“Dreaming of Jail”
Some spend all their
life’s energy imagining
wresting free of the
four walls and bars that
confine them –

but when your sunny 16-
year old tipsy self

wends its way to a rollicking piano bar and is photographed with bent bars
and a
winning smile
in the glittered grime of
N’Orleans’ storied streets –

that’s a jail to dream of,
to recreate with vigor,

a time capsule of
place and identity,

a portal to the
lives lived, discarded,
grown from and honed.

Both in the bar
and behind them –
this dream is of the jail
that set me free.
– Lecco Morris, NOLA, Nov.

The way I see it, this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for loved ones, both family and friends. I’m thankful for fur babies. I’m thankful for a great job and I’m thankful for happenstance meetings of young street poets that make me cry.

SUE BROWN is a columnist of the Pleasanton Express. Contact her at

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