To the people who told me how wonderful it was that I would be so much closer to my brother now, I would like to say... SIX HOURS IS JUST ENOUGH TO STILL BE FAR.
But I got to see my brother who graciously took time off of his normally busy routine... Plus, Traci!! And their baby girl!! Come to think of it. Six hours isn't really that long, anyway.
Time in New Orleans is usually spent some place that is both kid friendly and kind of cool. Choices are obviously limited.
This year, we checked out a local tradition over at Canal Place, located on, not surprisingly, Canal Street.
Local surgeons get together, carve pumpkins, and sell them for $25 a pop to the public in order to raise money for The Children's Hospital. The kids enjoyed themselves, and, dudes, look at this pumpkin.
I don't know that guy, but he has mad surgical skills. If I ever need a plastic surgeon, I'm looking him up. There were lots of artsy projects for the kids to do as well.
Anyway, as I walked through this mall, I thought, "Yeah, so I brought my kids to a mall for fun, this is so America." Of course, I thought it in that cynical tone that implies that one is highly observant of the shortcomings of one's own society. In my defense, you haven't really experienced capitalism until you see small brown children begging for candy in a Coach store.
As soon as I thought that, though, I saw my niece and my own kids and I thought the same thought, far more softly and in a far different tone this time, "Yeah, this is so America."
Thing is, to you, these may be just some cute kids.
When I looked at these kids in the middle of the Canal Place, though, I remembered something incredibly poignant.
Without America these children would not exist. Were it not for this nation... their parents would never have met. I think that's pretty cool.
I think that's something to be proud of, too.
It's all fine and fun to be cynical, but every now and then, we should remember that we are a good people, a kind people, a unique yet diverse people, and that we have an extraordinary capacity for personal generosity and carving awesome pumpkins.
That was a good pumpkin, yo.
Happy (very early) Halloween.