Tonight we dined like kings, kings of the high cholesterol, artery clotting beautiful land of fried seafood, a land I do not visit often. I had a softshell crab the size of my frickin head. It was huge. And six enormous shrimp. Screw the curly fries.
We partied like we mean it, because tonight is the last night here. I spent the day at the race track with a group of about 20, but at a table with my three nearest and dearest (plus kids) and it was a perfect afternoon of drinking, eating, reading about horses with funny names, placing bets, cheering for horses and clapping like mad when winning $2.40 on a $2 bet. Life is good.
But now I am tucked in on the sofabed, with my alarm set for 3:30 a.m. to head to the airport. I said goodbye to my dad, he needed to turn in early. He's tired. Chemo will do that to a guy. The reality is, this is very likely the last time I'll see my dad alive. And that makes me sad. But I've had an awesome time with him and am really glad I came. And though Carlie doesn't really understand the reality of terminal illness, she was really sad about saying goodbye tonight. She wants to get home and see her own dad (and her cats,) but she said to me "It doesn't feel like we should leave." She might not "know," but she knows. Kids are scary intuitive like that, aren't they?
We head back to reality in a couple of hours with a heart full of good memories and a camera full of photographic evidence of those memories. Carlie learned a lot on this trip, like how to scrap on the street for Mardi Gras beads, how to choose a horse and hedge your bets and not to stand underneath drunk parade riders holding large cups of pina colada... lessons a New Orleans girl needs to learn. And holy shit, I just realized right this moment that we did not do her effing homework, the giant stack of homework she brought with her. Crap.