Horn of Plenty -- Publisher's Note

Before my infernal bird-chirping, ocean wave-crashing alarm rang, my wife jumped out of bed to make sure the kid’s bathroom door was locked tight against the possible incursion by my youngest daughter. The 6-year-old was scheduled for foot surgery and was not allowed to have anything to drink or eat prior to the operation. My wife was convinced she would forget—drink a glass of water and then the whole thing would have to be rescheduled.

With a thud, I heard the door close and lock. Then our bedroom door opened, the overhead light flashed on and my wife asked in her annoyed voice, “Where is the key to the bathroom? It was right here on the dresser.”

I knew better than to question why she would close and lock the door before she was sure she knew where the key was and was relieved when, before I could work up an answer, she found the key. The rest of the morning went along much the same way—we took a wrong turn on the way to the hospital, I tried to get to the third floor of the parking garage by driving down the inbound ramp instead of up, and so on.

We were a mass of jitters. The specter of having a 6-year-old go under for surgery coupled with the fact that my high school daughter was playing in the state semi-finals for soccer that night had our emotions wandering all over the place, taking our minds and instincts with them.

As we sat in the hospital room watching my youngest daughter (helped by her twin sister) pick out the color of her cast (bright pink) and the flavor of Chapstick (watermelon) she was going to use in the anesthesia mask, I couldn’t help but wonder at how all of these events had come together on the same day.

Some days are like that. They jump up and demand to be noticed and remembered. This one was true to form.

The surgery ended at noon and we were on our way home by 1 p.m.—chock full of popsicles, juice boxes and holding not one, but four brand-new “Big Eyeballs” dolls—two for the patient and two for her twin sister (who felt like visiting the hospital was akin to Christmas morning: everything her sister got—socks, doctor’s hats, popsicles, juice boxes, stickers—she got).

The patient got to work calling her friends over to sign her cast. I actually went to work. And, my wife started organizing for that night’s soccer game.

The rest of the day rushed by, home for dinner, out to vote for the school levy (yes, it was also election day), home to pick up the kids, out to the game, cheer and groan for 80 minutes, hug a stranger, pull a leg muscle (no idea how), and go home happy, ready to head to the state championship game later in the week.

In the end, my daughter’s surgery went well, my other daughter won her game and the school levy passed. We were 3-for-3, which is insane, but awesome. A day we’ll remember, if not forever, at least for a good long while.

All of which brings me to the issue you now hold in your hands. It’s much the same as this crazy day. It’s a veritable cornucopia of just plain awesome stories including our unusual cover story on “Pulling The Plug On Nighttime Programs” and our feature story on how New Orleans City Parks revived Couturie Forest after Hurricane Katrina. I can’t guarantee it will stick with you forever, but I bet you like it a lot and hold on to it for a least a month (as you’ve told us you most often do) or maybe a bit longer.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rodney J. Auth