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May 1, 1991

Posted May 1st, 2010 at 10:34 AM by No. 2

In the wake of the recent events that took place with the Deep Horizon rig in the gulf, today really hits close to me, my family, and my friends. May 1, 1991 was a day that will live with us forever, reminding us all how quickly things can change. I was a kid in North Louisiana and my Dad was working at a chemical plant in Sterlington. You always knew it was dangerous work but just how dangerous never really set in until it's almost too late. I was out of school that day due to the high water across our region and had gone with my step-mother and cousin to the mall for the day. My cousin and I were watching "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (hey, I was a kid) when the movie workers burst into the theater and started asking for me. "What did you do?" my cousin asked. I didn't know, but later, when we walked out into the main part of the mall I knew it wasn't something I'd done, it was much worse. My step-mother was crying, a few strangers trying to console her, and I just remember the light being so bright that I was having trouble focusing on anything. She told me there had been an explosion at the plant and my Dad was not accounted for. I seemed like a lifetime had past before we finally got word he was ok. The day was looking up for us, but on the other end of the parish, my friends life just got worse because his Dad was still missing. Our family gathered at my papa's house for dinner but the A&W hamburgers were barely touched. At close to bedtime we got word that they found Joe's Daddy, but he didn't make it. They were your average family, three in a bunch, and both parents worked to make ends meet. Mr Ronnie was born with polio and walked with a limp but it never slowed him down. He coached youth baseball and the games he didn't couch he umpired. He was a great man and has been dearly missed since that day. Joe is still one of my best friends and I make it a point to talk with him every single May 1. The events of the day never come up, but we both what day it is. Joe's life has been filled with bad times for about ten years after his dad passed, his Mom died in a freak accident. Only one time since either event happened has he said anything. "Two, I don't feel anger toward God about my folks," he said. "I feel blessed to have known them for the short amount for time that they were here." If you know anyone who's lives were torn by the events in the gulf, please don't forget them. The need you, and will forever need that bit of "Hey, how ya been?" call or text on every anniversary from now on. My friendship with Joe has been strong for over 25 years and I intend to keep it that way.
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  1. Old Comment
    Creole's Avatar
    Greg, that explosion affected so many of us in North LA. My friend Jim Shipp lost his life that day. I was teaching at Bastrop High School and remember the explosion rocking the building and then the alternate route that we had to take to get back to Monroe. Jim's wife ran a feed/tack store in Swartz and I one of my best friends worked there. I was in there when they got the word about Jim.

    My friend and I have already talked today about the explosion and how it changed our lives. You are right, it's good to maintain those ties.
    Posted May 1st, 2010 at 01:59 PM by Creole Creole is offline
 

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