Category Archives: youth

i live in a small town

pushing throughAhhh small towns, they are wonderful pieces of Americana that, as I have written many times before, seem to be giving way to corporate. That’s where I live, in a small town, New Iberia, Louisiana, a little community that grew up along the Bayou Teche. I am not native to here and neither is my husband, he is from Miami Beach, but we have lived here a long time and  have raised our family here.We are small business owners  also and are always so happy to see the loyal support our community gives local businesses, maintaining some of our  quintessential small town individuality. Anyway, it’s been a nice place to raise our family and continues to be a nice place to be a small business owner.

There are two institutions in this town that I feel an enormous amount of gratitude and indebtedness to, Clementine’s Restaurant and the Iberia Performing Arts League, better known as IPAL to us locals. Both of these hometown establishments have provided wonderful developmental experiences for all five of my children and for that, I am so thankful. Wayne Peltier, owner of Clementine’s, kept my four teenage sons busy on many weekends during high school doing catering jobs on site for Peltier’s and then later, at Clementine’s Restaurant. He hired them at 16 years old with absolutely no experience, their first jobs. I am certain they must have made many mistakes in those early days of employment that paralleled those dubious days of high school  and even in the latter days with experience  but he never made them feel anything but good about themselves, even after major blunders, and there were plenty of those. Wayne Peltier is a former teacher and I think he has never forgotten how critical those times in youth are, how influential the adults are in your life and the experiences that shape you. I cannot speak for anyone else, but for me, he was a wonderful first employer for, and later, a wonderful friend to my four sons.

 The amazing people at IPAL embraced my 13 year old daughter during her first performance of Oklahoma and gave her such a positive perception of Community Theater and the arts. She was able to meet and work with some exceptional personalities and I hope, made some lifelong friends. As Doc Voorhies told me once, “We watched her grow up in the theater”. I will always cherish those words, those people, and those times.

As a mom and teacher, I cannot place enough value on people and places within a community that help with the development of our youth. I believe it is so essential for our small communities to support one another and to pay special attention to our youth; it is cliché’ but, they are the future. And they can be so fragile and misguided in an environment of negativity.

My family owns a small business in town and we too employ youth and are for the most part, their first employers. These kids are minimum wage workers that are, like my kids were, usually inexperienced. They are servers that serve you, the customer. And while, as business owners, we want your experience to always be ideal, sometimes it is not. Just as sometimes you miss the mark, they do also. We have had many moments at our store when it was so incredibly busy that all sense of order was obliterated – for those of you who have never worked in the food industry, I am here to tell you it can be very hectic and frenzied. For the most part, thankfully, our customers are very understanding. They know we are working as hard as we can and are polite to our employees and to us. Sometimes, unfortunately, we have a customer that is not and the server is sadly and consequently demoralized. We have, on occasion, had customers call us privately to tell us about their negative experience and we are always grateful for their input- it’s the sort of criticism that can cause positive results instead of crushing consequences.

It’s tough running a small town business in this era of “big box” but it is so beneficial to a community to keep things local and to create uniqueness – something that is sadly disappearing along the byways and highways of our country.

Again, a public thank you to Wayne Peltier, owner of Clementine’s, and the kindred spirits that comprise IPAL for all you have done and continue to do for our youth and our community. These are the types of places and organizations that keep small towns alive and help to shape our youth and grow our communities. I write this just to emphasis their value and perhaps raise a bit of awareness.

2012

2012

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chinese proverb

The weekend is winding down, as a matter of fact; this blog entry will be the last cognitive task I will perform until Monday morning. The week end was a good one but I find myself being robbed of time – I cannot seem to accomplish as much in a day as I once did and it is such an unpleasant realization – this is not what I imagined, this getting older stuff. I have had to lower the bar just a bit on what I hope to do during the day. I suppose this will become a normal setting for me soon but for now, it is a funny feeling. To counter this bit of less endurance I am going to rev up my plan to simplify and try to get rid of some of these shackles that I acquired in my youth. I am appalled at the amount of stuff I have – ashamed really, these things are nothing but anchors in my life – things to see about, things to rob me of time and money that I have to spend maintaining worthless pieces of inorganic material. I don’t care much for TV but I like to drink a cup of coffee and watch House Hunters International in the afternoon – enjoying glimpses of faraway places and cultures. I am always taken with the amount of small spaces international buyers are okay with and, in contrast, the enormous amount of space Americans “need”. We are leaving such big footprints and as I’ve said before, I played that game in my youth and I am so regretful. I regret it on all levels – the most being the example I have given my kids. Lucky for me, however, it seems they are, for the most part, not overly concerned with materialism, they are much smarter than me  – anyway, there is a Chinese proverb about planting a tree, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”  I missed the first train but I’m jumping on board now.
just an image from long ago  that makes me happy







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now

It’s so wonderful now, now that it doesn’t matter if the paint is peeling or the whatumacallit is broken or if it is rusty or squeaky or missing or crooked; it only matters that it is there and that I have time and energy to clean it. To tidy it up. I have given up trying to replace things that are old and used; I now enjoy them. I have released this wasteful preoccupation of my youth where I thought the surface of things, literally, were important enough to have (steal) my time and my money. I love this place I am in now, it is so much more comforting and pleasurable and it is as it should be. The patina should wear off of the tables just as I lose the color in my hair and the arbor should lean just a bit from bundles of wisteria that were once there just I lean ever so slightly from the weight of motherhood and 56 years of life. It is how it all happens, time and wear, bending, breaking, but with it emerges a deeper splendor, one that is so much easier to be with than the beauty of youth, not as exciting perhaps, but far less anxious and demanding. I like it here.
 I think about my grandmother and how she lived in a tiny two bedroom house with one bathroom and a wringer washer where she raised 5 children and then my mother who had a three bedroom house with two bathrooms and an electric washer and dryer and only 3 children. I remember how my grandmother, her mother, would fuss about having so much when she would come to visit – so many clothes, so many things. I have more than my mother and having more means having less (time). My grandmother had time to sit on the porch every afternoon to visit with whoever walked by or stopped in; my mother had coffee nearly every weekday afternoon with her best friend, Flo. I, rarely do either of those things – too much stuff. Okay, I have to stop, I am depressing myself. I will work on this; I am determined to spend this chapter of my life beneath the surface.
Their They’re There
It’s not that hard
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