Taking a Step Back

I just read a post over at the Imperfect Mommy that made me do just that … take a step back. I left a comment over there about my thoughts … I will repeat some of it here. She posts about her sadness and the overwhelming feelings associated with Hurricane Katrina and the devastation in New Orleans. She mentioned that I had just been there and how lovely I thought it looked. I’ve been to New Orleans twice in my life. The first time, I was a senior at WVU and we went down with friends to watch WVU play Florida in the Sugar Bowl — oh, and to throw down seriously in the French Quarter — other than getting crushed in the game it was perhaps the best few days of my college career. Then, just this past February I went down for the NLII conference and the city looked amazing. Everything looked wonderful and I came back telling everyone just how amazing it was. Reading her post I was reminded of one of my evening there. This is want I had to say to her post …

The food was amazing, but the thing that blew me away was an uncharacteristically late night — considering I was presenting as part of a keynote panel the next morning — in which I went to this small (and I mean small) piano bar in the Quarter with two new friends. It was of the oldest buildings in the city and I think they said it was the oldest bar (or building that a bar is in) in the country … it was this tiny little old blacksmith space … enough room for the bartender, a small bar, and a grand piano … at that piano there was an old man playing (Johnny) the most beautiful jazz you could imagine. He was telling us stories about the good old days when he played with the legends. Amazing … he asked for requests and I slipped him a piece of paper with “The Girl from Ipanema” on it. He just looked up, smiled, and proceeded to just knock it out of the park. All I could do was think, “man this is almost perfect — where’s my wife?”

That was a great time … I had hoped to take my wife there, slip Johnny my request, and find a tiny slice of the wide plank wood floor to dance with her. Here’s to N’Orleans … and here’s to Johnny. He’s in my thoughts, that’s for sure … Johnny?

Tall and tan and young and lovely, The girl from Ipanema goes walking, And when she passes each one she passes goes “a-a-ah!” When she walks she’s like a samba that, Swings so cool and sways so gentle, That when she passes each one she passes goes “a-a-ah!”

Oh, but I watch her so sadly, How can I tell her I love her? Yes, I would give my heart gladly. But each day when she walks to the sea, She looks straight ahead not at me.

Tall and tan and young and lovely, The girl from Ipanema goes walking, And when she passes I smile, but she doesn’t see, She just doesn’t see, No she doesn’t see

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