Slidell Magazine - June 2022

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Vol. 140 June 2022


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Oksana Fogg is from a small coastal town on the Black Sea in Ukraine. Due to her parents’ and husband’s work, she has had the opportunity to live in a number of countries, experiencing different cultures and nature. She moved to New Orleans in 2004. She always wanted to be able to express and share her experiences. Oksana started painting several years ago, attending a local community art class in Jefferson Parish. Painting has become her true passion and she has dedicated her free time to pursuing the dream of becoming an accomplished artist. She has studied at New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts and her specialties are life oil portraits, still lives and landscapes. She is discovering magical local nature with an easel and a paint brush. Oksana has won many awards at the Academy and in local art competitions. She also has been nominated for Artist of the Year by New Orleans Art Association. Her work will be featured with three other artists in a show at the Slidell Cultural Center opening on June 24, 2022.

Kendra Maness, Editor / Publisher

I’m a huge fan of the TV series The Big Bang Theory. I’ve seen every episode, some of them probably five times or more. The show’s reruns are on everyday at my home, playing in the background while I cook and eat dinner and clean the kitchen. I’m not so much watching it, as I am simply enjoying the company of the quirky characters I’ve gotten to know so well over the years. It’s akin to having your favorite music playlist, with the sounds of the program in the house to fill the void of living alone.

At the end of every episode is a “vanity card.” A vanity card is a full-screen production company credit that airs for one or two seconds at the end of a TV show. You may remember one of the more popular vanity cards, airing for years after Family Ties and Spin City, that showed a black labrador retriever with a frisbee in his mouth and a voiceover saying, “Sit, Ubu. Sit. Good dog!” followed by a bark.

Chuck Lorre was the producer of The Big Bang Theory, along with several other well-known sit-coms. The unique vanity cards for Chuck Lorre Productions have become his trademark, starting with Dharma & Greg and used for every one of his shows since.

Each of Lorre’s vanity cards include a different message that reads like an editorial, essay, or observation on life. They vary greatly on topics: What his thoughts are on the national economy, what the Bee Gees never learned, the competence of his studio executives, a rambling narrative of existentialist thoughts, and more.

The card is shown for only a few seconds, so they require the viewer to pause at the right spot, or visit his website where they’re all posted. I’ve read through them and they range from insightful to hilarious to depressing. Alas, the tortured soul of an artist!

What impressed me the most was the fact that he’s written over 700 of these. That’s dedication. I’ve written 140 or so Editor’s Letters that have, at times, attempted the same type of wisdom, humor and dribble as Mr. Lorre does in his vanity cards. My favorite of his cards is #460: “I’ve had four months to write this vanity card. Four months. Sad.”

I hear you Mr. Lorre. By the end of production, it feels like all your creative energy has been spent. I get frustrated when this entire magazine of excellent content written by talented literary artists is delayed because I can’t find the right 450 words to fill my simple little soliloquy and go to print. Only 20 words to go...

Check out for a sampling of the genius babblings of a successful television producer.

PO Box 4147 Slidell, LA 70459 985-789-0687 MAGAZINE STAFF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kendra Maness Editor / Publisher Michael
John Case “The Storyteller” Kendra Maness Extraordinary Slidell Neighbors Mike Rich Making Cents of Your Money Donna Bush Equine Reflections John Case Advice from a Grandfather Ronda M. Gabb Legal-Ease subscriptions only $39 / year! Visit our website to subscribe, view current & past editions, view advertising rates & more!
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Editor’s Letter

James Donald O’Bryan & Nancy O’Bryan celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past March. I’ve known only a few couples to pass this huge milestone, so I yearned to know - what is the secret to such a successful marriage? While munching on Subway sandwiches at their beautiful Slidell home, my wonderful friends delighted me with more memories than these pages could contain. Through their stories, the answer was clear. Dedication. To each other, to family and faith, to your country and to your community.

Their life together was not an easy one; military life never is. However, they are an example of how, if you work hard and aim high, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

Marital strength is a common theme for the O’Bryan’s. Nancy’s parents were married 71 years, and Don’s were married for 60. Both Don & Nancy were raised to be successful and independent, traits that run strong in their children, grandchildren and now, great-grandchildren.

They were married in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Nancy Neubauer grew up the youngest of five children. Even as the

baby of the family, Nancy’s independent streak and tenacity were strong. Breaking the stereotype of most 1950’s women, Nancy decided to go to college. “My father worked for Southern Railway and was transferred my senior year in high school to Washington, D.C. I did not want to move. So, I lived with a girlfriend and her parents so I could go to Our Lady of Cincinnati College.” She graduated with a degree in Home Economics, with plans to become a teacher.

Nancy was a junior in college when she met the handsome, recent college graduate, Don O’Bryan. Don grew up in Owensboro, KY and was also from a family of five, all boys! Don’s strong ambitions led him to join the Marine Reserves when he was a senior in high school. From there, he headed to the University of Dayton, OH and joined their ROTC program, one of the oldest and longest running programs in the country. He continued to serve in the Reserves through college and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant when he graduated with a degree in Business Marketing.

Don had a 6-month window between

graduation and active duty, so he got a job in Cincinnati at a department store in the children’s department. A co-worker’s girlfriend had a lovely single friend, Nancy, who needed a date for her college Junior prom. And, the rest, as they say, is history. But it almost wasn’t...

Don called shortly after the prom to make another date, but Nancy had already made plans for a card game with her girlfriends. “When I make a commitment, I keep it,” Nancy said, laying her hand emphatically on the kitchen table. “She turned me down,” Don laughs. “That was it. I didn’t plan on calling again.”

Thank God for Nancy’s tenacity... and a sister with 12 children! “My sister had another baby and I needed to buy a baby present,” Nancy says innocently, as they both giggle. As I started to ask the obvious question, she stopped me with, “Oh, yes, it was as purposeful as you can get!” The couple had a few more dates before summer, which marked Nancy’s college graduation and her return to her family in Washington, D.C.

Don left for his duty station in Virginia, about 200 miles away. His 1954 Plymouth

There is no more consistent, pregnant, dynamic forum for instruction about life than the family, because that is exactly what God designed the family to be, a learning community. - Paul David Tripp
A biography by Kendra Maness Don & Nancy O’Bryan

would make many trips to D.C. over the next six months before he left for Germany. Nancy and Don had fallen in love.

Nancy continued to work, first at the Pentagon and then at a large department store selling gloves. For the 20 months that Don was in Germany, they couldn’t see or talk to each other. “We wrote a lot of letters,” Nancy says. Don adds, “We still have them. Every letter that was ever written, from every place I was stationed. All of them!” For Nancy’s birthday that year, her parents gifted her a $9/minute phone call to Don in Germany. What a treat!

Nancy worked her way up to become an assistant buyer at the department store. Don came home from Germany as a civilian and moved directly to Washington, D.C. to be close to Nancy. “I had a degree, but I didn’t see how I could make a living at it, so I wanted to try it. I knew I could go active duty if I wanted to because I had a very good record.” He began training as the buyer in the carpet department of a different department store. The couple’s relationship flourished, as did Don’s relationship with Nancy’s family. “They were the only people I knew. I picked her up every morning and brought her home from work every day, and made sure she became a success,” Don says with a laugh. “I had bought a Porche over in Germany and had it shipped to Washington. The prices were cheaper there and part of the relocation from the Army included free shipping.” Nancy rolled her eyes, saying, “That Porche hated me. I couldn’t even start it.”

Don proposed in front of the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials where all the cherry blossoms bloom. They were married 10 months after his return.

Looking at their wedding photos, Don smiles, “She’s a gorgeous lady, isn’t she?” Nancy sewed her own wedding dress, an intricate, lace-topped gown with a flowing bottom. She brought out the dress to show me. “I covered every single button with fabric and there are tons of them! I look at it now and think, how did I do that? But

I did it again for four of my daughters. And I made most of the kids’ clothing too.” Now, 60 years later, Nancy’s beautiful seamstress talents will be on display again, as daughter Donna uses pieces of the dress to create pouches for gifts to give out at their anniversary party this June. “We look at it like this -- here’s where it all started. So, we wanted everyone to have a piece of where it all began.”

The couple returned to their jobs until, Nancy says, “One day, Don asked, ‘What do you think if I went back into the Army?’ I said, ‘What is that?’ I knew nothing about the Army.”

Don rejoined and, soon thereafter, they moved to Fort Benning, GA for his active duty. There were more than 120,000 military-involved personnel there and “Army life” was a completely new experience for Nancy. Thankfully, the colonel’s wife took Nancy under her wing and showed her the ropes. “I liked military life and I meshed quite well. We lived on base in government quarters that were set up in apartments next to each other. So, the guys went to work every day and, if you didn’t have a baby, you got to know at least those 6 ladies.” Soon, Nancy and Don had their first child, Julie, with daughter Donna following just 13 months later.

About motherhood, Nancy says, “I had no problems, except that Julie wouldn’t sleep unless you were holding her. My mother & father had come down to help

and my mom said, ‘You need to give her just a little teaspoon of Bourbon in her bottle’ because that’s what they did back then. I didn’t want to do that. So, Don got a vibrating pillow and put it underneath one leg of the crib and she slept like a champ.”

When it came to fatherhood, Don smiled as he recalled, “I thought it was pretty neat! I grew up in a community surrounded by my relatives and all of them had kids. It was a very active, family community and a farming community, so there were a lot of kids. It was second nature to have kids around.”

Meanwhile, Don’s career got an unexpected and fortuitous boost. “Here I am, brand new, a First Lieutenant and I became an Adjutant.” The role made Don an administrative assistant to the Lieutenant Colonel, a very esteemed position with a lot of responsibility. Don says, “That was the start of a whole career with a lot of responsibility.”

Nancy was pregnant with their third daughter, Annette, when Don left for Vietnam. Seeing my surprise that Don would be shipped out with a pregnant wife at home, Nancy quotes a saying that she heard early on in their military life, “If the Army wanted you to have a wife, they would’ve issued you one,” and they both laughed heartily.

It was 1964 and, as Don notes, “There were fewer than 15,000 soldiers in Vietnam then. My unit got over there in September before the Gulf of Tonkin and that’s basically when the war started.” His career continued its upward trajectory as he was named Headquarter Commander and Adjutant for the battalion.

Nancy moved back to Cincinnati to be closer to her parents and her sister who had 12 children. “There was a lot of family support and A LOT of birthday parties!”

The letters resumed. Calls came about every two months and with great effort. Don says, “For me to call home, I had to go up to Saigon to the telecommunications area

Nancy Neubauer & Don O’Bryan’s high school graduation pictures

there, go to the top of the building and stand in line for what was basically a ham operator.” Nancy laughs as she remembers, “Over…over…over...”

After 12 months, Don came home, reuniting with Nancy and the kids and meeting his 5-month-old daughter for the first time. His orders brought the family to Fort Eustis, VA. Soon after, daughter number four, Karen, was born. Don was a Captain now and became a Company Commander. “That was the most interesting tour I had served in my life. We were trying to build up the military to go into Vietnam. We didn’t have the forces available to go there to do what we needed to do. It’s just like the Russians now. We needed a lot of troops. We had to activate units and they were drafting people like crazy and pumping them out of Basic. A typical company would have maybe 200-250 people in it. So, I became Commander of a company that had 800 people in it. I had no officers and it was very difficult. I had more people in my company than the rest of the battalion had in it.”

Don was proving again to be an over-achiever, but it was a big job that left limited time for his family. He patted Nancy’s hand across the table. “Nancy’s always been there to assist me in every way possible. It was very trying, but we survived.” How did Nancy feel? “It’s life! I have no feelings about that. Did I ever get up in the morning and say, God, I can’t do this anymore? No! You make friends. I could say to a neighbor, ‘Can you watch my kids for 30 minutes so I can go get some things?’ And I’d do it for them too. Sometimes I had 4 kids in the house, sometimes I’d have 6. I really have no complaints whatsoever about military life. It was a very good life.”

Don interjects, “People help people. They do. Just like you see here in Slidell.”

After eight busy months, Don turned over the unit and the family moved to Ft. Lee, VA for Don to attend Company Grade Officer’s Course, although he already had LOTS of experience.

From there, the kids and Nancy moved to Kentucky to be with Don’s parents while he went to Okinawa to get set-up for the family to join him. It was Nancy’s first time out of country. The house came with a maid, who doubled as a babysitter. Nancy laughs, “I didn’t ask any questions! She was lovely.”

Don was recruited to another esteemed position, as the Commanding General’s aide. “I enjoyed it and was very good at it. He was a great general, great mentor, and I learned a lot about leadership.” Soon, Don was promoted to Major and appointed as Secretary of the General Staff.

Nancy notes, “I joined the Officer’s Wives Club for the first time in Okinawa, they were very active in foreign countries.” The group would take day trips on the island, visit hospitals and have picnics with their kids. The O’Bryan family enjoyed the Japanese culture and new experiences. Except, of course, their first earthquake. “It scared the daylights out of us! Don and I were downtown in a department store in the chandelier department, of all places! Man, we booked it out of that store!”

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From Okinawa, the family moved back to Cincinnati where they bought their first home. Don got the family settled in before he left for a year-long tour as Assistant Commander in Thailand. Communication between the couple had been upgraded to cassette tapes that were mailed back and forth. “That way, the girls could talk to Daddy and they could hear his voice. And he could hear Jim crying and crying,” Nancy laughs.

The O’Bryan’s son, Jim, was born while Don was in Thailand and was seven-months old when his dad returned home. “The girls thought he was a baby doll,” Nancy quips. “At bath time, I would put the tub on the kitchen table and I had four little girls around the tub, watching him. It was fun for them.”

The family packed up once again and headed to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas for Don to attend Command and General Staff College. Subsequently, he was sent to the University of Arkansas for graduate studies. “I was very motivated and moved very fast in the military. I got a lot of promotions,” Don notes.

When Don graduated, they went to Ft. Lee, VA again, and Nancy became pregnant with their sixth child. “I had had a garage sale there and sold every bit of baby equipment that I owned because there were 5 years with no babies. Then, along came Mary,” she laughed.

Soon, Don was assigned to the Pentagon and served on the Deputy Chief of Staff of Logistics. “I was the Army mobility planner. I moved Army people and equipment. It was fascinating and challenging. My favorite part was that I was in a Joint Staff study group that was setting up the future of the Army and all the services, as far as mobility, to move wherever they wanted in the world. Everything that the Army later did in Desert One. We didn’t know what we would need at the time, but we positioned equipment for any need all over the world. We did war games all the time and it really paid off for our troops in later years.”

By the time the family was transferred to Korea, Don was a Lieutenant Colonel and father of seven, as daughter Kathie had been born. The couple giggles at the memory, “When they met us in Seoul, they had a bus for us and a 2 ½ ton truck for our luggage!” The family of nine was joined by their Miniature Dachshund, Klinker, named after Colonel Klink from the popular TV show, Hogan’s Heroes

The whole family loved their two years in Korea. Don was in charge of a battalion of 1200, but he welcomed the opportunity and challenge. Nancy had another maid, which allowed her the chance to get very involved in the Officer’s Wives Club and oversee a small gift store. For the kids, life in the military and the constant moves offered adventures. “It was easy for the kids to make friends, even though they moved from school to school. They were all very athletic and involved with soccer, volleyball and all of them were on the swim team.” Through sports, the kids traveled to different countries for competitions. “The kids learned so much through experience that they would never learn out of a book,” Nancy said.

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Things were going extremely well in Don’s career and his next assignment would bring him back to the Pentagon for a classified position with the Joint Chiefs of Staff office of Logistics. After about a year, Don was selected to become a Colonel, but he had another goal in mind. “At this time, you start making decisions based on monetary needs. That was driving my decisions. I had to get the necessary income to support my family the way that I felt they should be supported. Now, I’m not thinking about my career. I’m thinking of them. But we really loved military life. I would do it all over again.” Nancy chimes in, “I would too!”

After a 26-year Army career, Don was now a civilian. He went to work for Bell Aerospace (known here as Textron Marine Systems) and, after dropping off their oldest daughter at college in Cincinnati, the family moved to Buffalo, New York. Don’s military experience was crucial in his

civilian career, and he eventually worked up to become Program Manager for the division that sold hovercraft to the Army. The family built a home and finally settled in. “When I was with Bell Aerospace, I traveled a lot, but I don’t think I missed a half dozen games of the kids when they were in high school. I made it a point. It was a passion of mine to be there. And they all appreciated that.”

“We did everything as a family. Sports, vacations, everything. Even when the kids were in college and high school and had jobs, we did everything together as much as possible,” Don says, nodding. “To this day, the kids are their own best friends. When we get together, there is no bickering, they just giggle and carry on.”

I asked about their parenting style. Don says, “We pushed them a bit and just gave them the opportunity to be as good as we

thought they could be. We never pushed them to the point where they would turn against an education. We also encouraged sports. Sports are a catalyst for other things and all of them have been pretty damn good athletes. They knew what they wanted and they went for it. That’s what life is. Do what you want to do, as long as you are bettering yourself.”

Nancy adds, “I was not over-protective. Things that happened, they happened and they’re forgotten, I don’t dwell. If the kids misbehaved, it was not always thrown back at them. It was over. ‘Ok, you screwed up. That’s life!’ I think I was pretty much laid back.”

The family made their final move, to Slidell, six years later, in 1986. Don shivers, “I got so damn cold up there. I’ll never move any further north than here!”

At the time of the move, Nancy was

1.) The O’Bryan family in 1983. Left-right (back row): Annette, Julie, Jim, Donna, Karen (front row): Don, Nancy, Kathie, Mary. 2.) A family trip to Disney in a Rent-A-Wreck RV for Christmas. 3.) Sight-seeing in Taegue, Korea in 1981. 1.) Nancy & Don on their honeymoon. In preparation for their anniversary party, the girls tried to recreate this picture of their parents. Don says, “We laughed so hard! It was hysterical. We got down and couldn’t get back up!” 2.) Captain James Donald O’Bryan, 1966, Ft. Eustis, GA 3.) Nancy pins Don at his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 1976.

undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. It was the first serious health scare for any of the nine family members. “We were blessed with good health,” Nancy says. “I still get a little nervous, almost like a PTSD, when I feel something; but I’ve been clear for a long time now.”

Their move to Eden Isles was the first time the family had lived on the water, and they took advantage of every moment. “We bought a boat and all learned to water ski. It was beautiful. We loved it.”

Now that the kids were older and some had headed off to college (all of the kids are very well educated, with 5 of them obtaining Master’s Degrees or more), Nancy and Don began to enjoy some hobbies and do more charitable work in the community. Don had always “fiddled” with woodworking. “I’ve been making sawdust for 40 years and I love to do it,” he says, downplaying the beautiful craftmanship of his woodworking that is seen throughout their home. Nancy continued to hone her skills at stained glass, an art she learned from a neighbor in Buffalo. Their house, and their children’s homes, are now showcases for Nancy’s incredible stained-glass pieces.

Don spent 7 more years with Bell before he and a few partners struck out on their own, launching a company that used hover technology for transportation in the oil industry. This new business proved to be Don’s biggest challenge yet. Nancy says, “They were so ahead of the rest of the world. The oil companies just couldn’t

grasp the technology.” Don adds, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” After 11 years, Don finally retired.

After retirement, Don and Nancy dedicated their lives to their community, their faith and their family. Nancy was a Slidell Newcomers member for over 20 years, with Don serving as the King of their ball in 2001. Don joined Leadership Slidell and took the lead on a project that brought the informational and lifesaving 2-1-1 system to the Slidell area. Nancy volunteered at Good Samaritan Ministries until the COVID pandemic, and now serves as a Eucharistic Minister for St. Luke’s Church. Don became an extremely active member of the Rotary Club of Slidell Northshore, winning Rotarian of the Year twice. He also led the Rotary Rebuilds Project after Hurricane Katrina, obtaining millions of dollars in funding and overseeing the rebuild of 13 different charity locations in Slidell. For this, he was recognized with Rotary International’s highest honor, the Service Above Self Award. Don also served as a commissioner on the St. Tammany Fire District 1 Board where he played an integral part in the turnaround that brought the organization from near bankruptcy to financial stability. The impact that the O’Bryan’s have had on our community is simply staggering.

With 60 years of marriage, seven children, 16 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren (so far), what is their secret to a happy marriage?

They both chimed in, “You have to think with a ‘we’ mindset. There is no ‘me’ or ‘mine’, everything is ‘ours.’ You can’t be selfish. We’ve done so many things together and have been together for so long, after a while you just start to have the same ideas and think alike.”

Don glances again at Nancy’s pictures spread across the table. “She really is a lovely lady. She will go out of her way to help somebody, as opposed to trying to take care of herself. She’s always been that way.”

Nancy reflects, “I think one of the things I like best is his stability. Even though he was gone a lot, it was his stability that held our family together. He is the head of this big family, and he did a good job.”

Indeed, they both have done a good job. Don and Nancy O’Bryan have much to be proud of.

Congratulations Don and Nancy on 60 years of marriage and many lifetimes of memories. Thank you both for inspiring so many of us to live each day for each other.

1) Proud parents at daughter Annette’s 1988 wedding. 2.)Nancy was a member of Slidell Newcomers for 20 years, with Don serving as their King in 2001. 3.) Smooches to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012 aboard a cruise ship with family & friends
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The Storyteller


One of the comments about my stories is that they are often too serious. They deal with accidents, death, poverty, cemeteries, and the hard things of life. I cannot change my style and, when I try, it is a disaster. I like to do research; for example, the story of George Baragona and Captain Charles McVay. I also like to remember how things were. Not that they were better then, it’s just that they include memories of people and places that are no longer there. You see, here I go again, being morbid and reflective. Believe it or not, my childhood was not dysfunctional, and some memorable things happened on the light side.

My mother was thirty-six years old when I was born. It was 1947 and the Depression was still going on in Mississippi; or at least it was at Rt. 2 Box 5, Bogue Chitto, Mississippi. Living on a very limited income and already having two children, when mother found out she was pregnant, she went into her own mental depression and I assume she stayed that way until I was born.

I was not what they now call a “planned pregnancy.” Under these circumstances, and after I was born, she always whispered to her friends that I was her “Little Accident.”

Remember now, I was too young to contemplate what she meant, but I was old enough to know that accidents are not good. Can you imagine growing up being known as the Little Accident? How would this make you feel, knowing you were something bad or at least unplanned? This has certainly shaped my personality and given me the complexes that I have today.

Before Mom passed away a few years back at 102, when I would visit her, she sometimes seemed confused. She might momentarily ask me who I was. One time, I told her that I was her Little Accident. A smile crossed her face and then a hearty laugh. It was a smile I had not seen in sometime. She remembered.

Now if you think that being the “Little Accident” is bad, you need to hear about my friend who happened to be born the same day I was. His mother had gotten in a “family way” pre-matrimony. That was a little more unusual back then than it is now; especially in the Bible belt, where there were more churches than people. But, even devout Christians were not immune from the sins of the flesh.

She concocted the story that the doctor said she had a fatal disease that could only be cured by her having a baby.

1 W r B s o u s f New O l

She told the neighbors she was impregnated with a test tube. Of course, the child was known as the Test Tube baby and gossiped about among the adults. As we got older, we heard this from our parents and we repeated what we heard. We first called him Test Tube and then just “The Tube.”

These were the days before you had fancy water toys for swimming and it was the time when the only place we had to swim was in the creek. We always took an inner tube from a car tire with us to float on. There was an inner tube up on the bank, and so was our friend “The Tube” (whose real name was Reuben). Someone yelled, “Throw in the tube.”

Half a dozen kids ran towards Reuben and threw him in the water. By this time, much like Johnny Cash’s song, “A Boy Named Sue,” he had learned to get mean or die; and, on that day, he had come of age. Not a one of us left that creek without a black eye.

Rueben is deceased now, but when I pass his grave, I have the urge to write “The Tube” on the monument, but I never have. At least I haven’t yet.

There was a tenant farmer that lived on the hill in a pasture across from my house. He sharecropped for my grandfather and just happened to be extremely superstitious. He planted his garden according to the moon, would go home and start again if a black cat crossed his path, would not step on a crack in the sidewalk...well, you get the picture. All the kids enjoyed visiting him as he was a storyteller extraordinaire; and, when we were young, we put more faith in his stories than we did the truths told to us by our parents. As we got older, he became the object of several pranks that took advantage of his simple beliefs that he held to be truths.

The high school was building a new track and it was being covered with a finely crushed red substance. It was almost like sand. I think they called it a Red Dog Track, but it was the latest and greatest thing of the time. We heisted a five gallon bucket of this material and, when Eli was not home, we sprinkled it all over his porch and around his house. We drew some signs of no real meaning in the dust and left. That particular evening,

Eli stayed out late drinking. Since he had no electricity, he did not notice the red dust when he came home that night. The next morning, it was apparent that he discovered the material since we saw that he had hitched his mule to a slide, loaded all of his few possessions on it, and was headed down the road. He left his crop in the field, and half that crop was my grandfather’s. My grandfather heard he was gone and drove down the road to entice him to come back. By this time, Eli was about a mile from home. He explained that some evil spirit had visited him in the night and he had to leave. After much persuading, my grandfather tied the mule to a tree and drove Eli back home.

He told Eli to wait at his house while he went to see someone. Eli would have no part of that, so when my grandfather drove into our yard, Eli was as close to him as his shadow.

“Johnny, come here.”

I minded my grandfather. He asked if I knew anything about the stuff left on Eli’s porch. I didn’t lie; I never did lie to him. All three of us left with a broom and a shovel. I was let out at the house to clean up while my grandfather drove Eli to retrieve his mule and belongings.

We received no real punishment for our prank, but we were not allowed to visit Eli anymore. However, we did, just one more time…

It was about two years later. We caught some carpenter bees and put them in a jar. We then lightly sprayed them with silver spray paint. We discovered that they could fly for about five minutes before they died or the paint hardened and they could no longer fly.


We caught some more and headed for Eli’s house. Just out of sight, we sprayed the bees and then called Eli to come outside just as we released the bees. He had the same fear on his face that he did that time we put the red powder on his porch. He mumbled some bible scripture about entertaining angels unaware, and angels had silver wings. He then ran inside and bolted the door.

I am told he went to church that Sunday and never missed church again. He became a faithful member until his death about a year later. I suppose that somehow I contributed to his salvation and something good did come out of our childish pranks.

My Last Whipping

My daddy seldom used corporal punishment on his kids. When he did, however, it was not a spanking, it was a whooping. He used a razor strop. Not to be disrespectful of him, but he never really did hurt us. He mostly hurt our feelings, and left our butts a little warm and red. After Eli died, no one ever moved into that house again. Well, someone did, but that is another story too. Soon the eaves of the house served as a weather-protected place for wasps to build their nests. Wasps build a paper-like nest, with hundreds, maybe thousands, of cells in it. In each cell, they lay an egg. Then the egg grows to be a white, wormlike larvae that makes excellent fish bait. In those days, even though you were supposed to, you did not have to have a driver’s license to drive. If you could reach the pedals, you were good enough to go. My dad had a Willy’s Jeep station wagon. It was a precursor of the modern day SUV. During the week, he drove it about thirty miles to the construction site where he was employed and

usually had three or four other men that he gave rides to for a small fee.

On the weekends, I could occasionally use it. I was about thirteen at the time. My friend and I decided to take the jeep fishing one day, but first we had to get some bait. Robbing a wasp nest, though more dangerous, was easier than digging for worms, so we headed to Eli’s now-abandoned house. We burned the live wasps off and took the nest back to the jeep and put it in the glove compartment. Like most kids, after a little while, we lost interest in going fishing. But we did not remember to remove the wasp nest.

I suppose a week or so passed and, on the way to work one morning, one of the men opened the glove compartment. Hundreds of wasps had hatched and were just dying to take their first flight.

I don’t think I have to explain the rest. I did not ask many questions; but later that day, the razor strop was hung on a nail where it stayed until my dad’s death in 1994.

The Parrot That Stopped Church Service

Going to church was a social thing back in the 50’s. I am sure that salvation was garnered by those who attended, at least some of them; but, by in large, I think people went because there was nothing else to do except work. We went Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night. In the summer, we went to a revival meeting every night for maybe two weeks. Church was big in our lives.

Our church was located the second building off the corner. There was a house that was located in the second lot on the street perpendicular to ours. In other words, his back yard backed up to the back of the church.

The owner was a merchant marine and had traveled all over the world. At some time, he had brought home a giant


parrot. In the spring and summer, it was kept in a large wooden cage directly behind the sanctuary.

Ole Joe had been around sailors too much and had picked up some pretty fowl language. The singing in our service seemed to set him off and he would answer our string of sacred hymns with a loud and repeated, “Awww sh--, Awww sh--.” He would continue repeating this for a long time.

One of the adults in our church must have had some knowledge of behavioral conditioning and Pavlov’s dogs. He asked three of us boys to take water guns and, when Ole Joe cut loose, soak him with the water gun.

This sounded like fun. Well, Ole Joe had the ability to make his voice, or at least his inflections, sound like the person he heard talking. When Ole Joe started cursing, we opened up on him. One of the boys yelled, “Take this Joe, take this!”

Joe responded with the f-bomb in my friend’s voice. Church dismissed early that day.

Some of the church officials visited with Joe’s owner to see what could be done about Ole Joe’s bad behavior. At first the owner was resentful, and the committee reminded him that we had an anti-profanity ordinance in town. For awhile, it looked like the matter was headed to court. I can see the headlines of the newspaper now: Does a Parrot have First Amendment Rights?

An agreement was finally made with the owner to keep him inside while the service was being held and the legality of the parrot and his freedom of speech was never decided. I understand Old Joe lived about fifteen more years.

Church was much more fun when Ole Joe was around.

“We had such a fantastic experience with Dr. Triola. She came in after hours to deal with an emergency and repair my child’s tooth. Cannot thank her enough! She was kind and helped ease my child’s anxiety. ”

Jenni M. Triola, DMD

A Crystal Ball for Investing?

Several weeks ago, Mary and I spent a long weekend in Tallahassee at my daughter’s house. We enjoyed spending time with everyone, especially our grandsons, Rex and Maxwell. Maxwell was particularly excited about showing us his Magic 8 Ball. As you can see, his ball is blue, so it’s not the genuine article. When I asked it if I would ever grow more hair on my head, it answered “Consult me later.” So much for knock-offs.

Magic 8 Balls – even if they’re fake –are fun to play with, but I can predict the future without one. For example, I predict that the future is going to be uncertain, things are going to change, wars will begin and end, and babies will wet their diapers. Financial markets will go up and down, investments will gain and lose value, and inflation will be either higher or lower than it is today.

My predictions might not be earthshattering, but they’re just as good as those that are made every day by Wall Street analysts who are convinced that they know a company’s future earnings to the penny and that you should hitch your investment wagon to their recommendations.

I’ll let you in on a secret: they don’t have a clue.

I, on the other hand, can make one prediction about saving for the future that is likely to be true for folks like us: it doesn’t really matter if your portfolio contains Apple or Tesla or Ford or the stock of any other company that an analyst insists you buy. What matters is that your investments are positioned across a variety of asset classes and that you are investing properly for your risk tolerance, goals, and time horizon. There are no guarantees, of course, but

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investing doesn’t have to be as complicated as the so-called experts say it is.

Here’s another prediction. If you start early, the greatest gift you have when investing for the long-term is time, and I have a great example. I met with clients a few weeks ago whose minor child is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy worth about $80,000. My clients wanted some ideas about how to invest the money. Just for grins, I calculated how the money might grow over the next 40 years at an average rate of return of 8%. The result: more than $1.7 million! It’s not fast and it’s not magic, it’s just math. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it helps a lot if you have an advisor to manage risk and keep you on track when the stock market goes up and down.1

If you already have a nice nest egg in an IRA or 401(k), congratulations, but your work is not done yet. Income

If you would like to avoid the Magic 8 Ball approach to investing and retirement planning, call me for an appointment.

I predict that your time with me will be well-spent.

1This is a hypothetical example and is not representative of any specific situation. Your results will vary. The hypothetical rate of return used does not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.

Securities and Advisory Services are offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA, SIPC.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general

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Pearl River - Honey Island Swamp

On June 11, the Town of Pearl River invites you to an all-day celebration to mark the grand re-opening of the Pearl River-Honey Island Swamp Museum & Research Center. The day will be a busy one, beginning at 10AM with a bridge dedication of the Spur 41 Bridge, in memory of recently-passed Pearl River mayor, David McQueen. From there, the festivities span throughout the heart of the town, with tours of the Museum & Research center, bands in the park, and food trucks and Jeeps lining the streets.

The re-opening of the museum is the achievement of one of Mayor McQueen’s goals. The cedar sided building was built in 2007 and was modeled after the buildings and homes of the swamp from days gone by. Funding came from state grants and the Town of Pearl River. The museum stopped tours in 2018, for unknown reasons.

The idea for a museum was born during Pearl River’s 2006 Centennial celebration. Many residents voiced concerns over losing so much of the town’s history because it had never been documented or preserved for future generations. Additionally, many of the town’s historic building were destroyed or had to be torn down after Katrina, due to damage, termites, or age.

Long-time Pearl River resident Miss Ruby Gauley took the lead to make a museum come to fruition. Other than her personal items of a historical nature, she welcomed the oldest families in town to share their mementos. Soon, dozens of residents were donating or lending items and memorabilia from their homes and businesses. These little bits of history included items from the railroad, Honey Island Swamp, the oncethriving artesian well, farming tools, livestock tools, household items and more. Some of the memorabilia dated back well over 100 years, when Pearl River was just a village and generations of families actually lived

Swamp Museum & Research Center

in the swamp. These families eventually migrated to the village, now a town, as the railroad became the primary source of timber transport, the main industry for the region.

In addition to the historical items, there were stories, sooo many stories, that had yet to be documented and preserved. With the opening of the museum, families started transcribing their stories and giving them to the museum. The “String of Pearls” was a group of four Pearl River native women, some of whom were born in the swamp. They began documenting their family history and stories, starting a trend that continues

to this day. These stories plus many more tales and legends can be found in the museum.

The goal of the Pearl River-Honey Island Swamp Museum & Research Center is to do more than entertain those who enter. This center allows residents and visitors the opportunity to educate themselves about the history, culture, ecology and preservation of the Honey Island Swamp and the areas surrounding it. It also opens the door for research into the legends of the swamp - the pirates, Indians, sunken steamboats, the Copeland Gang, and, yes, even the Swamp Monster.

I sat down to learn more about the center with board members Jessica Gauley, Jessica Hanna, Patti Holden, and Virgil Phillips who, along with fellow board members Bridget Bennett, Aimee Reid, and Joey Wren have breathed life back into the museum.

According to Virgil, “Pearl River has been a blue collar town since the day we pulled the first oxen into the town. Timber was the reason. During the early heyday, the shipping industry needed very large timber to put masts on ships. Trees were plentiful here. Using the Pearl River to float the timber and steam powered trains to transport it across land, the timber would


eventually make its way to the sawmills, like the one in Lumbertown, to be cut. Eventually, they would be loaded onto large ships that waited offshore for transport. Timber from Pearl River was also used to build out the railroad tracks. Pearl River helped lay the foundation for St. Tammany Parish and parts of the state of Louisiana with our timber.”

“The railroad came though Pearl River in the 1800’s. We were founded as a railroad town, with first a depot used for mail delivery, then a station for passenger transport was constructed in 1886. One of the big things driving the station was the fresh artesian well directly off the railroad tracks, so people would bring their glass bottles. We also had what we would call ‘snowbirds’ now - people coming out of Hattiesburg or Memphis or places like that who were going to New Orleans and they wanted this fresh artesian well water.” The crisp, clear water drew enough attention to the community that a hotel was built off the tracks to accommodate the visitors.

The community that is today Pearl River was originally known as Halloo, a moniker it reputedly garnered from loggers yelling to one another as they labored along the nearby Pearl River. The community’s name was first changed from Halloo to Pearl, later to Pearlville, and eventually Pearl River in 1888. The “pearl” name is believed to be derived from the tiny jewels found in the clam shells on the island.

Why is it called Honey Island Swamp? Jessica Gauley filled me in. “There were Tupelo trees, now called gum trees, when explorers came through. There were so many bees because of all the flowers. The bees created lots of honey. The ‘island’ part is because the Pearl River is the border between Louisiana and Mississippi and when it splits into the East & West Pearl Rivers, Honey Island is everything in between those two river systems.”

Jessica also tells her favorite tale: “No one knew what the true border was between the states. So the

Pearl River Police Chief Ruby Williams served as Louisiana’s first female Chief of Police, appointed in 1979 after her husband Pete passed awat during his sixth term. Pearl River’s “String of Pearls” Gleniece Frierson, Raycille Mitchell, Leona McQueen and Ruby Williams are credited with giving the Museum & Research Center much of its written history.

government sent an empty whiskey barrel down the main river and whichever fork it floated down would become the true border. It floated down the East Pearl and that’s how Honey Island became part of Louisiana rather than Mississippi.

The Museum & Research Center will open its doors for the first time since 2018 on June 11, 2022. In addition to a full day of festivities on that day, the museum plans to have summer hours 11AM-3PM on Thursdays and Saturdays. The board members who have so passionately worked for this re-opening are looking forward to school trips, tourists, scout troops and area residents to enjoy the exhibits and learn more about the town and area that is truly a jewel in our region.

9pm huge firework KIDS WILL LOVE extravaganza! LIVE MUSIC, FOOD & GAMES! Rotary Clubs of Slidell and Slidell Northshore EVENT SPONSORS ALL 2022 PROCEEDS BENEFIT LOCAL NON-PROFITS: Boy Scouts of America (Cypress District) • Free NOLA Slidell Police Association • Slidell Women’s Civic Club Community Christian Concern SATURDAY JULY 2, 2022 | 4pm - 11pm | HERITAGE PARK $10 ADMISSION - AGES 13 & UP | FREE - AGES 12 & UNDER Water Slides • Face Painting • Playing in the Park Arts • Crafts • AND MORE!!! FEATURING: LEARN MORE AT: *No outside food or drinks, ice chests, tents or large umbrellas will be permitted* AMANDA SHAW @SlidellHeritageFest 5:30 - 7 PM 7:30 - 9 PM 9:30 - 11 PM

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Equine Reflections

Not Your Typical Horse Experience

For our continuing coverage series on non-profits, I would like to tell you about Equine Reflections, Inc. It’s not what you would expect of horse therapy. Of course, horses are involved, but not for riding; and not just any horse. Only rescue horses are used!

Although Bonny Barry founded Equine Reflections about 6 years ago, it had been her dream for years, since she was a highschool student. Bonny had been sexually abused as a child and silenced. She personally knows the value of being rescued by a horse. That changed her entire philosophy from therapeutic riding to Equine Assisted Learning (EAL), using the horse as the facilitator. The non-profit also offers Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) with a licensed therapist. Bonny is licensed in Equine Assisted Learning and a certified Equine Therapy Specialist. She is the only one in our area offering equine assisted learning in mental health.

“EAL is a unique & powerful learning experience through ground activities with horses and then reflection about the activity through discussion. EAL can be used for personal growth, corporate groups, youth leadership, children in foster care and our ‘Say Whoa to Bullying & Giddy Up to Kindness Program.’ This method does not require a therapist for sessions.

Story and photos by Donna Bush

Benefits: Inspire growth and change, problem solving, practice focusing on the present, setting boundaries, accomplishing goals, better communication and social skills. You will also learn so much about yourself through the unique, fun program using real horsepower to improve your life.”

“Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) consists of a licensed therapist, an equine specialist, and the most important team member, our 4-legged therapist. EAP can be used with a variety of individuals suffering with mental health issues. It is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has remarkable impact on youth, individuals, families and groups.” Bonny is very clear on the fact that she is not a therapist. Her part in the EAP sessions is as the equine specialist. A certified therapist attends these classes.

“Benefits: Using a horse in an outdoor setting offers a sense of peace and is a much different experience than talk therapy. It allows clients an opportunity to use all senses while learning and processing challenges; building social skills that are needed to enhance the client’s life, increase self-esteem and self-respect, emotional regulation and responsibility to mention a few.”

Both EAL and EAP are appropriate for children or adults, families and groups.

Why horses? “Horses have natural abilities and traits that make them excellent teachers and therapists. Their heightened senses allow them to mirror feelings and behaviors in a non-judgmental way. As prey animals, horses maintain an acute awareness of their immediate surroundings. This innate vigilance allows them to perceive emotional states accurately in the present moment. Horses are truthful; they never lie.” Unlike a lot of us

about a year of allowing him to trust and know that he was loved before he would come to Bonny. He had been working with a volunteer twice a week, when a cancer patient visited and requested to touch Chance. Reluctant because she wasn’t sure Chance was ready, Bonny explained his background of abuse to the cancer patient and that it would have to be on Chance’s terms if he would even let the patient near him. But Chance knew who he was meeting. The big, powerful, mistreated horse lowered his head and willingly,

present moment. A prey animal would not survive if they dwelled in the past or the future.

All of the horses and donkeys residing at the farm are rescues. They have all been abused in some way – either through neglect or trauma, or both. Chance, a beautiful, tall palomino that reminded me of Roy Rogers’ horse, Trigger, was beaten in the face with a chain; ear-twitched and lip-twitched with a chain; and gelded without anesthesia. He is truly the most gentle giant I have ever met.

Nicknamed the “Barbie doll dream-horse,” it took

“I found a friend with 4 legs that I can tell all my secrets to.”
From a young patient at Equine Reflections

passed a training protocol. The gift of regained trust is a valuable component of the equine-assisted growth and learning therapeutic model because it is what inspires the horse-human connection. This connection is the pathway by which the healing power of the horse works upon the heart and the mind. Rescue horses are good at revealing what is unspoken (the good and the bad) in regard to how we relate to and interact with others.”

Bonny’s first and primary focus is the safety of the horses and people in the arena. This is instilled in every student from day one. Each student, regardless of age or experience, is tested on their ability to behave safely for their sake, the horse’s sake and anyone else in the arena. Before a student is allowed to tack a horse on their own or walk into the pasture, they must demonstrate their knowledge of the safety protocols.

I was fortunate to attend one of Bonny’s group EAL classes with 12-year old Lily and 8-year old Emerson. Lily has been with Equine Reflections for 1-1/2 years and Emerson for 6 months.

Lily came to Darlene and Mike as a foster at 3 months old, weighing only 3 pounds. She had some developmental issues – unable to make eye contact, talk, etc. Darlene and Mike helped her catch up to her age group, sharing “all it took was love.” Speaking of love, they didn’t plan to get attached but they did and began the adoption process to bring Lily into their family. She officially joined their family at 2-1/2 years old. From a small child, she always loved all animals – rabbits, chickens, ducks, etc; and begged to ride horses. There were ponies at her third birthday party. But, the clencher was attending a Destrehan fair that offered horse rides. The beaming smile on her face was enough to prompt them to find a place for Lily to interact with horses. A conversation with Bonny convinced them they had found the perfect match. Darlene shared, “We love the safety factor.” Lily attends once a week for the 90-minute group lesson but is typically at the farm for 2 hours or longer. “Lily was a little bud

and now she is blooming. Working with Bonny has been so good for her, especially with building her confidence. She’s not shy anymore. She opens up, interacts with her older siblings, smiles and makes eye contact. This has been absolutely lifechanging!”

In addition to all that, she has gained a wealth of knowledge about horses. Knowing that she is homeschooled, Bonny has invited her to participate when senior groups have attended and to attend equestrian dental visits. Lily wowed the seniors with her equine knowledge and attentively watched the dentist’s every move, asking questions and taking it all in. She’s become the spokesperson for the Stop Bullying program and made a commercial promoting it. Her goal is to perform dressage and hunter/ jumper.

Emerson’s mom, Mandy, first approached Bonny for riding lessons. Along the way, she mentioned Emerson’s anxiety issues and learned that Bonny was licensed in EAL. Bonny

“My daughter was silenced by bullies until Danny Boy helped her find her voice.”
From a parent of a patient at Equine Reflections

began implementing her training to address the anxiety by introducing relaxation techniques to help her comfort level on and around the horse. When the anxiety got worse, Mandy reached out to Bonny for advice and a recommendation for a mental health professional. Despite the long waiting list for EAP, Bonny said bring her to the class and she would fit her in.

Mandy shared, “Bonny loves what she does. You can tell her heart is in it 100%! She has such a calming demeanor that instantly puts you at ease. Both Emerson and I were nervous that first visit. But, within five minutes with Bonny, I could see Emerson’s shoulders drop and her relax. Everything Bonny does relates back to real life. The relaxation techniques she teaches for riding carried over to home and life in general.” Emerson attends riding lessons once a week and either EAL or EAP once a week.

Bonny shared, “Horses are very observant; and sensitive to movement and emotion. Often, they mirror a client’s behavior or emotions, conveying an understanding and connection that allows the client to feel safe. This promotes a sense of self-awareness, using the horse’s behavior and interactions for feedback

Clyde the Never Give Up

and an opportunity to check in and process what is happening in the moment.” For new students, Bonny invites them out to see the horses, get comfortable and see what happens. Often, she will ask, “Which horse is most like you? Which horse is least like you? Why? What do they remind you of that is pleasant? Unpleasant? That’s when the stories come up.” The psychotherapist says she can get more out of 1-2 equine therapy sessions than 6 months of talk therapy in her office!

The lessons were basic but amazingly powerful. Once safety measures

Clyde was a Clydesdale from Saskatchewan Canada, but not the typical bay color. He was black. The farmer who owned him kept his mother as a PMU mare, bred to produce pregnant mare urine that was used in hormone replacement products for menopausal women. The foals were just a necessary by-product to keep the mares pregnant. They were sold as soon as they were weaned. Demand for the products declined significantly and the farmer sent all of the horses to be sold. No one wanted Clyde since he wasn’t the usual bay color. Well, no one except Bonny. She saw him on the adoption site 2 days

have been established, students tacked their horse and brought them to the arena, keeping a safe distance from each other. “Today’s lesson is about RESPECT. What does respect mean to the horse? What does respect mean to you?” Then they meticulously groomed their horses, demonstrating respect. Once grooming is complete, Bonny instructed the students to tell their horse “Whoa,” work together as a team, and choose 8 items within the arena to build an obstacle course that they will lead their horse through. The horses begin to play with each other. Bonny reminded the girls, “Always be aware of where the horses are. Safety first!”

The process is known as experiential learning where students “learn by doing” and then reflecting on the process. Bonny recognizes what the horse is doing and helps implement the message into the student’s life. Learning by doing instills the lesson deeper than just telling someone how to perform a skill. Traditional learning retention is about 5%, where experiential learning retention can be up to 90%.

To delve a bit deeper into the horse/ student connection, let’s talk about heart coherence. It is statistically proven that the horse can feel the

before he would be sold at auction. After arranging transportation, Clyde arrived in Folsom scared of everything, having never been handled or hardly fed. He soon became Bonny’s faithful companion, and everyone fell in love with him. He was smart and quickly learned tricks; loving to perform; giving kisses to sick children and soon he became known as “Clyde, The Never Give Up Horse”. There’s even a book about him written by local author Deborah Young. Sadly, Clyde passed away recently, but his legacy will live on through the hearts of all those he touched and encouraged.

“I watched as the children bonded with these horses over shared experiences of harm. Each child seemed strengthened and comforted by the horse. It was a beautiful gift to observe.”
Crossroads Nola employee after foster children’s visit

How can you Help Equine Reflections?

They need funding! Donate! Book a corporate class. Book a Kentucky Derby Day party. Book senior graduation photos with a horse.

They currently have an active advisory board and seek interested people to serve on their board of directors, participating in weekly meetings, fundraisers etc. If interested, please send a resume to Bonny at:

Call Bonny at 985-373-7788 if you are interested in volunteering with the horses. Training is required.

To donate, visit their website

or click the QR Code below

student’s heart rate and understand what is going on internally with the student. Bonny described one EAP student who selected a donkey to work with. The student had an extremely negative attitude. Each time she would say something inappropriate, the donkey would push her with its nose, repeatedly. Her task was to take items in the arena and build a house into which she could lead the donkey. She actually had the donkey in the house until she described it as a “house of negativity.” With that description, the donkey left the house and refused to go back in. Bonny explained t o her that she would have to change what was inside of her before the donkey would obey her. She could walk around the arena and the donkey would walk with her but not enter the house. Finally, she walked around the arena thinking positive thoughts and the donkey walked straight into the house.

Bonny told me of a young client who observed two horses interacting together with one horse biting the other one on its rear end. When asked what was happening, the child said, “That horse is kissing the other one on the hiney like step-daddy does to me.” Other students have said, “They are fighting like my brother and my dad, fighting non-stop.”

“We never know what the horses are going to do, but yet they seem to know what to do to help the children open up and share.”

A student who had nearly drowned chose Dreamer as her horse. At the time, Bonny was not aware of the incident. The obstacle course was a blue tarp held down by orange cones that represented a raging river. The student shared “I’m afraid of water. I almost drowned.” In her mind, the metaphor of the blue tarp representing a raging river was real. Dreamer picked up on her fear, grabbed the orange cones, shook them and threw them. Then he stomped and pawed at the raging river until it was smaller. Her fears were allayed, and she walked across giggling.

The girls worked well together, discussing which items to use and how to layout their course. They even created course rules. Bonny instructed them to perform a grounding exercise by shaking their bodies, shoulders and twisting their feet back and forth in the dirt to get grounded; thereby shaking off any anxious energy.

Several pieces of PVC pipe were used in building the course. This presented a challenge for Emerson to lead Gumbo through the course,

“I didn’t want to live anymore, until Spirit changed my life.”
From a young patient at Equine Reflections

as he had been beaten with similar pipe. It took several attempts, as Bonny coached Emerson. “What can you do to earn his trust? Think outside the box. Be creative!” Ultimately, they were successful. Life lesson: Once you help your horse face its fears, you learn that you can face your own fears.

Emerson’s comments from the Respect Lesson: “The horses have helped me learn to respect their power and to be aware of their body language. If I respect the horse, they will respect me. Just like if I respect my friends, they will respect me.”

Lily had an easier course with Danny Boy.

Lily’s comments on the Respect Lesson: “Respecting my horse’s feelings is how the horse taught me to respect others. They show me signs of what they like and what they don’t like. And when I treat my horse with respect my horse will respect me the same way by obeying what I tell them with signs. But if they feel like I’m not respecting them correctly they will correct me by standing in front of me and not obeying my signs.”

The “Say Whoa to Bullying and Giddy-up to Kindness” program will start in September when school is back in session. School age children as young as 2nd and 3rd grades attend these programs, but they are available for all ages. The messages are changed to target the age groups attending. October is Bully Awareness month. They want the 3 B’s to attend –Bully, Bullied and Bystander. Their program targets prevention of bullying. Participants are asked to take the “stop bullying” pledge and to sign a contract that they will not be bullied; and that they know what to do. If a child has been bullied and silenced, their parents are given the choice of their child attending either EAL or EAP sessions. A 2021 report in WalletHub ranked Louisiana as having the sixth largest bullying problem in the country.

When I asked how the message is presented to the bully, Bonny said, “Through the horse. There’s nothing like a 1000-pound plus teacher to get a point across! How they treat the horse is how they treat people. As prey animals, horses are very sensitive to the emotions and mannerisms of the bully.” Participants must adjust their own feelings, mannerisms, and emotions to successfully work with the horse. When the bullied work with the horse, their anxiety lowers and their self-esteem increases.

When we think of horsepower, most people immediately think of the power of a muscle car’s engine. How fast can it go from zero to 60? Real horsepower is the power of these 4-legged therapists that give us examples of how to rebuild your life after abuse and neglect; how to overcome adversity or negativity in your life; and how to be a shining star in the sky.

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Advice From a Grandfather


Although the following was written by John Case, it is not one of his stories. It is an actual letter he sent to a young lady before her departure for college. The names and a few details have been changed to protect the privacy of the recipient. The letter is to the granddaughter of John’s best friend who passed away suddenly in 2005. If you have read John’s stories, you know there can be a sensitive thread in them. I read the original letter and was so moved I asked for the right to publish it. John reluctantly agreed.

Dear Wendy,

It is unfortunate that our paths have not often crossed during your life. In fact, you may not even be able to place me; but rest assured, I have followed you for your entire life. You see, I am friends with your grandmother, your mom, and your aunt. I was extremely close to your grandfather. He was a great man, and he was my best friend.

I am sorry you didn’t have the opportunity to share your life with him, or he with you. But, indirectly, that is why I am writing. You might consider this letter advice from your grandfather.

I understand you will be going to college in a few months. First, you should be prepared that the next four years will change your life and give you more experiences than you have had in your previous years combined. Never again will you live in a community with seventeen-thousand people all within four years of your own age. It is like demographic saturation. It is almost a community ruled and governed by no one over twenty-two.

This environment can be the best years of your life, and I expect it to be, but college can have some ups and downs. Maybe I can warn you. No, not warn; advise you.

First, you will be leaving home. If you are typical of most, coming home will never be exactly the same again. I don’t mean that you will not be welcome and thrilled to comeback for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and summer vacation; but I promise you it will be different. You will have established a little different routine than you had growing up and this is expected. It is your routine and governed by the choices you make. Let’s compare you to a bird, learning to fly and leaving the nest. In four years, I promise you will become a different person. Again, this is natural and good, and I


don’t have to tell you that your family will always be there to listen, advise, and offer a helping hand. You will always need that, but less and less often as your skills in life, your flight, advances. As you age, you will shift from the advisee to the advisor, with skills learned from real life experiences. You will be challenged. Academically, socially, religiously and in many other ways.

Maybe you know exactly what you want to be when you graduate. That’s good, but it is also OK to not know. You may think you know, but later change your mind. This is OK. My first advice is to be happy in whatever profession you choose. You may change your major, you may change your career. Feel free to, you have an entire life ahead of you. You don’t want to spend forty-plus hours a week doing what you don’t like. Your profession is just a tool to aid you as you do what God intended for you; and that is to have a happy, productive life in His service and service to others.

College is as much social as it is academic. By social, I don’t mean the sororities, the dances etc. I mean learning to navigate among people of all types. Developing charisma that allows you to interact with people for the benefit of society. If and when you master this, You Are Educated. I have a friend that was in college with me. Her degree was elementary education. She didn’t like it and went into marketing, forming her own public relations firm. She is retired now after a very successful career. She could navigate among people. Her mother died when she was just thirteen, so she did not have the family resources you have had, but she learned the social skills to navigate with any crowd that she wished.

Then, there are the sororities, the dances etc. That’s a different part of social, but also important. It is supposed to be fun, and mostly it is; but it can be challenging too. There will be activities that are not what your morals approve of. Follow your raising, but don’t be too judgmental of others. You do not have to participate, and you certainly wouldn’t want to be silent in the face of a serious wrong; but be patient with others who do not walk the same path as you. Remember, they probably didn’t have the examples set for them that you had. I was, and still am, too judgmental and it has harmed me in friendships and business. One can be totally right, but coming across with crusader arrogance will not prove your point no matter how right you are and how wrong they are.

Romance. I don’t know what you have experienced in your life on this subject. Most people your age have at least bumped into it. My dad once told me, “Son, don’t date anyone who you know you wouldn’t marry.”

I am not saying I always followed his advice, but I know the advise was good. I know that you are a very pretty girl. You will break some hearts, and that’s OK too. When you feel that a relationship is going in the wrong direction, get out. Things will not get better, only worse. I suspect that someone will break your heart too. It hurts, but that’s OK. When it happens, just remember that both of these experiences are lessons in life to teach you what you want and don’t want, as you someday form a lifetime relationship. Go slow, don’t rush. Again, remember to treat the heartbreak as a learning experience.

Friendship. You will make friends that will last you the rest of your life. After graduation, you may seldom see them, but the friendships will still be there. You will make contacts that can benefit you in your career. I must warn you that you most likely will have a friend, maybe a best friend, that will betray you. It is part of life, but don’t let it lessen your trust in people. Trust is the basic component of society.

You will meet people that are different. We called them nerds or geeks in my day. They are easy to be ignored but this can be costly. Some of the nerds I knew went on to do great things. I would love to now count them among my friends, but I was too cool to associate with them at the time. I missed an opportunity. Treat all with respect. The geek today, may be the star tomorrow.

Your best friend will be you, and your best insight will be through prayer. Find a quiet place to be with yourself and pray each day. I used to pray for things that concerned me. By that, I mean I used to ask God to do what I thought I needed. Now I know God knows what I need before I ask. Now, my prayers are for the good to happen to others; and somehow, he includes me in the blessings. Cherish your quiet time, which can be hard to find in a college atmosphere.

I wish you a great college career. My final advice is from Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.”


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“Your Estate Matters”


Keys castle the to the

“Should I add my child’s name to my account(s)”? The answer is “it depends.”

Giving the kids the keys to the castle while you are still alive and competent is a tough decision. This article gives you the pros and cons, so that you can make an informed decision.

It makes sense why you may want to do this: to allow your child instantaneous access to your bank account(s) without having to go through cumbersome legal channels upon your death or disability. Your child may easily access the proceeds while you are alive, but also upon your death as the account would not be “frozen” as long as there is another “co-owner”. Sounds great right? Well…maybe. Any co-owner may withdraw all of the funds at any time, without the permission of the other co-owner(s). While most of you will say that you trust your child implicitly and the foregoing is not a concern, can you guarantee that your child will not:

1) Predecease you, and perhaps their heirs would try to claim these assets through your deceased child’s estate?

2) File for divorce, and their spouse tries to claim these as marital assets?

3) File for bankruptcy?

4) Get sued (for any number of reasons)?

5) Become ill and need to qualify for Medicaid (or any other asset-based programs, like

school loans/grants, etc.) and now these assets may disqualify them?

Do you still think it’s a good idea? If the above causes you concern, and it should, think about these options:

• Maybe add your child(ren) to only one account that doesn’t keep a very large balance, as you can always transfer funds from another account if needed.

• Create a trust (either revocable or irrevocable) to own your assets and name your child(ren) as co-trustees (who may act independently) instead of co-owners, with none of the above liabilities, but all the access.

Also, be sure you have a comprehensive and up-to-date general financial power of attorney (POA) in place. Many of the brokerage firms now have their very own POA forms which I highly recommend you fill out, in addition to your general POA (because it has already been preapproved by their legal department). If the time comes when you are unable to handle your affairs, your child has already been named as Agent under your POA, and can access these assets. In this case, just like being a Trustee, your assets are not at risk from your child’s estate, spouse, or creditors.

But remember, a POA ends upon your death, so go to your bank and add your

child(ren) as “Payable on Death” (POD) beneficiaries to your accounts. (Most banks and credit unions offer this.) Now, upon your death, your children only need to provide the bank with your death certificate in order to claim the funds in this account.

Caveat: “co-ownership” with your child(ren) should almost never apply to brokerage accounts because that account becomes frozen when any owner dies, then the account must go through their probate/ succession. What if your child’s Last Will leaves all their assets to their spouse? You legally just lost half of your account to your child’s spouse! You also lose the benefit of the full step-up in basis upon your death because you only owned half (or less) of that account.

The one asset that should be co-owned with a child (if not owned by your trust) is your safe deposit box. This asset needs to be accessed quickly post-death, especially if this is where your Last Will and Testament, life insurance policies, burial plans and cemetery deeds are stored. Unfortunately, we have had to open quite a few successions that were not necessary except for a safe deposit box where a child was merely a signatory on the box and not a co-owner. Please be sure and verify with your bank now that your child will have post-death access. Now it’s up to you to decide if it’s time to give your kids a set of keys to the castle!

40 Louis Prima Drive (off Hwy 190, behind Copeland’s) • Covington, Louisiana • (985) 892-0942 •
Ronda M. Gabb is a Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist certified by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization. She is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Governor’s Elder Law Task Force. Ronda grew up in New Orleans East and first moved to Slidell in 1988, and now resides in Clipper Estates.
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