Return trip happened sooner than expected

Published 10:05 pm Thursday, January 12, 2006

By Staff
I didn't expect to be back in Baton Rouge so soon.
I wrote recently about my holiday trip there to visit my family and about some of the visual effects of Hurricane Katrina on that area. It had been a year - last Christmas - since I had been there.
I returned to Niles the day after Christmas, only to find myself on an airplane headed south again on New Year's Day. I got word on New Year's Eve that my brother's 18-month-old baby was in the hospital and seriously ill. She's fine now, apparently had a terrible virus. But the incident greatly upset my brother, as it would any father, and I wanted to be with him, so I flew down.
While in Baton Rouge this trip, I mostly babysat for his three-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son. As someone who is single and without children, it was a real change of pace for me.
Don't get me wrong, I've spent lots of time around little kids. I was a teen-ager when my mother had my younger brother and sister and I took a major role in caring for them. I was also quite the babysitting entrepreneur and started sitting for the children of friends of my parents' as early as I could. I spent more than one summer as the caretaker for children while their parents worked. Babies are nothing new to me, it's just been a long time since I've been around them.
Here are a couple of observations from that recent experience.
As I questioned him about his play choice, he commented to me that I know a lot more about football than his Nana, who is typically the person who cheers him on during games. I was proud and took it as a real compliment. (I didn't tell him about my dismal record in this year's football forecasters.) I'm not at the point that I'm going to go out and buy a Playstation, but I've got a lot more respect for video games now.
It makes me long for my senior years when I intend to spend a couple of months someplace warm, God willing. I don't want to have anything to do with anyplace in the South in the summertime -I'll be right here in Niles. But I hope I'll be able to go South during the cold and snow. Coming back to dreary cold makes me appreciate the sun and warmth.
I am hoping we have some real cold and snow for next week's Hunter Ice Festival. Last year's weather was perfect for that new event. I'm looking forward to this year's. Hope to see you there.
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