For many years now I've been devoting my Thanksgiving column to my family, recapping what the people closest to me have been doing over the past year.
This is because of all the many things I have to be thankful for, family is No. 1. So, if you'll forgive this bit of self-indulgence:
My trophy spouse is "retired" only in the sense that she's no longer at her job in the mental health field. She's active in a number of areas, seeking empowerment not only for those with mental health issues but for women, minorities and anyone who needs a hand up. She's also become something of a caregiver for her aging husband, who appreciates her very much.
Tammy, my daughter, and her husband Boyce are in Long Beach, Mississippi, living a Gulf Coast version of a Jimmy Buffett lifestyle — except that they're not "wasting away." Tammy's a medical coder for Ochsner, and retired fire chief Boyce has a second career as a casino security investigator.
Son Thomas, known as "Pokey" in the Zachary/Slaughter area, and wife Nicole, are busy keeping up with kids and grandkids. A retired Zachary deputy fire chief, he too has a second career, as life safety specialist with Baton Rouge General. Nicole's a trendsetting hair stylist in Zachary.
Tammy and Boyce presented me with three grandchildren: Katie, Mandy and Landon.
Katie and husband Glen live in Lafayette, where she's in the insurance business and he's in oil field services.
Mandy and husband Corey are both nurses. They live in Diamondhead, Mississippi, and work at a Slidell hospital. She's a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) nurse, and he's director of critical care.
Landon, who battled with spina bifida during the 15 years of his life, left us a few years ago, but left behind a legacy of laughter and tears that none of us will ever forget. At holidays especially we recall just how special he was to us.
Thomas and Nicole also are responsible for three of my grandchildren: Tayler, Ron and Clint.
Tayler and husband Adam live in the Zachary area, where she's a medical CT tech in Zachary and he's a Baton Rouge firefighter.
Ron is a Zachary firefighter and operates a lawn care business. He and wife Kelsey, an RN who works in the cardiac field, live in St. Francisville.
Clint is also a Zachary firefighter and lives in the Zachary/Slaughter near his mom and dad.
Believe it or not, I have 10 great-grandchildren. Let's see if I can remember them all:
Katie and Glen are parents of two: Ethan, who just turned 13 and is an avid basketball and football fan and player, and Emma, who has discovered a passion for acting.
Mandy and Corey begat three: Leah, an ace soccer player; Macy, interested in gymnastics, and Noah, who also plays soccer. (By the way, they're all doing well in school, too…)
Tayler and Adam have two very active boys: Austin, who just started kindergarten, and his baby brother Dean.
Ron and Kelsey are parents of two little girls: Natalie, who wants to be a ballerina, and little Heidi, who just wants to be fed.
And Clint is the proud father of Aidyn, who just started pre-K.
There, that adds up to 10, doesn't it?
Brother and family
Brother Louis and wife Jane live in Oakdale. He's finally retired from the family Kubota tractor business; she's a retired high school guidance counselor.
Their son Judd is a physician in Reno, and he and wife Stacy have twin boys, Jakob and Justin.
Son Jason and his wife Marian are both New Orleans attorneys, and parents of two boys, Jackson and Colin.
And son Josh is an oil company executive in Tulsa, where he and wife Lauren have two boys, Grant and Drake. Josh's daughter Vanessa lives in Houston.
As I mentioned last year, I'm amazed at how many of my kinfolks are in the medical or public safety fields, devoting their lives to helping others.
I'm thankful to be kin to them…