Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category



 This post was written in honor of my son, Jesse, now serving 20 years in Federal Prison.

Written by Lee


In the heart of Allen Parish

Behind walls buttressed and grey

Beats the heart of a good son, and a better man

Peering from behind the throes of a humid cage

Keeping in temper a cryptic rage

Speaking with wisdom of old souls twice his age

There are scars of prejudice and the residue of hate

Raw emotions sewn from a raw deal

A mandatory seal of fate

Jesse remembers the date

 Had himself a room, he did, in the county hotel

fore tradin’ in some miles for a federal shell

A Louisiana kind of hell

It didn’t make no odds to him

Just made peace with the bayou heat

Burnin’ steady with a low Cajun fever

Made friends with folks who got no friends

And truce with the rival’s rank

Stews for hours in the galley for a burger and change

Battled iron pots hang hard over a long beaten range

Simmerin’ up a jailhouse etouffee

Maybe hijack some puddin’ for the end of the day

The Smokey Mountains visit nightly at rest

A three island cruise through April’s Conde Ne’st

Seven mile beach and a tropical rain

Sheer his study from the ubiquitous pain

But as the pages turn west, the spirit turns south

Cruisin’ almighty down a stretch named memory lane

Window down, electrified air

Calcasieu River lost long ago in a rearview stare

Past Georgia pines bowing gently in a ballerina pose

The needles shout a welcome deep from the whispering dome

Eyes locked in a thousand mile gaze to a town called home

 Where sweet peaches and sweeter tea

Mingle to a sentimental menagerie

Where catfish fry, sparrows fly, and dreams don’t die

Hazy days and lazy nights

It was a life, a good life, his life

Radiating with a teacher’s light and burning with a preacher’s flame

Quiet strength and Godly deeds

Where the spirit leads, brother

To the melodies on high

Where Celtics drummed on holy ground

Casting Crowns rocked a gospel sound

Hands out for the hopeless and abandoned he found

Fighting fire with fire

Standing tall with badge and gun

But ya can’t wish on a falling star that’s falling from grace

Less the laws of the father and of the son set now its place

So he settles in for the night with his roomie, Job

A patient one is he

Knows all about how Rome was built, you see

And damn it…it was built

Tells Jesse his journeys back lie never in vein

For the women scorned now raise mighty their Cain

Hearts once in their chests now beat on their sleeves

They are at war as to put him at peace

His mother doth summoning her slumber with faithful cries

Sprinkling the rose with tears from her eyes

Now be gone that which rides in with a heavy pall

Fearing not, she looks toward the skies

For as sure as this evening will fall

So to the delta son shall rise


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This was written by a man named Tony Casson who is imprisoned with my son, Jesse, at Oakdale Federal Prison. He writes a blog called Oakdale Chronicals. He wrote this one for his mother and I wanted to share it with everyone. It is titled Letter to Heaven.http://mediarow.com/oakdale-chronic…


Memory is the treasure house of the mind” Thomas Fuller

“May she who gave you birth be happy” Proverbs 23:25B NLT

Dear Mom,

Of all of the words I have written in my life, I have written the least number of them to you.

I apologize for this, and I will not add insult to injury by offering any excuses.

In death you remain larger than life and the words “I miss you” are woefully inadequate to describe the feeling of emptiness that moved in when you left and has remained there for 3+ years.

I know you are happily at home with God and I am grateful that your long-time suffering ended. When I see you in my dreams, I see a younger, healthier version of you with your eyesight, hearing and other physical ailments restored.

And, of course, I see that radiant smile of yours that so many people over your lifetime were able to see directed at them, making them aware that true goodness does exist on this earth.

Or did, anyway.

My time spent in prison, so far, has not been spent in vain, I don’t think, Mom. I know you cannot be happy with me here, but I also know you can’t possibly be disappointed by how things are progressing so far.

Since the Lord saw fit to save me death 2 years ago I have been filled with a faith that grows and gets stronger daily. My love of the Lord, for all he has blessed me with, leads me to be at peace and content, even in this – the most impossible place imaginable to be at peace and content.

Yet I am, for I know this is just the beginning, and the best is yet to come.

Sometimes, I can almost feel the warmth of your smile as you look down upon me and from the warmth I have the strength to resolve the past, and the courage to face the future.

I love the time I spend reminiscing = reliving various times in our lives together, both good – and not so good.

Just the other day, I was thinking about the time, – ok, the first time – I ran away from home on a dare by the next door neighbor. I was 13.

It wasn’t until I stood in the doorway of Anthony’s bedroom when he was 13 (Can you believe he just turned 24??). I was watching him sleep (my goodness – did I look that innocent and young at 13?) and for some reason, as I stood there that whole running away thing popped into my head and I thought “Oh, my God! I was that same age as this precious young man sleeping peacefully before me when my mom woke up one day and I was gone!”.

I remember calling you that day and tearfully apologizing, explaining that it wasn’t until the moment I looked at Anthony and imagined waking up and finding him gone that I realized what a horrible thing I had done and how frantic you must have been and how much have ached inside wondering where your little boy had gone and whether or not he was safe.

You reassured me that it was ok, and I felt your teary smile coming through the telephone, but I know that while you were reassuring me, you too were remembering that agonizing sense of panic and loss when my disappearance was discovered.

By the time or conversation ended, we had both laughed and both cried, and I believed you when you said that I had been forgiven long, long ago.

Your capacity for love and forgiveness was greater than that of anyone I have ever known and I believe – now that I know a little more about Him – that you got that directly from God.

Sometimes I am glad that you were not here on this earth to witness my final tumble from grace and to be given the news of my near-successful suicide attempt, but I also think that if you had been alive to get up and speak about me to Judge Cohn, perhaps he would have been more lenient with me, for surely you would have convinced him of that, while damaged, I was not broken beyond repair.

He might, however, have sentenced me to more time for having the audacity to cause pain within someone so obviously full of love and goodness as you.

No matter, you were with me that day, in other, more wondrous – and powerful – ways and you remain with me today.

When ‘Pop’ had his stroke and it was decided that I would move to Florida and hang out with you two and help out where I could, it was as if the Lord was orchestrating all of it as he foresaw what would eventually happen to you, to ‘Pop’, and then to me.

I am very thankful for the time we shared, the three of us, and even though there were rough spots, there were also beautiful moments, happy moments, and humorous ones as well.

When we were 1st together I remember the frustration at the difficulties presented by your hearing problems. Remember when we finally made that appointment, had you tested and fitted and ordered your new hearing aids?

What a beautiful day it was when you went to pick them up. The pleasure in your face was a joy to see – you could be so much like a child in your excitement sometimes.

Remember driving home after we left the store? The conversation in the car was at normal level – no repeated words – no “what did you say?” – no raised voices. Just the three of us, talking normally. The joy you felt at being able to hear was evident in your radiant smile, and I’ll never forget what happened when we pulled in the driveway: I helped you out of the car and you stopped and cocked your head – a puzzled look on your face. I asked “What’s the matter?” “What’s that sound?”, you inquired. I listened for a moment, chuckled, shook my head and said, “Those are birds, Mom”.

It was wonderful to be part of that and to see at least a small portion of the quality of your life improve.

Of course, your eyesight had deteriorated much more than your hearing, and there simply wasn’t much in the way of mechanical aids to help you see better. You have your ‘talking’ watch and ‘talking’ clock both which, with the push of a button would announce the time. Of course, your clock – which was next to your bed – was set to announce when it as 7AM. I remember how it freaked me out when I first moved there and would hear the voice. That “voice” now announces 7AM for Kathy each and every day.

And let’s not forget your lighted magnifying glass – probably the single most important aid. Goodness me! I was just sitting here remembering taking you to Penny’s so you could get a birthday gift for one the neighbors’ kids and started crying as I recalled watching you struggling with that thing looking at sizes and prices and insisting on being independent and self-sufficient.

It embarrasses and shames me how selfless you were and how selfish I was. If only I had learned from you sooner, but you know me – “I knew it all”.

Now that’s funny, right there.

Actually, though – speaking of funny – I get a chuckle recalling the time I planted flowers along the fence in your backyard. You came to the back door and announced how pretty they were. Laughing, I said “what are you talking about? You can’t see them!”. You insisted you could, so I just kissed the top of your white-haired head and said “Yeah, right – but thanks”.

My favorite story is one told by ‘Pop’ and happened long before I got there. You remember your blind dog, Teddy, of course (What is with that place, something in the water?).

Anyway, the story goes:

One day you ‘looked’ out the back window and saw Teddy lying by the pool. (He never fell in, did he?). You opened the Florida room door and called out to him, but he laid just there. You called him again with the same result, so you called out ‘PoP’ – “Roland! Roland!. . . come here please!”

‘Pop’ walked up next to you and asked what you wanted. You told him that you were calling Teddy to come in, but he wouldn’t come, whereupon ‘Pop’ told you that Teddy was in the living room, lying on the floor. You pointed outside and asked him “then who is that by the pool?”. Pop looked past you to where you were pointing, looked back to you and said “an iguana”, and turned and went back in to join Teddy in the living room.

Kind of glad he didn’t come when you called, weren’t you, Dear?

For the most part though, you were incredible to watch in your own home. One would never know you could hardly see. You could bake, cook, clean, wash clothes, iron – you could do it all. You were an amazing woman and I’m sorry it took me so long to notice.

Well, Mother, I could go on and on. I guess what I’m trying to say through all of this is that I love you, I miss you and I think of you all of the time.

I also want to reassure you that, while I would definitely rather be somewhere else, I am using the time that I have here constructively and in a positive way to strengthen my faith in God and to work on His plans for my future.

I’ll write again and let you know how things are going – maybe share another story or two.

Until then, know this: God will help me set this right. I remember the past, but I look forward, and I look up. To my future, and my hope, and my future and hope are with God.

And I’m okay with that, and somehow I think you are too.

I love you, Mom.


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She lies awake daring the night to a stare

Pupils wide open to the ghosts in the air

Her mind’s eye wandering off with a mind of its own

But where

A chamber, perhaps; cloaked thinly by the accent of her child’s cries

And witnessed only through the lens of a mother’s eyes

Well, a wistful swing to the past waits if she dares

A door swung wide to a thousand days olden

As seasons aging turn the aspens golden

Must be some warm memories there

Must be, must be

The genesis parading now unhurried and unfettered

After all, it was only the beginning; it was only yesterday

Tricycles and popsicles and first walk up the stairs

In Polaroid moments then gone in a flash

Come now into frame, no chance to revise

Now hang on the wall

In a mother’s eyes

A mother’s eyes never really close now do they

And rarely do they sleep

Ne’er to welcome slumber’s peace

For they still have souls to keep

Dreams to guard

A job never done

Ah, but having laid witness to the pain of labour and the labour of pain

She is most familiar with this bane

Discovering her fancy wrapped now in the throws of an implacable chain

She laments

For too rapidly went the years

For too quickly came the tears

For too gripping are the fears

And though she pines for the loss unspoken

There remains a way to a bond unbroken

Just a mile, she’d say; as the crow flies

Even less when drifting through the love

Of a mother’s eyes

JUNE 2011

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Revelation 8:6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

Mary Duval has passed.  The trumpets have sounded.  And yes there were angels; a million of them, joyously marking the fact that Mary D was now in their band.  But knowing Mary as I do, I believe these deities weren’t at all cloaked in flowing, diaphanous white robes, but rather in “steppin’ out” attire – black cocktail dresses and sharkskin suits; rocking ray-bans all.

No, for this contentious and invincible spirit I was thinking Saturday night Jazz.  Progressive, mind blowing fusions that conjure up Miles Davis in a neon-coated off-the wall-late-night ad libitum that blows the doors – and parochial musical concepts – off their frame and into the street, is how I will remember Mary.  For this is how Mary played.  She was fire.  She was electricity with no off switch.  A fearless social virtuoso who went for the highest, boldest, and loudest notes…especially when the bar manager was signaling to keep it down.   Please keep it down.  Never happened; that is not how she played.

The stage is empty, the chairs have been stacked and the lights turned off.  Mary played to encores and standing O’s.  It was a performance for the ages.

But if one listens, though…I mean really listens, one can still here her trumpet wailing from the club upstairs; seems as though she ain’t done her set yet.

Does that surprise anyone?

Goodbye, friend.  You were one hell of a player.





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Guest Post Written By:  LEE

When first approached by Lauriann about her desire to create this site, I was struck by two things instantly: the passion she exhibited for her platform and the name she had chosen for the blog; both incendiary, of course, and highly flammable.  I admired the first and howled with endorsement at the second.  I mean, ya gotta admire a girl that totes around such a huge set of stones in her purse.

After all, having met her when she was first slammed with this new nightmare of a reality show, and having written myself of the trials experienced by the generally perceived “least of our brethren,” I knew she would be soon be out shopping for fire extinguishers…with her new BFF, Pandora.  This didn’t faze her in the least; didn’t think it would.  I also knew that as a mom who had been through such fires, and who had witnessed first hand the handiwork of the self-righteous (wagging tongues and all), the hysteria that has had politicos unconscionably cowering for vote tallies, and collateral damage to families and children affected by these laws, that she’d had simply seen enough.  No longer satisfied from the 4 years of chatting to the choir, Lauriann set out to enlighten the unenlightened.   She was steppin’ out into the sun, leaving behind her the shadows safety and anonymity for someone else.

So what exactly is the caller’s point here?   Why this post?  Why now?

Well, folks…today WALKAMILEINMYFINGSHOES has reached its first milestone – 1,000 POST VISITORS.  Within a couple of days she will have attracted twice the amount of readers than there are residents of the town from which she came; many of whom have come to read…anonymously, of course.  It must also be noted that – through online tracking – these numbers reflect a readership that spans 30 of the 50 states and 3 countries.  This alone is impressive, but when you add to the mix that she is also read – and been befriended – by such a notable personality as Lenore Skanazy (novelist, Wall St. Journal columnist, internationally acclaimed speaker), as well as linked to her immensely popular blog (Free Range Kids), one can feel the ascendancy.

The private email responses from moms who have had their family’s lives incinerated by the legalized fear and punishment have been as inspiring as they have been frightening.  Being forced to sell their houses (when they’re not being burned to the ground or plastered with posters), pull their children out of school for fear of physical and psychological harm (oh, I forgot…it’s not a bullying issue when it happens to one of “those” children), or accept that constitutional and human rights no longer apply to them or their families, has left many with little to no hope.  Many, if not most, held similar beliefs to those standing in line at Home Depot securing their purchases of tar and feathers.  It wasn’t until they were forced to walk a mile in Lauriann’s (and the millions of mothers, wives, daughters, and girlfriends like her) shoes that the light went off…or out, depending on the switch.  Judgment was no longer a fashionable accessory.  It was a horrible faux pas.  And look for a choir now they do; anyone who doesn’t blindly draw their blinds and lock their doors.

They come here where they can walk through the front door… not ushered out the rear.

Bravo, Lauriann…congratulations and Godspeed.   Keep steppin’ out.


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