Now this could be a long story, but I will endeavor to keep it to a minimum if you will so engage me. I have a confession to make to you, my friends. I used to hate Lake Charles. Now, before you get all irate, let me tell you that it has, over the years, become home.  You see, I was not brought to Louisiana as a willing participant.

I grew up in Texas and, believe me, I was a Texan through and through. When I was 17, my father came home one day and announced that he was tired of commuting between Beaumont and his job here in Lake Charles at Davidson Sash and Door. Now, my father's job had nothing to do with sashes or doors. I've never been real clear on what my dad did for a living. At any rate, the bottom line is, that if you wanted to build a school or hospital or even a sno-cone stand, I guess, my dad was the one that would tell you just h0ow much money you're going to have to spend.

Okay, so anyway, when we left off, I was being uprooted from my home and brought to Louisiana in my senior year of high school. That meant not graduating with my friends that I had known all my life. Well, I moved here all right and I had a hell of an attitude to everyone I met.

At one point, I got so homesick that I moved back home for a few years. That plan was no good because, by the time I got back to Texas, all my friends had gone off to college and were now scattered all over the world. Was it Thomas Wolfe that said, "You can never go home again?" Well, no matter who said it, it's true.

Well, let's skip a bunch of years and move forward. After side trips to Austin, Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles, I ended up back in Lake Charles several years later and, once again, as soon as I got here, I started making plans to move away again. I guess God had other plans for me, because I'm still here. It's not the same though because so much has changed.

After all those years, I finally managed to get over my anger at my parents and about being uprooted my senior year. I began to notice just how nice people are here. I've never seen people that seemed so eager to do things for others. I was so rejecting in my attitude that no one could get through. Now, I was beginning to see this area for what it really is.

It's a small town, but there's a much richer culture than most of the rest of the nation. People are pretty laid back and, let me add, that if you make a friend out of a Cajun, you've got a true friend. I've noticed that, all I have to do is mention that I'm interested in something around here and friends and even total strangers will gladly teach me about it. Now, how can you not like a place like that.

This area has been good to me beyond what I deserve. You've allowed me in your homes and cars; you've befriended me when I felt like a stranger in a strange land and I've made the best friends of my life right here. Oh, sure. I miss my old Texas friends, but I can keep up with them on Facebook.

I'll share with you one of the reasons for my change in attitude. Hurricane Rita. All during those insane days, I was so proud of how the folks in this area responded to that disaster. It was damned impressive to see a community pull together like folks did here during and after Rita. You can always tell a lot about a town in the way it handles adversity and this area more than rose to the occasion.

This isn't a "goodbye" article. I just thought that it was high time that I shared how I feel about the Lake area. If it's okay with you, I'll just say that Lake Charles is my home when anyone asks. I'm very proud to be a part of this fantastic community. I'd like to stick around if you don't mind.

Thank You!