1973—New Orleans

No photos appear to survive, but the Christmas letter mentions our trip in February to a convention in New Orleans, and that we left the kids with friends. Thereby hangs a durable favorite story.

The kindly friends who cared for the three boys were Allan and Janet Clyde of Bedford. Allan was then the immediate past (before our arrival) bishop of the Billerica Ward, and they had several kids older than ours.

As noted, we had a grand time in New Orleans. I went there resolved not to fall in love with the place, and failed utterly in that project. While I was in meetings, Valerie did the tourist bit with much gusto and bravery, accompanied much of the time by Brent and Janet. Together, we enjoyed some historical tours, Breakfast at Brennan’s, The Gumbo Shop, fried alligator at Galatoire’s, and several other amazing gustatory experiences. Then we caravaned onward to Killeen, Texas (between Dallas and Fort Worth), where Brent was serving as a chaplain at the huge Army post at Fort Hood.

Returning home, we stopped and picked up the boys in Bedford. The Clydes assured us that they’d been excellent guests, causing no trouble at all. Then Janet said, well, that’s almost true. Chris, it seems, had been awfully homesick. He’d cry inconsolably that he wanted to go home. Each morning, they’d find him asleep on the floor, up against the bottom of their front door! He still seemed glad to see us, and we thanked the Clydes profusely, presented them with the knick-knacks we’d selected for them in our peregrinations, and returned with our brood to Hearthstone Drive.

That night, we weren’t too surprised to be awakened by Chris’s voice: “I want to go home! I want to go home!” So I comforted our Toad as best I could, assuring him that he was, in fact, once again at home. His blue eyes flashed in the half-darkness: “No, I mean where Jesus is!”

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