So, about 10 days ago, a California reader of this blog e-mailed to say she was coming to south Louisiana to visit a friend, and would like to come visit St. Francisville. She had read The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming after one of her college professors gave her a copy — thanks MS! — and had been profoundly moved by it. She wrote:

I was wondering if you could recommend some specific places to eat/check out. I’m mostly eager to get a picture of the hometown you describe.

Today we had lunch at the Magnolia CafĂ© in town with the reader, her friend, and my mom and dad. It thrilled my folks, who are always amazed and gratified by how much Ruthie’s story touches perfect strangers. The two friends hung out all afternoon. The day got away from us, so we didn’t get to make it to Ruthie’s grave, where the California reader wanted to lay flowers, until just after dark. My mom and dad have been lighting a candle on Ruthie’s grave every evening during the Christmas season, but today said it would be fine with them if E., the reader, wanted to do so. She did. She lit the candle, laid the flowers, then sunk to her knees on the damp cold ground to pray. I took the photo above, which I share with her permission.

Then Ruthie’s husband Mike and his two daughters still at home kindly welcomed E. and her friend, who wanted to say hello. We stayed briefly, then went to St. Nicholas vespers at our mission parish. Finally, we sent the ladies off to Hot Tails. Less than an hour later, this arrived via text, with the words, “We love everything. The best food recommendation!”:

get-attachment-1I overheard the California reader telling somebody at our parish after vespers that she has been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of Louisiana people, and that her friend has been trying to get her to move here; now she might consider it. So, yay Louisiana!

It sure meant a lot to me and my family to make new friends, and to see the respect and admiration these people from far away have for Ruthie, our family, and our town. That is all. I am grateful to this blog and its readership. It can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but at other times, it’s just the best thing.