Sharing Pearlington

A subsidiary Blog of our Main Blog, located at and presenting words and images of Pearlington. Sharing the series: "Focus On..." * "Back Home Again" * "A Volunteer's Tale" and other human interest stories.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Keeping on "Keeping On" - Part II

By Jennifer Johnson

Coming to Pearlington doesn’t seem like mission work. It’s more like coming home.

Harry and Nancy Bell were one of the first families to show us this. It was my birthday in November when I first met them. They treated me to the most amazing shrimp boil and birthday cake I have ever had....and they did it all from their FEMA trailers. Once Harry and Nancy moved back into their house, if you went to visit, you’d better not knock. You’d better know that you just come on in, like family. And you better be hungry, because there was always food around and it was going to be offered to you, and you’d better say yes.

This past week, we had to lay Harry’s body to rest. It was one of the hardest things to do because it was like losing one of my own family members. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Harry’s soul is celebrating in heaven and that one day I will be there with him. And I’d better not knock. I’d better just walk right in. And I know there will be plenty of food offered to me and that I’d better say yes.

Then there are the Ladner’s. If I could choose an additional set of grandparents for my children, it would be tough to choose from those that I have met in Pearlington. George and Margaret would be at the top of the list. We share in their excitement as they watch their new home being built. And when one of them isn’t feeling well, we hurt with them just as their children do. When I met their daughter Claudia and her family for the first time this weekend, it was as if we had known each other all of our lives.

All of the residents make us feel like this. We laugh with them. We cry with them. We celebrate with them. I guess that sleeping on someone’s concrete slab with exposed 2 x 4s all around you; eating jambalaya or red beans and rice surrounded with half finished construction projects has created a special bond that just can’t be beat.


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