I was born to a family of fur trappers back in the day when people wore fur coats. A meager living with days filled with hard work. One of 14 children, 12 of us survived until adulthood. Mama gave birth to seven boys and seven girls. Two my sisters left their bodies before I was born but their spirit, soul presence was always with us. Leola and Myrteleen was always with us. Mama made sure of that. Today I fly home to the funeral of the first of us 12 to pass though the portal to the other side. I was num- struck by the news. Ballard was my godfather. I have only one memory of him acting like one. It was when Jimmy, my younger brother was coming across the street with a big ass snake in his two hands. I was on the front porch studding. Jimmy so proud and quite ready to scare the shit out of me with that damn snake. I’m screaming for Mama and Ballard sees the situation. Hurriedly he heads in my direction to get between me and Jimmy. That’s when I knew he was my godfather. I’m glad I didn’t get a window seat. I don’t want to see the Pontchartrain until I can smell it. I carried my luggage on today for the first time. I want to get out as quickly as possible. All I ever wanted was to get out of Berwick. The only time I come home is for a funeral and here I am again. This one ought to be interesting…with the Jehovahs, the Catholics and the Born-Agains. The lady next to me on the plane is going to the Quarter to attend a conference; something to do with the pathetically low math and science scores in the schools across America. Our conversation and her passion for her work keeps my mind off the dread I feel; knowing the rejection throne at me from their eyes by the gay hatters or just Barry hatters or maybe a little of both. This was the first time I had flown since (9/11). Every one seemed pensive during the flight, wondering if the person next to them could be a terrorist. I wish I had said thank you to the sailor in the Atlanta airport. I’m sure, he read my face, he nodded back. Freedom isn’t free. We all pay some how. Some with their lives; some their minds. It sickens me when I think of Kurney in that glass covered coffin. I smell Beignets! They have put a Café DuMonde kiosk in the new section of the airport. The smell of beignets and chicory coffee is all over me, but that’s not the smell I’m looking for. I can’t stop to get one as bad as I want to. Finally, out the doors, diesel fumes from the shuttle buses. Where’s the Alamo bus? Oh, Gaud, there it is, beating out the diesel and sweat of the cabdrivers: the smell of salt and mud. South Louisiana. The wonderful odor of the brackish waters of the Barataria and the Pontchartrain manage to reach over and engulf even the New Orleans International Airport. I’m home.