The things they carried.

This fourth trip crept up on us as we were all busy, and we’d had our flights booked for months.  The pics of our reserved Air BnB looked amazing.

Marcia Ball, our talented friend, is to be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame tomorrow.  From the moment we were invited we planned to support Marcia.  You may remember Marcia as the gal who surprised Patty in Pat O’Brien’s Piano Bar back in New Orleans last year.  Patty has known Marcia for years and years.  Marcia is a 5-time grammy nominated blues artist who resides in Austin, TX.  Jane discovered Marcia in the late 1980’s and introduced Patty to Marcia’s music.  She and Patty started going to Marcia’s concerts at Skippers in Tampa every year.  Patty would bring Marcia some oranges one year, a crawfish bucket with pictures of Marcia’s concerts that she had made another year, an Anna Maria Island sweatshirt, Callahan Tire loot, a Photo Album with concert pix,  and Patty’s sister, Kathy, even made a bracelet with “La Ti Da” on it (signature words from Marcia’s song).

As Jane says, they “stalked Marcia.”  For years.  She’s now a friend.

I read a beautiful book recently called The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.  The book is actually a series of stories from the author’s experiences in the Vietnam War, so the connection to the lives of the six gals on this trip isn’t readily apparent, but the beauty of the writing and the way the author showed that everyone brings their own truths and items and experiences to a situation really do give pause.  I’ve thought about how we friends carry things on our trips and in our hearts as we walk through our lives together.   Some of us have burdens…even all of us I’d say. Patty, of course, carries the burden of waking and thinking of Pancreatic Cancer or maybe about upcoming chemotherapy. Every day.  Every day.

We packed the things for our trip in the usual way.

Trudi mentioned that she’d tucked in an umbrella and ankle boots and silver earrings that Julie gave her for her birthday.

Patty brought ankle boots too.  She’d packed in a hurry since she dashed off to the east coast of Florida prior to flying west and meeting us in Austin ( more on that later)

Jane brought her new invisiline molds and her iPad.

Patti brought our Route 66 business cards (we like to publicize our blog in our continued effort to somehow, someday reach Ellen Degeneres with Patty’s message of kindness and hope.)

Julie brought a game for us to play and her school work for the plane.

Jean brought Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds and an apple.

We all brought our purple pan can bracelets.

There is something else that two of us now carry.  Patty V is now a Nonna.  Jean G is now a Gigi.  They both became grandmothers for the first time this week!


Please join us in welcoming these two precious burdens as we carry them in our hearts from this day forward…

Charlie Layne Sparks is Jean’s first grandchild.

Vanderbilt William Robison IV is Patty’s first grandchild.

We presented Patty with a handmade bracelet tonight that holds two pieces of petrified wood from our Route 66 trip.  We spent the evening laughing and reminiscing. We streamed Marcia Ball songs and giggled.

We carry on.  We’ll carry on.


Blog Notes:

Patty’s favorite song that she’s heard Marcia perform:  (A Bill Withers song: “I Wish You Well”).

Another fave:  “Ride it out:”



Of the text stream below, creator Jane, simply said, “No one is safe (from shenanigans) in this family…”



And this is the text that was sent from Vanderbilt IV to his aunt Jane when his grandma, Patty, needed Janey to pack a few things for her:



WE toasted our trip w/ raised glasses as we waited for Jean to arrive from Denver where she had been with her daughter, son-in-law, and new grand baby.  Her flight got in a few hours after ours.  Patty raised her children’s Tylenol.








4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mama Betty says:

    That was a ton of news to pack into that blog, Julie, but as usual you did it masterfully and with humor, you are all tugging at our heartstrings, have fun and give Marcia a hug for me💕


    1. We love having you along with us Mama B! Hugs to you, and we promise to deliver yours to Marcia!!!! Xoxo


  2. Cynthia Dillane says:

    Great blog as ever – have missed reading them! Hope you all have a great time and that the induction into the Hall of Fame is a fabulous experience. Love Cynthia


    1. Thanks so much for reaching out, Cynthia! We’re excited!!


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