Ebb and Flow

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 16, 1998

By DEBORAH CORRAO / L’Observateur / November 16, 1998

The other night my 6-year-old granddaughter Carley asked me to watch and help her with some gymnastics maneuvers for her acro-gymnastics team. As I watched her go through the paces every once and a while I’dgive her a reminder like, “Keep your arms straight” or “Remember to tuck your neck.”After three or four such reminders, she looked at me and asked, “Don’t you have any WOW’s?” “What’s a WOW?”, I questioned.

“You know,” she answered, “like, ‘Wow! I like the way you pointed your toes,” or “Wow! That was a great forward roll.”Yes, every now and then we adults need a little reminder about what’s important in life.

In the field of journalism, you have to be equipped with a healthy dose of skepticism. For several years I produced the 6:00 news at a New Orleanstelevision station. Needless to say, the majority of our newscast wasmade up of stories about local disasters, personal tragedies, public corruption and on and on.

About five years ago I was dealt what I considered a death blow when management changed hands and I lost my job. Frankly, for a while Ithought my career was over. But after a few months of grief,introspection and re-evaluation, I came to realize that the constant stress of dealing with a live newscast and the constant competiton to win the ratings war and keep ahead of other stations and even my own colleagues, no longer had a place in my life.

Recently, pretty much by accident or maybe synchronicity, I was offered the opportunity to work parttime for L’Observateur writing features and covering soft news.

What a wonderful job! I get to go out with my notebook and camera and talk to people just like you and me and look for the WOW.

Many times we tend to label people we meet in the course of our lives or even those we’ve known for a long time as ordinary or boring. But eachperson has their story to tell if we know the right questions to ask.

For instance, I had the pleasure of meeting Milton Bienvenu when I was asked to do a feature on his retirement as the owner of LaPlace Lumber Co.

I admit, after a few questions about the store, I was running out of ideas about how to make the story fly. Then I noticed a picture on the wall of amuch younger Milton Bienvenu in a Navy uniform. Out came the story of afledgling naval officer who became a war hero off the coast of Normandy during World War II.

Or Neil Boudreaux, the longtime shiftworker at ADM in Destrehan, who is a gifted artisan in the privacy of his home, carving intricate duck decoys and other wildlife.

And the list goes on and on. I am constantly inspired by the stories ofthose ordinary people we meet every day of my life.

Yes, every now and then I do stop and say, “WOW!” But I need a reminder every now and then to say it more often.

Thank you, Carley.

By the way, if any of you readers know of any WOW’s in your life or those of your family or friends that you think other readers would like to know about, call us. I can’t wait to meet them.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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