Parade of Priorities

I sat down with a new friend during my recent trip, and she mentioned she and another friend were going to an Alabama Parade of Homes on Sunday. “Did I want to come along?”

My remaining vacation days are few, and I tilt my head and ponder. Magnolia Springs has lovely homes under canopies of majestic live oaks. I’d enjoy seeing the landscaping and gardens. Viewing the latest and the greatest in the world of design could give me some ideas of how to upgrade our own home. My kids have commented on our outdated furnishings such as window dressings and lamps.

The problem is, our lamps, purchased forty years ago, match our furniture, much of which has been handed down from family or purchased from flea markets or hand made. I visualize the washstand table that once belonged to my great grandma, the dining room table my husband Frank and I bought as a newly married couple at Wo-Zha-Wa’s flea market, and the marble coffee and end tables Frank designed. I wouldn’t want to part with any of them.

If I go to the Parade of Homes, I’ll see the latest in window dressings. But I’m not interested in spending the money or time picking out new ones. The living room sheers I chose twenty years ago are still in good shape. When I open the windows, the swirls of blue, green and blush colors billow in the breeze.

I happily remember a highlight of our vacation when my husband I took our daughter parasailing and the parachute billowed in a similar way. When I see our sheers, I’ll remember sailing like the soaring pelicans we see flying like squadrons over the Gulf of Mexico.

My new friend visits with another woman, giving me a minute more to think about my answer. My priorities line up as if in a parade. Do I want to spend one of my last vacation days looking at people’s houses? Or do I want to return to the park where I met lichenologists, fascinating people from as far away as California and New York? They had gathered to study the lichens at Alabama’s Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge. I’d never heard of lichenologists and was fascinated to learn how these puffy plantlike organisms can show whether an environment is healthy. My friend was finishing her conversation. I needed to figure out my answer.

Another friend had mentioned how she’d enjoyed the Parade of Homes, especially discovering that some houses had secret rooms. That did sound intriguing and reminded me of how the alligator my family liked to check on had secret hideouts too. “Leftie,” who had a missing right leg, hadn’t been in her usual spot the last time we looked. Missing a leg hasn’t stopped her from having young (baby alligators are super cute) or roaring loudly if feeling territorial (super scary.) I wouldn’t mind searching for her again. We’ve been coming to Gulf Shores, Alabama, for over 40 years and have been visiting Leftie for nearly twenty. There’s something to be said for cherishing the long-standing and time-honored.

I realize spending a day at The Parade of Homes, looking at the latest and the best, items I wouldn’t be able to afford and might make me envious, has a low priority for me. Spending the day watching the sun rise over the ocean, taking another hike at the refuge, and  bike riding with my husband to see what Leftie is up to lead the parade.

6 Replies to “Parade of Priorities”

Good for you, Amy! You’ve clearly got your priorities straight.

Amy Laundrie

I’d say the same for you, Gayle. Thanks for reading.


Love your thought process. Makes me think too!! Hhmmmm

Thanks for the comment, Deb. I’m just returning the favor; you’ve made me think about many things too. 🙂

This is my favorite of all your writings, maybe because I laughed in total agreement. Life is wide and deep and full of wonder which is my priority.

Amy Laundrie

I’m so glad my words resonated with you, Jane. Your praise made my day. Thank you.

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