In our little foray to the East Coast (ie: Hilton Head), we made a brief pit stop in Slidell.
Home for the Clanahan's for 2 years until Katrina wiped it all away. Actually that turned out to be a blessing in disguise, but that's another post for another day.
After stopping at Southside, one of our favorite eateries when we lived there --- we made the quick trek over to the old stompin' grounds.
Kind of amazing what we saw. The old high school, Salmen, was being raised up on huge pillars --- our first apartment buildings were now condos, buildings were completely gone and left with only the concrete foundations...still...after all this time.
Matt and I had not been back to Slidell together since he last saw the condo prior to sale in '06. So this was quite the trip down memory lane.
Finally after gasping about what we were seeing and recalling on Pontchartrain Dr (and remember, this is FOUR years later) - we made the turn down to our old neighborhood.
And OMG, thank goodness we don't live there anymore. We bought the condo/duplex when the subdivision was just being developed. House prices in Slidell were crazy, so this was about all we could afford. But it was ours. And cute. When we lived there.
But now --- not so cute. The place has gone completely downhill. Lots that were supposed to be developed --- never built on. Landscaping, gone. Trees in disarray. Signage broken. Gates non-functioning.
And actually the gates thing was a blessing for us cause we got to mosy right in.
I immediately jumped out of the car with the camera when we pulled in to the drive to take pics of the old homestead.
Suddenly, I heard this excited, yet sort of horrified whisper/shout from my husband.
Geez, I just about jumped out of my freaking skin.
"What the H?" I replied (thinking that any moment the current homeowner was jumping out of the bushes with a loaded AK-47 or something).
"The gnome", he said.
"What about the freaking yard gnome"? (Oh, he has LOST it. He has been driving for 6 hours straight, exhausted poor thing and now he is talking about gnomes)
"It's mine!!!!", the excited whisper came again.
Oh my goodness. Are you serious???
And it all came rushing back to me.
The same yard gnome that Matt's college buds had bought him as a JOKE for his birthday.
The same yard gnome that trekked with us to our first apartment in Slidell and found a perma-place on the balcony, far away from any peering eyes.
The same gnome that staked out a far spot on the corner of our patio in our new condo.
The same gnome that was completely abandoned and forgotten about once the storm hit and all was lost. It didn't even make the insurance claim (and everything made the claim - down to every last pair of underwear and socks I owned).
And this lady had his gnome for all the world to see in the prime spot of her/our flower bed.
How did we know it was ours (His)?
One thing we do recall after the storm was the gnome must have hit the pillar of our house from either the wind or the flood and the tip was broken off his little hat.
So once Matt saw the concrete junk, I mean gnome, with his little hat broken, he knew it was the original and one and only. (and I stress, ONE AND ONLY)
Before I knew it, Matt was ringing the doorbell to check and see if the lady was home. She was not. (We were able to peer inside the house though and much to our relief it really looks like she has kept things up - all looked great inside!!)
After no answer, and a couple of quick, furtive glances around the neighborhood, Matt told me to haul a*$ and get in the car.
You can only guess what he did next.
My sweet little innocent husband, who really didn't even drink until he was of legal age and has broken very few laws (including speeding limits) in his lifetime, hoisted that gnome over his shoulder and tossed it in the back of the getaway car.Yup - we stole back our gnome.
And that bad boy traveled with us all the way to South Carolina and back.
Sadly (for Matt), the gnome has been resigned to the garage. He will likely not see the light of day in Houston.
But he's back. The gnome is back. And we have rescued another part of our lives that Katrina took.
Score: Katrina 1,000 Clanahan's: 25