Benjamin Franklin said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Suffice it to say ole Ben, though great man he was, never traveled to South Louisiana. He might have rethought his simile. First of all, good fish would never last three days without being turned into a good pot of courtbouillon. Secondly, we cherish our guests, for good reason. Family and friends are the lifeblood of our culture. We are a social bunch of people and we really do not like to be alone. We embrace one another’s company, in good times and in bad. We come together in times of strife just as much as times of joy. I was recently descended upon by not one or two but about eight of my closest, high school buddies a couple of days ago. They brought a computer to help with this blog, a video camera to diary my experience, and a bunch of useful hands to help “hunker down” for this fight we are about to face. Amazingly, I still had all six beers that were in my fridge when they arrived. There was no pretense, no motive. I did not ask them to come. They just wanted to be around their buddy who was going through some hard times. Alix’ sisters and best buds from back home have been in and out of the house as well. They have traveled hundreds of miles to spend the weekend and provide us with help that is appreciated beyond words. They have left behind babies, husbands, and jobs in an instant just to give us a hand, a shoulder, and a hug. Family dinners every night that I was never really able to enjoy or often took for granted are now so much more meaningful. I truly feel like sometimes we get too caught up in our own lives and we lose touch with those we love. Sometimes pain or joy reunites us and we realize that the love for our friends and family never leaves, it has always been there. It shows up stronger than ever right when you need it. We are blessed to go about this journey with family and friends. Not everyone has that blessing. So I will end this post on a lighter note with yet another quote, “If you threw a party, and invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me, and the card attached would say ‘thank you for being a friend.” Thank you all for the love and support. The fight is just beginning and we could not do it without you. Kicking cancer in the gut one day at a time!