What a year it’s been! Different kind of busy and wonderful.

Kathryn Martin - 2012 Strawberry Festival Grand Marshal

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My June 2011-June 2012 term as Strawberry Festival Grand Marshal took me to so many places and introduced me to so many people that I hated to see it end.

Got to do my favorite thing – meeting and greeting – and wearing the official banner made it official.

The strawberry is our state fruit and our parish grows the most with our town’s the best known. Our state representative, Steve Pugh, was also our king and opened doors to us in royalty that were quite a privilege. Taking us on an in-depth historic tour of our state capitol in Baton Rouge, (tallest capitol building in the nation) from the tower to the basement, he treated us to meals in the Representatives’ dining area, had us recognized in the House during the proclamation of our 2012 Festival and provided an audience with Governor Bobby Jindal.

Our queen, Amy Lynn Ferrara, a full-time university student in elementary education and part-time job holder, still managed to represent us across the state at 83 festivals and fairs. I might add that our festival is so big that with the 300,000 people it brings in that one weekend in April that it is the second largest free festival in the state and the title of Queen is a state title and not just for the local festival.

Our chairman, Lanelle Arcenaux, once a queen herself, is principal of an elementary school.

So it’s a good thing I’d set aside the year well in advance for writing never dreaming I’d be given such an honor as we were on the go the whole year.

Our parish alone has festivals for Dairy, Italian, Sicilian, and Oyster and I made those.

Numerous organizations prepared what I’d call feasts for us. I was invited out so many times and had so many meals brought in that at one time for two months I never cooked anything!

Closer to festival time we made a number of trips to New Orleans and Baton Rouge for television, radio and newspaper interviews. The day of the festival’s opening we were brought by stretch limo from the north end of our parish at the Mississippi state line to every town all the way back to our own to issue invitations to mayors and citizens. Most gave keys of the city and gifts along with meals and snacks. Local banks hosted us as well. In fact, I’ve received so many gifts that a friend has redone my dining room three times as a grand marshal exhibition!

I was given a tea that had such a turn-out, complete with mayor and wife, that I never got beyond welcoming each person – too many to sit and visit personally. How touched I was at the show of affection.

This doesn’t even begin to do it justice but between all the meetings and invitations, I managed to complete the manuscript my second mom/mentor/co-speaker/co-writer started so long ago but became ours, then mine. Now the next big step is how to publish, traditional as my first book was, or self-publish as has become the trend. If I do it myself both in print and on e-book, it’ll be titled “Long Way from Lonely”. If I go traditional, I’ll have no clue! So will keep you posted. It is Christian fiction about a young man, Alan Woodward, just out of World War II, finding himself alone, heading southward in a search for a new life.

NASCO Catalog Company for those in long-term health care activities) continues to sell my two DVD’s made for that audience. For residents, “Miz Maudie Visits the Nursing Home”, and taken from my most-requested speaking for workers in long-term care, “Keep On Lovin’ ‘em and Makin’ ‘em Laugh!”. These can be ordered at NASCO (enasco.com/senioractivities or 1-800-558-9595).

For Canadian friends “Miz Maudie Visits the Nursing Home” DVD is still made available by Concepts du Sablier at 1-888-907-6878.

Because I’m trying to finish several other books in addition to weekly newspaper columns and magazine articles, since Katrina I’m not doing the traveling and speaking so rely on sales from the above sources as well as this web site. So feel free to pass the word along to leaders looking for entertainment for their Senior Adult functions as well as Women’s Ministries, in DVD’s filmed from retreats, conventions, banquets are available on this site.

My most recent area speaking has been for Southern Baptist Women’s and Senior Adult Ministries as well as our own Books, Berries, and Bridges Writers Conference. (The latter on “Help! I Want to Write Non-Fiction and Don’t Know Where to Start” which I did last year and a repeat was requested.)

I’ve been invited to England and that’d be the chance of a lifetime so will keep you posted on that.

Although I’m doing more writing than speaking and traveling, I never forget you who’ve been so kind to me through the years of heavy travel. Still watch the weather maps to see what it’s doing in your parts of the U.S. and Canada.

As said above, I never forget you or your many kindnesses.

My love to all,