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A home along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The sign says, "Do not allow Katrina to steal your joy."  (Photo by Andrea James | September 2005)

A home along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The sign says, "Do not allow Katrina to steal your joy." (Photo by Andrea James | September 2005)

I’ve been meaning to write a post about how every day is a special occasion. But every time I begin, I think, what kind of cliche piece of advice is that? Everyone knows that from reading Hallmark “just because” cards.

And yet, I have to remind myself of that often.

In the past, whenever someone gave me perfume or a sweet smelling lotion, I would save it. By the time I was 23, I had amassed a solid collection of lotions and soaps and bubble bath and bath beads and relaxation oils — you’d think that I was obsessed with indulging myself amid the scent of rose and lavender.

And I think that friends and family must have seen my collection and thought, “Wow, she loves Bath & Body Works,” thus creating a multiplier effect on gift occasions.

Once, while helping me to move, my brother-in-law exclaimed, “You and all your bottles!”

At the time, I couldn’t bear to part with even one bottle. I was storing these away for a special occasion. This went on for years.

Then my wedding day came and went. I think I used one of the lotions. Once.

I gave away my collection shortly after.

This upcoming Sunday marks the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

I wonder if my newfound penchant for giving things away, and not holding onto too many posessions, comes in part from having lived on the Gulf Coast during the storm. (See my recount in the aftermath, here.)

During that time, I volunteered to help families clean out after their homes flooded. Beloved possessions became soggy stinking junk.  Items that may have been saved to honor a special occasion instead became chores — stuff had to be picked up, salvaged or discarded.

It seemed like an enormous and endless task.

I’m eager to read some of the Hurricane Katrina look backs and the where-are-we-now pieces.  Particularly from those who have a connection to the Gulf Coast.

As for how to mark this special-tragic-occasion? I will try to remember that there’s never a better time than now to drink the good wine.

More photos below the jump. Click any photo to enlarge it:

Formerly a house (Photo by Andrea James | September 2005)

Formerly an apartment complex in Mississippi (Photo by Andrea James | September 2005)