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I have been pretty absent from my Blog since the Kidnapping of Mickey Shunick. She, as well as her sister, Charlie, are close friends with my daughter, Meredith. Since May 19th, I just found myself unable to write about something as “trivial” as food…when a beautiful young woman had been taken by some horrible stranger as she was just riding home, where she lived with her parents.

This whole tragedy has shaken our family, as well as the entire Lafayette Community…to the core. Our Community came together in a spirit of unity, determination and with so much love – that I knew existed here, but had never seen it in action. From day one, family, friends and strangers from all over showed up to Help Find Mickey. Hundreds of thorough foot searches in heavy wooded fields, swamps, coulees and bayous were conducted all throughout Acadiana. Hundreds of volunteers came forward to make flyers, pass out flyers, tape up flyers, coordinated fund-raisers, candlelight vigils, making t-shirts, bracelets, yard signs and bumper stickers! Children would come to the Headquarters to color butterflies for Mickey. Anything that you could think to do…got done, quickly and usually through donations from our generous community. There was a calendar set up to bring food to the Shunick Family that was very well-coordinated, so that they would not have to worry or even think about meals…they simply showed up!

And the family…Nancy, Tom, Charlie and Zach…They have to be the most genuine, gentle and loving people who I have ever had to honor to meet. This is what “True Grit” is, my friends…”Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway”. This family “saddled up” and rode through the saddest days of their lives with the courage of saints, with grace and dignity that I truly thought no longer existed. I will always look to them as my role model on how to cope with tragedies when they come along in my life.

And then there is “Mighty Mickey”…after waiting and searching for 3 months to Find Mickey, we finally know what happened on that tragic night. We know how hard she fought to stay alive. As her mother Nancy has said, “It took a truck, a knife and a gun to bring Mickey down”. “She fought for the life she loved, and she DID love everything about her life!” Mickey has been able to lock away a Rapist, a Kidnapper and a Murderer for the rest of his life. He will never be able to hurt anyone (or their families and friends) again. I believe that Mickey is now “walking through rainbows”, touching stars and looking out for all of those wonderful people in her life that loved her so dearly. There is not a doubt in my mind that she is in perpetual peace with her Lord where we will all meet up again!

So, as I am trying to close this chapter, I remember Charlie being so excited about some of my blogs…expecially the post on Sylvain’s in New Orleans…(She worked there and was with us when we went!!) So, Charlie…in your honor, I am committing to getting back to business with this Blog, “When Food Works”.

I really want to encourage everyone to have fun with food – make your kitchen a warm gathering place for family and friends. Try new foods, go to new restaurants, go to your old faithful places too….but mostly make memories! Life is short and then there are memories…

This post is being written with a heavy heart, but a heart that knows that we need to continue doing those things that make ourselves and others happy. We all need to love our lives, at least a fraction of how much Mickey loved hers!

Food Works when people are in pain, Food Works when people are happy….my best guess is that Food Just Works!

God Bless Mickey and God Bless her family and friends. She will never be forgotten.