I think the answer is to-
Plug the external drive into the desktop, (the drive with both catalog and photos)
Use Finder/Explorer to locate the catalog (xxxx.LRCAT) file on the external drive.
Double click the xxxx.LRCAT file.
This should open Lightroom with your catalog intact and complete.
If you find that images are 'missing' [!] or folders are 'missing' [?], then seek further advice.
Do NOT re-import anything, that is not the way to re-connect your catalog and photos.
Thanks for your reply. I get the following message:
"Lightroom cannot use the catalog named "Barb's Pics" because it is not writable and cannot be opened. This could be caused by incorrect permissions or because another Lightroom application is using the catalog. You may try to correct the problem or you may select a different catalog."
Any other suggestions? Thank you once again for your efforts!
OK, so you used Finder or Explorer to verify that you have READ and WRITE access to the folder on the external drive that the catalog is in, right?
Yes I do have READ/WRITE access. Checking around between the laptop/desktop and have discovered that I was using the wrong lrcat file. I was using from the latest backup. I copied the file I should have used from the laptop to the desktop and then started over and was able to retrieve my keywording. I have to find missing folders but all is well, much less work than re-keywording Thank you for your help!