...And Four to Go!

We were all warned about them. Everybody in this area had heard of horror stories about 'strange' people in our neighborhoods lately. We heard not to stop and talk to strangers who lurked on corners because they had been hijacking cars, or shooting at people to get their cars to get out of town. Everyone, to some degree had been on pins and needles in our neighborhood since this all started.
Before the hurricane hit, Cappy and I had been planning on taking our vacation to western New York. Now, with our little town, who's good folks had taken in families, and the stores and gas stations running low, we decided to go ahead with our plans and kinda let 'the dust settle' around here.
I had everything all packed and ready when Cappy got off 'da boat'....but he didn't make it off 'da boat' til around 12:30 A.M. when I picked him up at the office in Houma, where the company he works for is located. It took us the usual hour-long drive home, and instead of resting, Cappy got a 'wild hair' and decided we should leave for NY right away, driving at night, when traffic was less congested. We loaded the rest of our stuff into the SUV, along with two very happy "licky-dawgs" and started off at 2:30 in the morning, pitch dark.
We had hardly pulled out of the driveway when Cappy pulled out his harmonica and the four of us were singing/howling/laughing along our usual winding road along the Mississippi River. I started to make the turn, when Cappy said, "Wait...I think I remember hearing that we can't travel north on I-55". I told him I had been listening to the news and hadn't heard that we couldn't. He then suggested an alternate route that would take us a millionty-two miles out of the way, and said, "Just humor me...back up and let's go the other way". I didn't want to do it, but I backed up across the intersection and sat there waiting for the light to change. I said,"I wish there were some way we could ask someone". And just then, as if in answer to my request, a police car pulled up from another direction and was waiting for the light to change as well. I excitedly said, "There ya go! Ask them!" Cappy hesitated, and asked, "Are you sure that's a police car?" I said, "Yes, see the writing on the side of his black and white car?" He hesitated again, and asked, as he was trying to get out of his seatbelt, "But are you POSITIVE it's a police car?" I was afraid the light would change and they'd leave before we got a chance to ask them anything. "Yes...yes, I'm positive!" Cappy got out of the SUV, stood in front of it waving his arms wildly and yelled, "Officer!!! Officer!!" The light changed for the 'officer', but the car didn't move. Cappy jumped around in his dark blue shirt and jeans, waving his arms frantically trying to get the officer's attention and yelling even louder, "Officer!! OFFICER!!!" The car just sat there. Nobody moved, except for Cappy, who was getting hoarse and tired from all the excercise. Finally, the car started moving very slowly. It had to come around the corner past us. It was, in reality a taxi-cab, most likely from New Orleans, FULL of passengers, who were all wide-eyed, all leaning toward the windows, gawking in the direction of Cappy. Even from where I was sitting, I could see that their driver looked kinda scared. As they quickly got up speed and zoomed off into the night, Cappy crawled back into his seat, muttering, "Well, that was humiliating".
Well, we'd all been warned about weirdos. We've seen the weirdos, and they wuz us!


We Didn't Write This, But it Sounds Like We Did.

Dear Dogs and Cats,
The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for itbecoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasingin the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's rear end. I cannot stress this enough! To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the
furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter
who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Dogs and cats are better than kids... they eat less, don't ask for
money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called,
never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't
smoke or drink, don't worry about having to buy the latest fashions,
don't wear your clothes, and don't need a gazillion dollars for
college - and if they get pregnant, you can sell the children.


We're Baaaaack!

Sighhhh, we are bone 'tarred'. We drove 18 hours straight, getting home around three A.M. We would have put up in a hotel last night, but all of the hotels were Full-Full-Full. The roads were crowded bumper to bumper with trucks and cars. People coming back to New Olreans. (We even witnessed a multi-car accident right in front of us.) Many people were sleeping in their cars along the road, not able to find hotels, or able to wait to find a Rest Area, which were also extremely crowded.
Actually it's a good thing we did drive all the way home last night, because SparkyBear had started coughing halfway home, then throwing up the rest of the night, from when we got home til we took him to the vet's this morning. He's still coughing and throwing up. The vet's not sure what's up, but gave him meds, etc. and will take him back in a week.
We NEED to get some sleep, but just finishing giving them both a bath, cuz they somehow had gotten loaded with fleas along the way.
Don't get me wrong; it was a fun vacation, which we'll relate as soon as we can think and see straight.
Ya know what?? We missed Ya'll, (yessss...YOU) and hope you are feeling just fine and missed us, too. Later.


Mark's the Spot

He could give a rat's fluffy tail now. He's got a 'war' injury. Yesterday, MarkyBear was out at the tree, as usual, barking up at one of those pecan pilfering squirrels. I got the waterhose, as usual, shot a jet at the big ball of grey pecan-stuffed fur. The squirrel dove from high in the tree to his usual soft landing pad...that being MarkyBear's big fat ol' soft back. MarkyBear, the "Bichon-zilla". By this time, Mark was wise to all that, and this time was ready to snatch the squirrel before it landed on him. MarkyBear twisted around, the squirrel landed with a thud next to him, and they both took off. The squirrel was kind of disoriented and didn't know which way to run around the fig tree, which is surrounded by mint and bricks. Normally, that would have given MarkyBear the extra time to actually catch the dreaded rat. But instead of hauling off after ol' "Rocky", he was hobbling on the ground wailing, "Medic!" I went over to see what the problem was. Mark is one to never complain of pain. At the vet's they are always amazed at how well he takes his shots, etc, without reacting at all. When I got over to him, near the fig tree, he was whimpering and shaking and holding up his back left leg.
The vet examined him and said that from what he could feel, he THOUGHT Mark tore a major ligament in his knee. He said what they usually do is to wait two weeks to see if the dog starts walking on it again, like with a sprain. If after two weeks, they are still not putting weight on it, then surgery must be considered. I told him it just so happened that we are going on vacation for two weeks, taking the dawgs with us. We aren't planning on any hikes or anything that would punish his knee. He can just have the family we are visiting 'baby' him.
...And, they weighed him at the vet's, too. He had gained another lb., even with all the excercise he'd been getting lately. I've always had in the back of my mind, that "Watermelon Boy" with "toothpick legs",... not a good mix.
Alright Miserable Squirrels, TAKE the stinkin' pecans...they are all yours...again...this year. Cappy and I are formulating another set of plans, and they don't include painting a bull's eye on Mark's back, ya rotten thangs! Rocky and "Bull's eye" indeed.


As The "Squirreled" Turns

I've watched them watching the neighbors. They sit on the fence as if frozen, and the milli-second the neighbor turns her back, they start up again. From that, I know they watch us, cuz, to them we are 'the Nuts'...we have the nuts, and the neighbors don't. Those Miserable Squirrels. I stood at the kitchen window and saw one of them over by the telephone pole, hiding by the drainage ditch, ducking down and watching the dawgs. The very second Marky turned and came toward the house, that wretched rodent leaped out into the yard and made for the nearest pecan tree. I stomped out there, dogs puzzled, having patroled the yard for the umpteenth time and finding no squirrels, but on my heels to see what 'this' was about.
I was really ticked, as usual, but seeing the grey little 'cutie-pie' looking innocently down at me, pecan in his little paws...I had to clear my throat and 'let him have it'. "You are a bad squirrel! Those are MY pecans, not yours!" The dawgs started in, too, "Yeahhh, Mom...get him down for us". He just sat there on the limb, frozen. I was not falling for that one! I picked up one of the dawg's red toy balls and heaved it up at him. He half-jumped, half fell on top of MarkyBear, then both of them madly got their bearings and made for the telephone pole, Marky, two paces behind him. He went up and Marky went around and around.
The assaults on the trees have been furious these last three days. When Marky has one 'cornered' in the tree, he stands out there and barks and barks and....(you get the picture) barks, until I come out and do something like throw the ball up there again. Now I know those miserable squirrels are crafty, but why was it now that every time I go out after them with something, they always land on big fat ol' Marky??? Before that, if they didn't land on him....I swear to you, when they'd land hard on the ground, I'd hear an 'Alvin the Chipmonk', "OooFF!" Yesterday I was worried about Marky; I thought he had become fixated on them and was coming down with OCD. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). He's constantly patrolling the yard. He barks all the time for me to "come see", as they say down here. Of course, when he does that, there's always a squirrel there in the tree. But yesterday I went out AGAIN for the howmany times, looked everywhere in the tree...saw nothing. Tossed the ball...nothing. Looked everywhere up there, again, saw nothing. Mark insisted there was one up there. I shrugged and said, "sorry, Mark, you must be wrong this time". Well he kept it up. Five minutes later he was still barking, so I went out. Nothing. I looked everywhere and tried to convince him, with treats to come in the house. NO way. I gave up and came in again and just let him bark til his barker was sore. An half an hour later, I staggered out there again. Come ON....there's no squirrel up there! To prove it to him I got out the water hose, sprayed a jet up there, and watched as one of the fat little rats landed on Marky's back and took off toward the pine tree, while another one made a wild leap outa the tree into the grape arbor and through the neighbor's fence. Today they are at it again. There aren't many nuts left, but dang! That's not the point. There are lots of them, partially gnawed on the ground. The bird feeder has lots of good stuff falling from it all the time. We've zinc'd and fertilized, watched, waited, tried to distract them...all to no avail. I think they are trying to drive us nuts. Then they will have us.


Smothered Squirrels...I Can Just See it Already.

In this corner, dancing around and weighing in at a healthy green, we have LIVE GREEN BEANS! ...And in this other corner, we have mooshed in a brown pile in this bowl, SMOTHERED GREEN BEANS! It doesn't matter, I know who's gonna win.
Cappy calls me a 'salad-head', and I am. When he's out on 'da boat', I load the fridge up with raw fruits, nuts and veggies, start sprouts in the cupboards, and start the chocolate withdrawl all over again.
My kids used to look forward to meals with curiosity and suspicion. They called me 'the sneaky cook'. Well, heck, I wanted the food to be tasty first of all, but healthy as well. I didn't put tofu ("Toad-food") in everything. I cooked traditional comfort food most of the time, but...DANG...everytime I tried sneaking in something "healthy", I was always 'busted'. I'll never live down "Liver Soup". Even the dog took one whiff and was horrified...after that, even he was suspicious of what was put in his, now sacrileged, hallowed bowl. One time I told one of the kids, "Go tell your brothers and sister that supper is ready". Oh yeah...they opened the back door and broadcast the news to the neighborhood "Supper is ready!!!" One of them yelled back, "What are we having?!" " We're having spinach dumplings and liver!!!" I still cringe about that one.
You can only imagine what my Mom, a chef and dietician,thought about my meal planning. She and Cappy would have been best buddies, I have no doubt. Mom always got all animated and excited while planning and shopping for a big production meal. Cappy does the same thing, with the same mannerisms and 'electricity' of anticipation. As you can imagine by looking at our pictures, he is a most marvelous cook.
Cappy could put a meal together that only took an half an hour, and it would taste wonderful. He could, and he has, especially on the tugboat. What he really likes to do, is to take his time.(The first step is for me to chop tons of onions, which I really don't mind, because it's a symbol of Cappy being HOME and cookin'!) He puts the Blues blaring on the stereo, stands around the stove or bbq pit, beer in hand, bare-footed, singing, laughing, twirling me around for a quick dance, calling people on the phone reminding them that their names are 'in da pot,' so "come on over an' getcha some", and deglazing said pot every once in awhile. His food is 'tah dah foe' good. "Slap yo Mama good, cuz she done never made none dis for you before", as he calls it. Every fork or spoonful might race it's way to my mouth, but once it hits the tongue,I have to stop, close my eyes and savor each and every bite, it's that good.
Grocery shopping with him is fun and interesting too. We both spy large juicy heads of cabbage for instance, or piles of crisp green beans. "Oh!" he says, "I'm so hungry for cabbage or green beans, let's get a bunch of it." My fantasy at that moment is cabbage salad or lightly steamed green beans al dente. What in, fact happens is that, once we get them home, we chase the little suckers around the kitchen, catch them and smother them. Smother the LIFE outa them. Starting with the onions of course, which are caramalized, deglazed with wine (usually), Cajun sausage slices all nice and browned, our 'usual suspects' rounded up (our special Cajun spices), bell pepper, garlic...all kinds of good stuff. Then the prized veggies are marched to the pot. Well, then everybody in the pot stays there for what seems like hours and hours, to make sure nobody makes it out alive. And nobody does. We offer up a 'Requiem' of Thanks, and dig in. Delicious!!!
Back out on the tugboat. Yesterday they finally got supplies. They had been so low on water that they couldn't even make coffee. There was no meat in the freezer or fridge. They had no fishing tackle with them. Cappy, when faced with this dilemma, had previously joked that he was curious about what gourmet meals he was going to be forced into by his Cajun instincts and foraging. He was wondering what kind of critters were going to 'wander' into his cooking pot. For the last meal before the fresh groceries were trucked in, he made spaghetti for his crew. He found, way back in the cupboard onboard, some Spam and canned vienna sausages, some tomato paste and catsup. He somehow turned this unlikely mess into such a good meal, that the guys went back for seconds and 'tipped' him with many compliments.
So now. I can eat my raw fruits and nuts and veggies whilst he is on 'da boat', but if Cajuns eat smothered food and live to be in their 90's, I guess I can 'force' myself. You haven't lived til you've wrapped your lips around a delicious smothered 'anything' from down here in Bayou Country.
I reported to Cappy about those miserable squirrels. He's already making plans: In this corner, weighing in at "300 lbs of white flesh, glistening in the moonlight", butcher knife in one hand, large frying pan in the other, dawgs at his side, an angry Cajun Cappy. And in the other corner we have, scampering around, sticking out their little tongues at Cappy and the dawgs, weighing in at a hefty haul of our pecans, those Miserable Brazen squirrels! It doesn't matter. I know who's gonna win.


Pegody's Bad Taste.

I didn't actually witness any of the heartlessness I had mentioned in an earlier post, during the storm. Only on television did I hear and see about it. Now I forget what I was even talking about in all the turmoil, except for the way people were made to suffer more in ghastly situations in the 'shelters' of New Orleans. In real life I saw panic...people, with anxious looks, running to and from their cars at gasoline stations. Small towns overrun with cars, had the surreal feel of a movie set; crowded with extremely tense people. I felt panic build inside. When I had left my town, I felt as though I was deserting friends, who were staying and going to go through another bad storm again. This was my third time leaving the house because of hurricanes, and my third time coming back to a secure home.
When I got home,I heard horror stories, as we all did. People I knew were afraid to go out of their houses. I became that way, too. I was suspicious of 'strange' people in our neighborhood. One tall person I'd never seen before was walking this huge pitbull down the street. Not a normal sight for our community. Oh yeah, and my dawgs had the temerity to 'call him out'. The guy and his dog just kept walking without even looking at them, and there they stood barking their fool heads off. Whew.
Everything in earshot was disturbing. I got very nervous.
I had a few groceries. I'm not fond of a steady diet of beans, as Cappy had insisted I buy tons of them for the storm. Easy for him...he wasn't home...good thing, too. I was worried about him. He and the other guys working the oil industry; the tugboats, and the men out on the platforms couldn't get food or water. I wanted to take matters into my own hands and try to somehow take some stuff to him,if I could get my hands on supplies myself. He forbad me from leaving the house. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I tried to involve one of my neighbors, who was already busy helping everybody else. He was hot and sweaty, picking up all of his neighbor's trash cans, putting them in his truck and taking it all to the dump, himself. A suit and tie man. I didn't like his quick, seemingly careless answer, so I felt helpless and became angry. His wife said Cappy would come home a few pounds lighter, too. (which in actuality, wouldn't hurt either Cappy or myself,as you can see from our picture). Instead of being grateful, I was so angry, I came and blogged all about it. Then, without thinking, (Oh Lord!) I emailed it to a lot of people whom I hoped might come up with some ideas to help Cappy. People I know. People in this town.
To err is Pegody. I hope to forgive is Cajun. So here I sit with my foot in my mouth, waiting for the other shoe to fall. I'll try hard not to stuff that foot in my mouth, too. If confronted, I'll be eating alright. Crow ettoufee and foot gumbo.

Parrot on Cappy's Shoulder, Taking Notes of His Musings

I 'rode' with Cappy while he was driving the tugboat Monday. (we were on our cell-phones)He is still on his "all-expense-paid excursion of the beautiful, scenic bayous and back waters of South Louisiana". As 'we' slowly made our way north, he pointed out to me, several signs that life is starting to rebuild, after Katrina ripped her way through so many people's lives. There was devastation, yes. One boat, named Hurricane Express was sitting on the bottom of Bayou Lafourche, with just her bow (nose) sticking up out of the water. More shrimp boats than he could number were scattered like broken toys everywhere along the waterway. Big ol' fancy yachts washed into poor folks' yards. What hurt Cappy most, he said, was that, yes, it was sad, to see those very expensive yachts ruined, but to him, seeing a ruined shrimp boat was worse. Yachts seem to represent 'playthings'. Time off. Luxury. Shrimp boats (as aggravating to him as they are when the shrimping seasons are rife with them everywhere, but out of his way) are somebody's livelihood. They have to pay the bills to feed families. Many of them are where people live; these are their homes, where they raise their children. They are part of a thriving food-chain industry here in South Louisiana.
But, "letting the good times roll" must be gotten to, apparently, by letting the bad times roll off'n you. There was 'PawPaw' sitting on his pier,with his weather-bedraggled home behind him, fishin' for supper. Three crusty-lookin' ol' boys,with their white "shrampin" boots on, standing on the back of their shrimping boat, beers in hand, stirring supper in a big black pot, counting their blessings. Mama hanging clothes on the line, while the kids chased each other in the yard, climbing over or dodging fallen trees. Cappy was resigned to the fact that the crazy "weekend-warriors", as he calls them, being every danged where up and down the bayou for the holiday, were racing their...all KINDS of watercraft. As usual, some for the fun of it, would still play 'chicken' with him and his barge.
Even with all the tragedy and mayhem still fresh in our memories, it was still a holiday. And these are still Cajun People. Resiliant, capable, and above all else, joyful. No matter how hard a hurricane can sceam it's wind through these people, it will not blow the Love of Life from out of them. The Joie de Vivre.


I've Surely Gone Squirrely

Well, I give up. I'm throwing up my hands, waving a white flag and just plum giving up. Just when I was hoping that the miserable squirrels that we've been fighting for four years now, would have been blown into the next parish (county) by this storm, I see their motto must also be the 'chicken soup' for squirrels: Whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger and bolder, hee-hee-hee-hee-hee.
The first year I was here, Cappy and I, much to the horror of the neighbors, put stove pipe around the base of the two pecan trees to try to keep the squirrels away from them. It worked for a few days, but then I had to tell Cappy, out on da boat, by then, that the miserable squirrels had built themselves little tractors, using our stove pipes for chimneys, and were merrily riding around the yard on them. We got about a gallon of pecans that year.
The second year, we had heard that Dial soap worked great as a squirrel deterent. Directions said to put the soap in pantyhose legs and hang them from the branches. I festooned the trees with bright yellow bars of soap in long silky legs of pantyhose. Well, if that didn't look pretty...with that and the stove pipe still around the base of the trees...some of the neighbors wouldn't look me in the eye.
By that time we had planted a line of small citrus trees down the length of the yard. Wouldn't you know, by the time the fruit came out, that birds started "snicking", as Cappy calls it, at the skin with their beaks, to get the oil. Books suggested netting. Cappy insisted that he didn't want netting, cuz it would look terrible in our yard. So he bought these disposable bright aluminum pie plates and hung several off the branches of each tree. Well, ya gotta know, when the wind rustled, or even when it didn't rustle, it looked like a Mardis Gras parade marching across the lawn. With that and the pecan trees all 'decorated'...
SparkyBear was getting big enough to chase the squirrels, but he had to be on a long rope, so he wouldn't go out of the yard. He's so headstrong, we needed the Invisible Fence, but as yet hadn't gotten it. Well, here come the squirrels from the sanctuary of the neighbor's yard across the street. They'd get so far into our yard, and Sparky would take off after them at a good clip, the squirrels would take off into the street, Sparky would hit the end of the rope,his top half would stop, but his back legs would keep going and out from under him. He'd fly up into the air and land OOF! on his back. It didn't take him long to figger it just wasn't worth the chase. The squirrels figgered it was a fun sport. When he did 'chase' them, they'd run back to the street and stop in the middle of it, fiddle around and slowly saunter back into their 'own' yard, kinda "high-fiving" each other.
This year we planted strong mint around the the pecan trees, bought big plastic owls,whose heads rotate in the wind. Cappy kept the squirrel tails from his last hunting trip to Mississippi. We kept those tails frozen in a couple zip lock bags since last December. In our freezer. With the meat and veggies. These tails were our "big guns". We'd put them in the plastic talons of the plastic owls, when we thought the time was right to put out the owls. We were calculating when the timing would be about right.
The timing was right when I came back from Texas for the Storm. Nuts were all over the ground. MarkyBear has been chasing the squirrels all summer, unfettered, til he hits the electric fence border...it gives him a "beep" sound before he actually hits the "correction", as it's called. (it's only a battery the size of a watch battery that 'shocks' the dogs, but they hate it anyhow) If I'm looking out the kitchen window and absent-mindedly say aloud the word, "squirrel", I hear a "whoosh" and the sound of the dog-door flapping. Marky might be "Jabba da Pup", or "WatermelonBoy", but I'll tell you, he cuts across that lawn, low to the ground, his little "toothpick" legs scissoring like chopsticks. He's almost caught a couple of 'em, too.
The last couple of days I've seen the squirrels actually IN the pecan trees, so I put one of the owls on the ground, by the one tree, with the huge shiney owl eyes staring at the neighbor's yard. (the squirrel tails hadn't survived the storm in our freezer, and had to be thrown away.) Every time I looked out the window, the owl was looking back at ME with it's big ol' shiney yellow eyes, as if to be pleading for help: "There are SQUIRRELS out here." Oh come ON...surely the breeze will turn the head back to the street.
Just now, I looked out the window and the owl was staring at me again, but with this look of: "Uh...a word with you, please..." Just above the owl was a squirrel in the tree blithely chewing on a pecan. I shrieked, "Why you Miserable squirrel!" The dawgs took off. Marky scared it outa the tree and up a telephone pole and stayed there snarling up after it. I was thrilled to finally hear SparkyBear, after these two years also barking at them! He kept barking so wildly I had to go see if he had one cornered. He saw me coming and looked back at his target to make sure it wasn't going anywhere til I got there. He was right in the owl's face, barking his head off at it, who was staring blankly back at him. It wasn't going anywhere, but in the trash.

Wood You Say......?

In the quiet middle of the night a few days before Cappy went back on 'da boat' this last time, just as I was settling back in bed, wedging myself between the dawgs and Cappy again, after having made a quick trip to the bathroom, there was a loud clattering somewhere in the house. Something had fallen. What the heck? How could something have fallen? And in the middle of the night? I yawned and snuggled my head back under the blankets to try to get warm. (When Cappy is home, he likes the house cool, so we have the A/C cranked, and the fan going as well, to keep the snowflakes from it, evenly dispersed around the room....giggling here, cuz I know when he gets home and reads this, he'll probaby roll his eyes or something.)
But what was that racket a minute ago? What could have fallen that made that kind of noise? I couldn't sleep...I hadda know. When I got to the hall, I heard the toilet running like crazy. Oh gosh, it's good I got up or that thing would have cost us a ton of money running like that all night. After jiggling the handle, I was walking through the hall and noticed something on the floor in the middle of this computer/guest room. I turned on the light and saw it was a plaque that I had gotten in Sunday School, in Olean, NY when I was a very little girl. It has a picture of a little girl holding a robin on her finger, and she is saying, "Jesus Loves Me". I picked up the plaque, smiled and said to Him, "I know You do". I still can't figure how it fell off from behind the shelf where I keep it, way into the middle of the room like that. As I crawled back into the blankets, I was thinking that perhaps that happened, as so many other times in the past, to let me know that if He cared about small things like the toilet water running furiously all night, that I could be assured that He would also take care of us in the midst of the bigger things in life. Kind of a "just letting you know ahead of time" thing.
And sure enough, a few days later, He did take care of us again. I had been rushing around doing things in anticipation of traveling north to New York State to visit, when the 'thought' came, "Are you going to die in this Storm?" Where had that come from? What storm? I hadn't watched tv for a few days, so out of curiosity, I turned on the weather channel and was horrified to see that an hurricane, already named Katrina was headed this way!
I rushed around packing things, called Bekah, who lives in New Orleans, who only just recently moved down from up north and doesn't know what to in the case of hurricanes, either. Together, she and I quickly picked things up outside to prevent them from becoming missiles during the storm, packing them into the shed or into the house; plants, chairs, flower boxes, flower pots, ladders, bird feeders, bird bath, patio table, the dog's swimming pool (that wasn't fun). Cappy, on the phone, said he was worried the boat would roll away because the trailor it's on is moved so easily, just by lightly pushing it. He told me to put 2x4's in front and in back of each wheel. (He had said, wearily, "I'm seriously afraid that we'll never see our boat again." He loves that boat, and from his youth, has never been without a boat.)
After having done all that, we headed out north and west, with no real destination. We took back roads to avoid the slowly moving "parking lots" on the regular highways. Just as we gave up, exhausted and tried to sleep at a rest area, near Marshall, Texas, Bekah's step-father, a good friend of our's, Chuck, pulled some strings and got us a very nice hotel suite in Dallas, where we spent three nights. Since the Winsor Court in New Orleans, where Bekah was recently hired as a pastery chef, was obviously out of commision, and her apartment on St. Charles was definitly in harm's way, she and her 2 cats boarded a plane for Utah, where her mother and Chuck live, until things calm down around here.
SparkyBear, MarkyBear and I got home 2 days later, after learning that we were one of the first towns to get elec. back.
There was no real damage at all that I could discern on our property. Trees were downed in yards around us. A tree and fence five feet away from our house and shed were blown down. Branches from the neighbor's trees are still all over our yard. The wind must have been roaring through here.
As I swept the carport, of the leaves and branches of our neighbors, I had to move the 2x4's away from the wheels of the boat's trailor. .......(!) Wait a minute. How is it, that the wind was so bad that it knocked down trees right and left, high and low....but never moved those light little plaques of 2x4 wood? They were exactly where I had placed them. Normally, they would have been the first thing I would have put in the shed, not wanting them to fly off INTO a neighbor's house during a hurricane.
Then the thought came to me. The Lord has always used Wood to show us how much He Loves us.


My Blue Haven

I came to South Louisiana a little over four years ago to escape feeling like the dirt people scrape off the bottom of their feet, to find Joie de Vivre and start over. I hated leaving loved ones...I left parts of my heart scattered all over western New York.One of the first things I learned about down here was 'da Blues'. People who were extremely happy enjoy listenin' to da Blues. I guess, because misery and pain gave birth to the Blues, and people overcame or learned how to live and love despite their suffering, the Blues is kind of like their rallying call, their mental comfort food, to know that even in the most desperate times of their life, they are not alone. It's a well-traveled road, Heartbreak.
I went to Dallas to escape the initial storm. I witnessed the second 'storm', the drowning of New Orleans, from Texas. I am back home, warily secluding myself and the dawgs, in our little town. I have wonderful neighbors. We look out for each other, and it wasn't that long ago that we all gathered for the National Night Out, to get to know each other better. I'm an artist, so I painted kids' faces...kids from 4 or 5 yrs old, to kids in their seventies. The third 'storm' has been spawned from desperation and ineptitude, I believe.
The atmosphere of our neighborhood has changed abruptly. Families are banding together to help one another, but I've noticed that cultural lines seem to exist, where there seemed to be none before this tragedy. I witness, with everyone else, the seemingly cold-heartedness of some people on television. I just can't fathom, that such a warm, welcoming place would...could turn away it's 'own'. Cappy is out on 'da boat'. He's trying to haul oil from damaged oil platforms, from which gasoline is made, to help get the country up and moving again. He will not get off the boat. From where he is, his sister called and asked how to make huge batches of food to feed the masses that have migrated to her town. He told her of many, many ways to cut costs, but feed large crowds of people that have nutrition and flavor. Even out there he is multi-tasking.
Four out of ten of the tugboat workers, at his company alone,have not been heard from. They live(d) in the path of Katrina. We have always said that Cajuns make lemonade when life hands ya lemons, and I said, "Hah! These Cajuns make huge lemon merangue pies outa them". I wonder what kind of recipes they are going to come up with from this immense lemon storm. The entire area needs Lemon-Aid. Cappy, again, somehow managed to get through on his cell phone and told me that his office cannot send them groceries, or water. He doesn't know what they are going to do. He said they will try fishing from the boat. He will not leave the boat. He is serving his country from his tugboat. Meanwhile, I'm going to get in touch with whomever I have to, to get supplies to him. I asked one of our neighbors how I could rally support. He shrugged his shoulders, and sighed, "Oh WELLLLL....tell him to get off da boat...ya gotta do whatcha gotta do...well, I'm busy, I'll see yall".
Where's dat danged Muddy Waters CD, the best of da blues.


New Olreans at Sunset

The Tolling of the Great Southern Belle

She was one of a kind, our Nola. She was a grand lady, the finest example of gracious Southern Hospitality. She was a beautiful hostess, a lady of refinement, gentility, and humor. (And her food!...My, Oh, My, Momma NOLA's Cookin'!) But for all her artisocracy and proper Southern manners, we all knew that beneath all the lace and petticoats, she was a foxy seductress, a siren, who's wanton, bluesy, raunchy, soulful, music wafted through her French Quarter. We loved her for all that she was...with all of her sins and for all of her goodness.
What a terrible 'cat-fight'. Nola had been able to defend herself against Betsy and Camille; been battered and bruised, but recovered...eventually. It appears that Katrina has beaten our Dear City and surrounding area.
New Orleans Saints have multiplied beyond number as of yet. More go Marching In all the time; those not having been rescued, and now more recently, victims of crime. No one knows how high the death toll is going to be. New Orleans, Louisiana, or 'NOLA', the Great Southern Belle is still tolling.