It was sad that Jennifer got sick just as we were getting there. She's always had bad bouts with pneumonia and bronchitis. The only time she got to go out day-tripping with us to show Pop the sights, was our first real day there. That day we went to the Charlotte Beach with her, Tim and son, Dan, then to get some fresh apple cider AND the obligatory cake doughnut.
By the time we got her home, Jennifer was plainly feeling not good. They gave up their bed, to us, the guests, and she sat up on the couch all night, and for the rest of the time we were there! Actually, she sat up coughing most of the nights, the poor thing. Getting her to go see the dr. was hard to do, cuz she, like her Pop, don't wanna do that if they don't have to. So... echinechea and golden seal and vitamin C were advised, as usual, by..uh..."dr." Mom. Finally, the last day we were there, she started feeling a little better. I was sad because I didn't get to see her very much while we were there. We sat outside some on her porch, chatting lightly, while I admired her flowers. She's got nice mounds of lavendar mums. Because of that, when I got home, I put in some mums like it, too. ( I know I'm digressing, but I also put petunias in the window boxes, because it's about to be winter season down here in South Louisiana. Everybody is trimming damaged branches and limbs from the hurricane storm damage. I had some nice shade plants that were all comfy in the shadows of our neighbor's trees. Yesterday some guys came and chopped all of them to the ground, then buzzed the stumps into sawdust! My ferns! My ivy! My hostas'! My impatiens! Oh well, the lady is a sweetheart and knows what she's doing. Wish I did. We'll find another place for them, or find a way to shade them again. .....now back to Sookie's garden...) Jennifer has a lot of roses, too. That's one thing I haven't tried growing in the South. I think she has my grandmother's green thumb, cuz it comes so easily for her.
I wish I hadn't had to spend so much time in Olean and Port Allegany with 'closure issues'...past hurts, etc. from my childhood, that I wanted to share with Cappy. We had planned on getting back to Rochester in time to go to the drive-in with Jennifer. We had really looked forward to it. Rats.
Our last day there came much too quickly. It was sad to be leaving. Jennifer had her household all assembled on the front porch as Cappy, the dawgs and I were in the SUV about to pull away. Cappy and I had gotten into the habit of giving the 'Cajun Yell' (AAAAAAAAIEEEEEEE!!! the "I" being a yodel in the middle), as we drove away from anyone of the kids' houses while we were there. As we were driving away, she had them all give us the Cajun Yell, then added, "The Cajuns have left the building, but they have not taken all the Spirit!!" That means we left them with Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life).
His wife, Jean, is a ball of creative energy. This woman is always on the go and always has something up her sleeve. She organizes initiatives for fund drives, or at Christmas time makes so many different kinds of cookies so as to make one think she's running some kind of cookie factory, or she's quilting by HAND the most gorgeous quilts or embroidering beautifully something or other. Last year she held an authentic Hawaiian Luau at their house, replete with roast pig. She even lined up an Hawaiian dancer. She made many, many costumes for her guests to wear. Hula skirts, leis, etc. Oh gosh! If you hadn't known better, you would think that, by looking at the pictures in her photo album, that the whole thing MUST have taken place in Honolulu. Plus, she's an amazing cook. I know I'm not including all the things she's done or been involved with. I for sure, can't keep up with her. She leaves me panting in the dust.
If you've read the archives, you know that Mr. Ed and Jean came to visit us last Spring. We had so much fun with them, we could hardly wait to get to see them when we went to visit western NY last month. We just couldn't wait to "hug their necks", as Cappy puts it. Well, we got to see them. We only got to see them the one night, but it was absolutely wonderful. They invited us out to dinner with them. Unbeknownst to us, they were including us to join them in celebration of their anniversary. What an honor. I don't remember ever having had such a sumptuous meal. It was my first time eating...I think they were King Crab legs. Well, now I'm spoiled. When Cappy gets off the boat this time, THAT's what I want. We dined like royalty at a wonderful restaurant near Rochester, but the name escapes me. The meal lasted for a couple of hours as we relished in each others' company. Mr. Ed, a chemist by profession, is an intelligent conversationalist, who tosses humor into the mix, which is how Cappy talks as well, so they always have their heads together. You'd think they'd known each other for years. (they haven't) Jean, is so sweet and funny. I love hearing about all her new adventures. Just talking about this couple makes me miss them so much (....hey!Pegody! No puddling up here on 'da blog'!)
We went back to their house afterward and before we left, you should see the 'welcome basket' they had prepared for us. And Cappy & I thought we had the market on (Southern) hospitality....the Northern hospitality aint not that bad either. We had them down here for a couple of days. They only had us for a couple of hours, but they sure did it in a big way. Mr. Ed said at the restaurant, "We're gonna shoot for the moon tonight!" I think we musta shot a hole right through it...if not, his wallet then. They wouldn't let us pay for a thing.
Now look at their picture again. Can't you just see the fun in their eyes?
More like AddenDumb. These boys have always been into mischief and making messes from early on. This is one picture where I literally 'caught' them in the act, when Mark was still a puppy.
I was thinking about yesterday's post about the dog cah-cah and lipstick smeared all over the bathroom. No matter how much makeup or coverup one can use, it's still not going to make real s*** any prettier.
YeahYeahYeah, I was kinda down after coming back from New York State. Back home to our little town here in South Louisiana. I guess a lot of people are depressed around here what with all the hurricanes. In THAT I wasn't alone; I just didn't know it cuz I was alone. I wondered why nobody around here was around here much lately. It appears everyone has been sort of keeping to themselves, just quietly recouperating. I really got to feeling cut off from society for awhile, so whenever I was able to talk with poor Cappy on the phone, I whined. A real nice thing for a tugboat cappy to have to hear from the 'homefires'.
Finally yesterday the phones started working better, so we got to talk for hours. Ya gotta know Cappy. He had me laughing in no time, concentrating on things that were going WELL, instead of things that were going wrong. He had me see the humor in the other night,when I had felt exhausted and wary, so I locked the dogs in early with me and went to bed. I closed the back door in such a way that they didn't have access to their doggie door. Around three a.m. I got up and staggered blindly into the bathroom, not turning on the light, as I usually do. I got halfway across the room, then skidded and slipped the rest of the way.(?) Whaaaa? I stomped around in the dark, back to the light switch, feeling something very wrong underfoot, and dreaded what I was about to see. Turning on the light I saw it. All over the floor. Upon not so much further inspection I noticed red smeared all over too, amongst the doggy-doo. Wait, tho...it wasn't blood. It was ...lipstick??? How had lipstick gotten down on the floor, too? Dang that SparkyBear...he's taken to jumping up and ferreting around for things on the countertop. So, I had dog cah-cah slathered on the bottom of my left foot, and lipstick caked on the bottom of my right foot, and I had been using them both as pallets and as art brushes on the canvas of the floor. Did I mention all over the floor? At three o'clock in the morning? Too late to get angry at the dogs. Sitting on the edge of the bathtub lathering up my feet, I had to admit the warm water felt kinda good. Then I got the floor cleaned up. In the whole production,what with my yelling when I took off on one heel across the bathroom floor, almost falling when I first went into the bathroom, and the water running in the tub, etc, the dogs, who always investigate whatever I'm doing, were suspiciously absent. When I finally crawled back into the blankets, they were sound asleep, snoring. Snoring too fast, I thought.
Been in a funk lately. Oh, I've been keeping busy, for sure, but since coming back from the trip and Cappy being back out on the boat for four weeks, it's just plain kinda depressing. WhineWhineWhine. And dat's why I haven't been blogging lately.
And what in the world happing'd to da squirrels? Since coming home, just after Hurricane Rita roared through here, MarkyBear, SparkyBear and I have not seen 1 squirrel! Not one cute cuddly squirrel nor one miserable squirrel. They packed up our pecans, and flew off into the next parish (county), with the help of Rita,I guess.
Although I know I'll never be a real Cajun, I love their attitude about making good things outa bad circumstances. Like life handing Cajuns lemons and instead of making the usual lemonade, they make zee poofy wonderful lemon merangue pie. So, I took the squirrel situation and tried to find zee poofy wonderful humor in it. Cappy wanted to make zee poofy wonderful squirrel gumbo.
Not to worry, I've got more 'lemons'. I've got little fingers, not big paws that handle tools very well. I'm on my third weed-eater in three years. Cappy says, "You're da man!" when he's out on the tugboat. Well, I got this one all ruined already and tried fixing it myself. I took it in to be repaired. Still not working. I put it out to the 'curb' and even the garbage guys won't take it. I've been down to Thibodaux three times looking for another one, to no avail. Meanwhile, I have healthy corn stalks growing tall around the bird feeder. Am still fumbling around for a recipe for dis lemon.
Lemon #2. Zee dryer won't start. Oh well, I'll figure out something. Until then, I'm enjoying hanging my laundry out, and avoiding the area on the line where the hummingbirds like to sit. They are tiny, yeah, but their poopy stains. I had to laugh this morning, remembering my Grandma bringing frozen towels, stiff as boards, into the house in the winter up north. Not sure what I'm doing wrong, but mine are stiff as boards, too, and they sounded like metal bending when I folded them. It's going to be an adventure toweling off with them.
Lemon #3 Wilma. Can Fred, Barney and Betty be far behind? Beam me up, Cappy!
When we first got to New York State, we stayed at daughter Jennifer's house with her husband Russ their nephew, Tim. We were so excited we didn't even get pictures of them or their house, but will be posting pics of them in the future. Jennifer wasn't feeling well at all, so she didn't accompany us on our excursions. The first day, she did (and so did Tim and our son, Dan.)when we visited Lake Ontario, an apple orchard and the traditional ice cream stop at Abbott's at Lake Ontario...it's a Ya Gotta Do. Cappy took these pictures of the Genesee River Outlet area. At Kelly's apple orchard stand, we got the walk-thru of the place where they make cider. Cappy tasted his first raw apple cider AND had the doughnut with it. He kept asking, "Why do I have to have a doughnut??" Well, now he knows. They just go SO well, together. It was also his first time seeing an apple orchard and eating fruit right off the trees. He also got to see the Lake. Being a boat cappy, he's always interested in waterways. It was a beautiful day for the trip.
One of the places we stopped had several of their bottles displayed high on shelves, looking for all the world as though they had been Olympic winners, festooned with all sorts of medals. It was definitly a 'high-dollar' place. We all bellied up to the 'bar' to sample. The lady was very prim and proper and knowledgeable about her wines to be sure. I've been a wine 'newbie' for at least ten years. I know nothing much about wines; my taste has never matured to begin asking for more dry wines, like "they" said I would. Dan wanted to sample Merlot, but Cappy and I wanted something sweet. Then we wanted something sweeter. Then something sweeter. The lady was finally at a loss, so I joked, "Ya got anything that tastes like Koolaid?" She might have guessed by our appearance, that we weren't the upscale clientele she was used to, so the question shouldn't have shocked her as much as it seemed to have. She composed herself, pursed her lips, raised one eyebrow, looked down her nose again, to see us further below than she had initially realized, then uttered, "Perhaps you would be better off visiting Bully Hill's winery". Well, dang if she wasn't right! We found Bully Hill, and boy! if those people weren't having fun! Large crowds were milling everywhere. Tour guides had everyone laughing. Big tour buses were parked everywhere. Inside the wine tasting was a mass of people laughing with the people who were serving them. They had the crowd repeating after them,"Bully Hill is Fine Wine" (bully hill is fine wine) "Napa is Auto Parts" (hahahaha) So, at Bully Hill we bought some SWEET wine. So there.
Cappy said this "Old boy" is one of his heroes. When we got to Canandaigua Lake this gentleman was sitting there fishing. Before he even really looked at the lake,Cappy walked over and struck up a conversation with this man, asking him what kind of fish he was looking for, what kinda bait he was using, etc. He learned that the man was in his 90's and came fishing everyday. I can't remember what he caught and what he used for bait, but Cappy walked away saying, "Man, that's what I wanna be doing when I'm in my 90's"
The views were gorgeous, looking down into the lakes. I don't remember which lake this was, but it was so nice having son, Dan, there with us, acting as our 'tour guide', and just enjoying his company, and wackysenseofhumor...wonder where he gets that!? These pictures were taken from the porch of one of the many wineries in the area. The grape orchards are behind us.
When Cappy saw the "Pink House" in Wellsville, he called out,"STOP DA truck", got out and took a bunch of pictures. It was his first time in New York State at all, so of course, he'd never seen it before. On the other hand, (I) we used to live a few houses down from it. I never did get the actual story about this house, but it's a gorgeous place.
"A Thousand May Fall at Your Side, Ten Thousand at Your Right Side, But it Will Not Come Nigh You..." Psalms 91
The morning we left my brother's house to head for New York, Cappy and I went to a Bob Evan's Restaurant while we were waiting for the dawgs to be finished with their grooming. The waitress asked, "You aren't from around here, are you?" This launched a discussion about Louisiana; how beautiful New Orleans was when she visited, the disaster, and now the new hurricane, Rita, playing coy with Texas and Louisiana. After she left with our order, two distinquished black gentlemen sitting nearby took up the conversation with us. They, as are we all, were very upset with the politics of it all. The delays that caused so much more death and anguish. I have to admit we got heated up along with them, got out our soapbox, agreeing with what they were saying about the situation and the feeling of helplessness. It was refreshing to have a venue to vent, even if it was only in an intelligent conversation at a breakfast table in a restaurant in Winchester Canal, Ohio. As they got up to leave they came over to shake our hands. We hated to see them go. Cappy stood up, clasped each of their hands in his and told them what an honor it was for us to meet them. When the waitress brought us our breakfast, she told us that the two gentlemen had paid our tab! I had a hard time seeing my plate during the whole meal; everything looked blurry because of the tears in my eyes. Here we are, nobody...we hadn't suffered any loss, but they paid for our breakfast.
This happened to us a couple more times. We are still shaking our heads over it.
In Port Allegany, PA, I took Cappy to one of our family 'traditions'. We 'had' to stop at the Tastee Freeze and get a soft swirl ice cream cone with a crunchy chocolate dip. (I had to settle for just the ice cream in a dish). While we were waiting for the lady to fix us up, I showed Cappy the local high school booster sticker on the case. It read, "Go Gators!" He looked a little confused til I explained that Gators are the high school mascots and the name of the team. Somehow that sparked the same conversation about Louisiana and the hurricanes with the lady who was serving us. When we handed her the money, she refused and said, "No, let me buy your ice cream for you". I was going to protest, but Cappy gave me a look that said not to.
When it happened again, at the Texas Hots in Wellsville, NY, I was starting to feel as though we were somehow taking advantage of very nice people, and we hadn't suffered at all...not really, from the Storms. Cappy explained that even though they had mentioned that they had sent help of one kind or another, such as donations to the Red Cross, etc., he thought it was their way of somehow reaching out touching Louisiana in a personal way. He said, "Sometimes ya just gotta let people do that; accept the good that they are trying to do. If you refuse, you hurt their feelings and it's like a slap in the face to them." I think I understand.
Cappy wanted me to post this picture. He took it while driving his tugboat up Bayou Lafourche after Katrina. This home came within inches of being destroyed by the tree falling into it. The tree still stands there, off-balance, hovering only an inch or two, over the house. There's a statue in the yard that shows someone in the home has Faith. To Cappy it speaks of The Hand of God Protecting and Blessing His people while the storms around them rage.
We got to my brother and sister-in-law's house around 10 a.m., took the dawgs to a doggy-salon, where they had a reservation to visit for a couple of days. They were pampered and bathed and played with...the whole 'lah-lah'. Actually, my brother had reservations about da dawgs...that's why we took them to the doggy hotel. Would you believe not everybody would welcome the idea of rowdy Bichons jumping all over them and their furniture and terrorizing their cats?? Obviously their reputation had preceded them. And you know what? I appreciate my brother's honesty. I find it refreshing when people let us know right out how they feel about having these crazy-nutzee dawgs in their houses. It saved a whole lot of trouble all around and the dogs had a blast. The groomer did a great job.They came out looking like two beautiful white clouds bouncing all over the place.
Meanwhile, my brother and his wife took us to one of their regular corner restaurants for an early lunch. They ordered tuna melts, I had grilled chicken salad, and Cappy ordered a 'garbage' burger. It was so good seeing "Butch" and Doreen again. I hadn't seen them since I'd moved to South Louisiana 4 1/2 years ago. It was the first time Cappy had met either of them. Whenever I get together with my brother he has me in stitches most of the time. His stories and the way he looks at life is so funny, so cool, and off the wall. Kinda like The Far Side.
After lunch we wandered around their town, a suburb of Columbus. The town had open market day along the main street. We picked up a couple of huge cantalopes, some fried-egg shaped gummie candies,a few real green tomatoes,a Christmas ornament for my friend, Jean,in New York State and a few other things. The Christmas ornament was of some kind of light wood, ornately carved or cut out. Gorgeous. The man who was selling them had thousands of the most beautifully elaborate things for sale that he had made himself. I wondered how he had the time to make everything. I was astonished to learn later that the man has palsy; his hands shake uncontrollably. I hadn't even noticed. He had shown us the tiny saw blade he used to cut the wood. Each piece had intricate swirls and flowers and leaves cut along the edges. My brother said, "Can you imagine how smooth and straight those edges would be if he didn't have palsy?"
We spent the rest of the day laughing and catching up on family things. Finally I just had to take a nap. Lazy me. When I woke up, dinner was ready. They had made this large array of cut up fruit...YUM! Grilled (outside) chicken, wild rice, and steamed kale. My kinda meal! Cappy busted out the Abita Ambers for them to try and some Abita Turbo Dog. I think they preferred the Turbo Dog.
The next morning we all got up and went for a two mile walk. Because of a health scare, they have been involved in a "Commit to Be Fit" program there in Columbus. It was a nice hot day. I think there were about fifty people involved, and Doreen mentioned that the pretty lady whom Cappy and I had been talking with when we first got there,was a local television celeb. The trail wound through some pretty meadows, smooth terrain, rough terrain, with a few places to sit down and a few signs informing us about the vegetation and wildlife we might see along the walk. Although we might have been sorely tempted to sit down for a bit, Cappy and I were already bringing up the rear, having had old people and young children pass us up. I drank most of the water in my brother's water bottle. I think we embarrassed our hosts because one of the guides had to stand by on the trail to wait for us to catch up. I'm glad we did it. We had been sitting since we left home.
After we freshened up, we got a tour of Columbus, then a short stroll through the German district. Very, very pretty. Some of the courtyards we could see behind the red brick buildings looked like those found in New Orleans. We went to the original Max and Erma's Restaurant there for dinner.
Just as we got seated, our waiter came rushing up to our table, twirling the menus, flashing a huge "Dudley Doo-right" toothy grin, gliding the menus to a perfect touchdown in front of each of us,and quickly reciting "Hi, I'm TAH-ahd (Todd), your host this evening,hereareyourmenus,canIgetyouanything,ifnotI'llberightback". He was in mid-turn to go when Cappy stopped him. Cappy wanted to know all about the menu and what contained wheat and gluten products. Todd's huge smile froze, but one eyebrow got up, stood up straight and began to flutter. He had lost his place. After a discussion of sorts, we all got our orders placed and Todd was back to flitting around from table to table..."Hi, I'm TAH-ahd, I'll be your host..." Cappy picked out some good kinda salad for me, everybody else had some kind of deep-fried something or other as an appetizer. Cappy was trying the local brews, too, to be sure. Although Todd brought about four or five, out of them the only one that Cappy liked was some kind of Octoberfest. Gliding by one time, Todd slid a tiny paper cup in front of Cappy,the size of perhaps, three thimbles, containing a special soup and said, "This is a sample of the soup". Cappy looked at it and muttered, "I should hope so". But what he ordered was the Garbage burger. Again? He said it was one of the best burgers he can remember ever eating. "One of the top four, EVER." We eventually wore Todd down and he started having fun with us. Cappy left him a GOOD tip for all his trouble, and as we were walking out...customers have to enter and leave thru the bar area, Cappy noticed what appeared to be a ship's figurehead. He had to have a pic of that. The bartender was only too willing to sidle up to it again. You could tell he was practiced at posing with 'her'. I noticed the great set of legs on one of the stools so had to sit on it, just to say I did.
All in all, we had a very nice visit. We left them with a scented candle from one of the fav. candle makers here in Louisiana, a bottle of Louisiana sweet wine and a promise to get back to see them sooner next time.
We left the next morning, Monday Sept 14, to forge on to western New York to see family. In the back of my mind I was wondering what kind a surprise Nick Tahoe's Garbage Plate, in Rochester was going to be to Cappy. That had been the only 'garbage' I had planned on feeding him, but he had found some along the way on his own.
We drove all night up through Mississippi and stopped somewhere in Tennessee around noon, got a hotel, slept til midnight, then got up and drove til we got to my brother's in Columbus, Ohio. One of the first things we did 'somewhere in Tennessee', was to take the advice of the hotel receptionist, and have Cappy try the barbeque at the little wooden stand right across the road. He had a couple of their specialties and a pickled jalapeno pepper. The best part of his meal was the jalapeno. The dawgs and I had chicken and fruit. (Oh, and they always had their real dog food in a bowl, handy.)
Getting up at midnight and driving all day was actually a lot of fun. We were refreshed, invigorated; the stars were bright, the dawgs were behaving themselves; only 'mewing' when they had to stop to potty, so we all took advantage of that at the same time, and got back on 'da road'. We laughed and sang, then listened to the radio about a new hurricane headed through the Gulf named Rita...what the heck?
Somewhere along the road, we picked up some Crystal Burgers for Cappy. It's his 'burgers' of choice for road-trippin'. "They are so small ya gotta eat plenty just to get full". We ordered a couple with no onions for 'da dawgs'. Mark wolfed his and Sparky's. Sparky and I had chicken and Arby's CURLY FRIES!! (I was breaking down.)
When we got up into southern Ohio, where I was more familiar, and once I got outa Cincinnati, which has always been white-knuckle driving for me, what with the bridge across the Ohio River and the confusing signage, the traffic flowing like schools of fish all around me, ...I could relax. And so did Cappy. He dove his paw into the ice chest and brought out his first ice cold Abita Amber. He refilled the dawgs' water dish with ice cold water and they all drank, leaned their heads back and said, "Ahhhhh".
Such a fun ride. Cappy put in a CD again, I got my shaker egg out and 'played' along with the music (traffic was light). We all 'sang' along, road-trippin' with Jimmy Buffet. We pronounce it "Jimmy Buffay", cuz we 'chubby Cajuns' like to eat, and...well, what would you expect.