The First Day We Just "Chilled".

After driving across the country in two days, we were plum tuckered out, so our first full day in Rochester, we were glad to just have nothing to do but rest. We sat around in Dan and Jennifer's backyard snacking, then Dan took a nap because he's a manager of a night club and doesn't get home from work until around 4 a.m. Cappy and I were content to cook some Rochester "white hots" and "red hots" on the grill while we watched the kids play badmitton with the largest birdie I've ever seen. Gosh, I think if I wasn't so lazy, even I could have hit that target. To be honest, it wasn't just that I was being lazy (well, I was that) but just look how everyone was dressed in these pictures. It was in the (what I like to call) "late" 50's or "early" 60's.Jennifer and I were frozen. Jennifer had on a big sweater and I was swaddled in an old Army blanket that I carry along to keep warm while in the hotels along the way. (For some reason, out on the tugboats the guys keep the A/C cranked full blast, especially while they are sleeping, so that's how Cappy likes sleeping all the time. It's not enough that he's got the air conditioner on, circulating the icy-cold air across the room, but then has the ceiling fan whirring at high speed, to catch any errant snowflakes and blow them back across the blankets, I guess. The man is pretty clever that way; he says it forces me to snuggle with him to get warm. Gotta love a man like dat.) I was so cold that I went shopping for a coat at J.C. Penney's. I had forgotten what it was like in stores upstate NY this time of year. There were huge rooms chocked full of heavy winter coats, parkas, hats, scarves and mittens. It took me awhile to find what 'Yankees' refer to as a jacket. (I was not in the market for a parka to bring back to South Louisiana.) This duckcloth 'jacket' with corderoy lining is reversible and has a hood. And I wore it too, at times with the hood up over my head, hands jammed in the pockets, wishing I'd bought some of those scarves and mittens, too.


A Wonder-FALL Day

When we left South Louisiana the temperatures were still in the 90's. As we drove north to western NY, we lived in a rarified state in our vehicle, not realizing the changes in the outdoor atmosphere,only getting out occasionally for gas fillups, etc. And speaking of that, when we started out we were paying $2.89 a gallon at the pump. By the time we got to the NYS border, we had been paying somewhere around $2.39, which was a pleasant surprise. (On our way back down south, we were shocked and thrilled to see gasoline as low as $1.91 at some places.) I remembered how high the NYS Thruway gas station prices are, so we stopped near the Penna/NYS border to tank up before entering NY. Across the street from the gas station was this pretty fruit stand. The whole setting, including the light chill in the air said, "Fall". We went to investigate and see if we could find any fresh cider; we knew it had to be there. Last Fall Cappy had taken great pleasure in his first glassful with the obligatory cake doughnut, so we considered it now to be a tradition that just couldn't be passed up. Other customers were busily loading baskets of juicy grapes, pears, peaches, and other fruits freshly harvested, into their cars and trucks, quietly talking amongst themselves about their finds in the market.
It was a wonderful place to shop and visit. They had candles and jams and jellies and homemade candies and cookies, and many other things too numerous for me to try to remember, but it was great. The people running it couldn't have been more friendly. We were having a warm conversation with one gal at the cash register, who was talking with Cappy about Louisiana...he was wearing a baseball cap with a New Olreans Saints Logo. In mid-sentence we heard a tinny-sounding song start playing, "When the Saints Go Marching In"...it was her cell phone ringing...what are the odds?
We bought a small basket of assorted prettily arranged fruits and nuts, and as they had no cake doughnuts that day, Cappy downed his apple cider and a couple of sugar cookies that looked like my grandmother used to make, years and years ago, cut with a ruffled edge. We hadn't really taken time to eat a proper breakfast or lunch, and by now it was about 3:30 in the afternoon, so we drove on into NYS stuffing handfuls of grapes, peaches, pears and apples into our mouths, still trying to sing along with Jim Croce's CD song, playing Photographs and Memories, for we surely were creating some that day.


We Went to NY and We Ate Like A Pig...Home Again, Home Again, Jiggetty Jig

This is a picture of us with my aunt, Bev, who is more like my sister, and her partner, Ron. This is the fun and wacky aunt whom I 'told on' in an earlier blog titled, "I'm Mrs. Green Christmas, I'm Mrs. Sun".
Cappy and I had such a wonderful trip that we don't know where to begin. As I'm typing, Cappy's back out on the tugboat sleeping. We got up this morning at 2 a.m. (horrors) to get him to Houma to his office by 3:30 a.m. I came home and conked out on the couch with the dogs for a few hours.
When we left for NY a couple of weeks ago, for some reason, we kept running into pig things. Somebody with a 'piglady' license plate, pig bumper-stickers, pig farms, and lots of swine signs. We were laughing and having so much fun I wanted to take a piece of scotch tape and stick it to my nose...pull it up to look like a pig, but Cappy said emphatically, "No! You are Not going to fix yourself a pig nose so you can terrorize the other drivers". Sigh, so I didn't get to, but he still planned to 'get his pig on' by stopping in Memphis to try out the barbeques in the area. We got there too late at night for any such mischief, and had to "get up with the chickens" early to get on the road, and thus, no diners featuring pork rib barbeque were open, that we could find, at that hour. Nontheless, for some reason, we just kept running into pig signs and pigs, piggies and pig-pigs everywhere, etc. We joked that the theme for our trip was indeed pigs. At the time we didn't have a clue as to why. Finally, we got to Rochester, road weary and ready to rest. Our son Dan and his bride, Jennifer, 'put us up' in Jennifer's daughter, Melinda's room for the next couple of weeks. We staggered to bed, fell right in the 'bankies' and slept like logs. The next morning I woke up,stretched and noticed Cappy sitting on the edge of the bed, reflected in a child's mirror. His beloved, scruffy, boat captain face, bleary eyes, hair all aswirl around his head, still looking haggard and tired from the road trip, was surrounded by pretty pink and lavendar, decorated with embroidery-like embellishments, glittery jewels and big pretty lettering that read, "It's Tough Being a Princess".
(I woke up to that sight every morning we were there. I vowed I'd get a picture of it, but of course didn't.) That first refreshing morning, the second thing I noticed was that Melinda liked pigs. She had them everywhere in her pink and lavendar room. Piggy banks, pig cookie jar, pig figurines. Somebody out there was definitly trying to tell us something.
After our wonderful vacation, which we promise to tell you more about in the near future, we got back on the road for home, eating our way across America, Cappy accusing me at every hotel of being a bed-pig and blanket hog. Three quarters of the way home we began to wonder where the pigs were again, since it had been our theme the whole time. Gosh, didn't this joke have a punch line?? By the time we got to Atlanta, we realized we were the pork butt of the joke, when we didn't have any clothes that didn't have food stains on them to go into a restaurant, and that our pants could no longer be zipped. As tradition would have it, whenever we drive away from one of our kids' houses, we always have given the Cajun Yell, "Aaaaieee", and they always yell it back to us. I guess they should have yelled, "Soooieee" back at us, instead. We rode home in disgust at ourselves, bellies hanging out over our zippers and not laughing at pigs anymore, cuz they wuz us.


Singing: "Own the Road Again; We Just Can't Wait to Own the Road Again"

Hey all. I've fought and fought with dis blogger and it's been giving me fits again with my photos. This is just a quick note anyhow to let ya'll know we will be heading North to "Rah-cha-cha" NY. (Rochester) The doggies won't be going with us this time. They were fun to travel with last time, but we figured, "Not this time". If we happen to run into a computer, we'll letcha know how things are going with the "Fambly" up there. Be sure when we get back, we'll have plenty of pictures to arm wrestle the blogger about.
Cappy plans on taking our 'dog and pony' show to cook authentic Cajun Jambalaya. As I'm typing, I've got Smoked Duck and Andouille Gumbo simmering on the back burner. Fall is the time when people in Louisiana begin thinking about gumbo. Cappy taught me how to make the thick stew-like type. There's another type that's more soup-like...more broth than gravy. He said he was only going to make Jambalaya up there and not Gumbo, so I'm thinking...maybe I could sneak a gallon of my Gumbo along with the Cajun sausage, Boudin, and other goodies in one of the ice chests. Hey, I'm kinda proud to be able to 'cook Cajun', too. I learned from da best, and he really likes my Gumbo. Our 'kids' up north never had me cook them File` gumbo and it's something I want to do. First I 'smothered' okra, deboned the duck, which Cappy had smoked months before, then had cut up and stuck in the freezer. I took the duck bones and made a broth from them, and made a dark chocolate colored roux. All that along with chopping tons of 'trinity' veggies to go into it took hours and now it's been simmering whilst I prepare to get ready to travel. No wonder they call it a labor of love.
HEY! What happened to my 'quick note' to ya'll?? Gosh, once I get going...
Will talk with you all later. (We'll take any 'traveling mercies prayers' that you may want to offer up for us.) We love you, Take Care, Hugs, Cappy and Pegody


911 From Cappy and Pegody's Minor Part of the World

We felt as helpless as everyone else when the tragedy struck five years ago. We first learned about it as we were driving home from northern Mississippi, singing at the top of our lungs in true Cappy and Pegody fashion. We were in our own little world, road tripping, as usual, playing our favorite CD's, munching on junk food, and just enjoying the beautifully bright sun-shiney day and one another's company. When Cappy removed the CD to replace it with another, the radio came on saying that New Orleans was shut down, and that military was everywhere insuring that there was to be no traffic, especially in and around the airport, which was also shut down. We almost stopped the truck, because we were headed toward the New Orleans area, but kept moving along at a slower pace to listen to what in the world had happened. We were thinking about turning around and heading north, when we heard that New York City had been attacked and that the Twin Towers were down. (down??!) Oh come ON! This had to be one of those stupid radio shows, like Walton and Johnson, or a remake of the War of the World; something like that. I was disgusted and was about to put another CD in when the people on the radio said that the Pentagon had also been attacked and several people were thought to have perished. What in the world had happened in the few short hours since we had gotten up, breakfasted and left for South Louisiana?? New York and Washington, DC had been attacked...And New Orleans? We had been thinking of turning around and heading north, but with this information, North was very scarey as well. We just kept heading for home in silence listening to the radio, our heads spinning, along with everyone else in the United States. When we stopped for gas, the store attendants and customers were so very quiet, but when they did speak, it was in the most tenderly polite tone I've ever heard. Nobody spoke about what was going on, but each person quietly, almost reverently said the most menial things, such as a simple, "thank you" in such a way that I felt they also wanted to hug the person as though it might be for the last time, even tho we were all strangers. We were strangers, but suddenly we all felt like close family.
By the time we had gotten home, we had gotten pretty much the full gist of what had happened that day. New Orleans had been shut down because the President had been routed there as a precaution, and the extent of the attacks was still uncertain.
Cappy had to go right back out on his towboat, so I was left with the terrible news day after day on the television. I had to channel my energy somehow, so that's how the quilt came to be. I learned of two young children whose father had died in one of the Twin Towers, and whose mother days later had died of cancer. A friend of ours, Carol, who lives in New York City knew of someone, who knew the children's family, and so delivered the quilt to them. It sure wasn't much, cloth and thread, but in every stitch I put in love and prayers. In the face of all the tragedy, it seems like so little.


The Kiss

This is a satellite view of what Cappy and I refer to as the "3127 KISS" (thirty one, twenty seven). It's the 'get-off' set of roads on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, which leads to our town, and obviously, many other places. Shown here is the Mississippi River on the left, the bridge which spans it, and 'the KISS'. I've only been in the area for five years, but I'm told that this bridge stood with a drop-off on our side for several years with no exit ramps whatsoever; nothing leading off the bridge; that the bridge had just stopped midair, perhaps an hundred and fifty feet up. The people around here called it "The Bridge to Nowhere". Apparently the politicians decided to have it go somewhere, so they put in a road down onto the West Bank. They then made two long sweeping exit ramps that looked as though they were going on west, but then fooled the traveler, eventually putting him way back onto River Road, a narrow, extremely winding, 50 mph in most places, but beautiful scenic route running all along the west bank of the River. Every time I've driven west down off that bridge, I've wished I could just keep going straight, through the woods to Route 3127; a short trip, actually, to get to my destination more quickly, rather than having to traverse the concrete acrobatics of the drive along River Road. I was thrilled to learn that an extension to 3127 had always been in the works, as a part of the bridge construction, but not to get my hopes up because it had taken years and years for the bridge itself connecting the towns of Gramercy and Wallace to have been completed.
Going east on the bridge has never been a problem for me because I always hum a little tune on the way, "Over the River and through the woods, to Gramercy we go", but that's an whole other story.
One time while Cappy and I were driving home, he had his GPS on for the fun of it, which he uses on his tugboat to see satellite views of where he is going. As we were coming down off the bridge I asked him how far Rt. 3127 was from the very end of the loops. He said it wasn't far at all, that it wouldn't take all that much road construction, as far as length to complete the trip. I said I bet from an airplane those two loops looked like lips, stretching as far as they could to get to 3127. He said, "Well, now that I look at it, I guess it does, but there are railroad tracks between them, too". I said, "It's almost as though this road wants to kiss that road, so badly". From then on whenever, for instance Cappy has called me when I'm on my way home, if I'm on the bridge, or in those loops, I'll tell him I'm at the "KISS", or headed toward the "KISS".
But now! Everyone in the region is so very excited (merchants along River Road notwithstanding, I'm sure) because they are actually working on the extension to 3127!! They appear to be ahead of schedule; however the work isn't expected to be finished for a year or more. As Cappy puts it, "Nobody in our town has planned their maiden voyage just yet. They still have to build another bridge over that set of railroad tracks".


Said the Spider to the Fly

(This picture does not do her justice, as to her size; she is actually about 3 times bigger than this picture of her, in reality.)Well, it was on the news today; another person has died as a result of being bitten by a mosquito carrying the West Nile disease. It was the lead story. Not a most pleasant topic to fix one's mind on first thing in the morning. Bugs. Louisiana has plenty of them. Not all of them are pests, tho. When I first moved to South Louisiana, I noticed that the mosquitos were more clever and sneakier than their slower, but still pesky, cousins to the North. In New York State when you want a 'skeeter' dead, you just reach around and swat it. It stays there 'til you do. Not so down South. If you can't reach the varmit in a nano-second it will perform some of the most incredible flying escape acrobatics imaginable. Scientists say that UFO's cannot exist because they defy the law of physics; primarily astrodynamics. You just can't be going full speed in one direction, turn a sharp 90 degree turn, then drop down at another 90 angle, all the while increasing speed. I don't know how UFO's navigate, but these mosquitos have them beat. And sometimes I swear they can wear 'cloaking devices'. This last couple of days there've been a couple in the house that I just couldn't get. Dang it. The other night while I was watching television, a curious thing happened. Were my eyes deceiving me? On the end of the coffee table sits a little plant. Somehow a small spider had been busily building a fancy web that was strung from the plant to the edge of the television. When I watch television at night, I usually have all the lights off and notice that those darned mosquitos keep buzzing around the light of the screen, but I can never get them. Hmmm. Apparently this industrious little spider had taken note of the fact and decided to set up shop there. Now I was more interested in what was going on in front of the television, rather than what was on it. I let the little fellow finish his fancy little web, then watched as he walked to the center of it, curled up into an inconspicuous-looking little 'ball', and sat there 'hidden' in plain sight. His trap was set. I don't know who was more excited about the prospect of him catching one of those miserable mosquitos. I almost looked forward to watching one land in his net and begin screaming, like they loudly do in my ear when I'm trying to sleep. I wanted to see that mosquito flail around yelling his little head off while I clapped and said, " Yah! That's what you get for biting my face when I'm alseep. That's for parading around in front of the tv like a wise guy while you eye us up, the dogs and me, looking for the best landing approach. We GOTCHA!" I fell asleep on the couch waiting. The next day I was outside hanging out the laundry, with pretty colorful dragon flies flitting around. Cappy had told me early on not to be afraid of them because they grow so huge down here. He said folks around here refer to them as "Mosquito Hawks". I kept calling them mosquito 'jets' for a long time. I got so I loved watching how they would come around, sit on my clothesline, fold their front little 'paws' together, turn their little heads almost as though they were looking directly at me as if to ask, "...You got any skeeters for me?" One time while I was trying to plant something, a particular mosquito kept pestering me. Suddenly a dragon fly flew right in front of me and whisked away the offending blood-sucker. Well, that touched my heart. They've been my buddies ever since.
While I was hanging the laundry yesterday, the lawn was still kind of wet from recent rains. All at once I felt the now familiar 'sting' of a fire ant on my bare foot. Oh no! I looked down and saw that there was only one on my ankle. They usually work as a team, letting the whole village sneak onto a person's legs before the 'mayor' yells "NOW! Everybody bite NOW!!" But this time there was only one, but I could see more looking around for my flip flops. I musta looked pretty stupid dancing and hopping around while I was hanging the rest of the clothes, trying to avoid anymore scavanging passengers. This morning, bright and cheery, I went out to fetch my fresh smelling laundry, but at the last second checked to see if I could see any of those danged ants spoiling for another go-round. Nope, not today. Gorgeous out today, too. Bright blue sky, no clouds. I decided to go to the far end of the clothesline and work my way in, so I breezed that way. All at once somebody was screaming and flailing. It was me. I had walked into a giant spider web, made by a non-poisonous Banana Spider. It was made with thick shiny 'silk' threads. There was an huge butterfly encased cacoon-like in there with me. The butterfly had given up, but I didn't. The spider's body was literally 4" long and that didn't include it's long legs. I thought she had me for sure! I was shrieking and jumping, and waving my arms all over. The sticky,thick web was in my hair, all over my clothes and laundry. In all my commotion I must have knocked her out, cuz there she lay in the grass on her back. I yelled at her, "Don't you ever do that again!" I hoped she wasn't dead. She wasn't; I had gone back out later to fetch the remainder of laundry and saw that she was gone, banished back to the banana patch. She left her butterfly there, tho. Too bad she had gotten greedy. She had seen me I guess, and like any good Cajun spidey, she just wanted to live off the fat of the land.