A Wedding to Treasure and Tim

We have a sister website, where the the whole family has it's news. Our Blog here, is just about our little corner of the world. Cousin Larry, the webmaster for CajunCousins does such a great job. Instead of having Larry send us pictures online, of Cappy's goddaughter Treasure, and Tim's wedding, we are using the title of this particular post as a link to take you to Cajun Cousin's photo page, where you can see slideshows of the 'whole lah-lah'. Click the title "A Wedding to Treasure and Tim" to go there.


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Anniversary #5
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Raleigh, the yard-dawg stayed home yesterday while 'the boys' went to PetSmart and got all pampered. They were a real mess, but a nice young lady named Kami wielded her talents on them and got them back to being the pure white soft powderpuff 'teddybears' they're supposed to be. They are so fun and snuggly when they are like that; even Raleigh likes playing and snuggling with them.
As cute as they are, you'd be surprised at what good watch dogs they are, and that people are actually afraid to come onto our property; of course when they are 'on duty', they are barking their heads off and there are three of them. From reading past blogs, you know that they all hate the "Oops Guy"...the guy in the brown delivery truck. One time when he was delivering a package next door, he was out of my sight range, but I could see our dogs all in a froth to get to him, which they couldn't, of course, because of our invisible fence. I couldn't see what he did, but in mid-yelp, they all jumped back, scared and ran for the house. As soon as they got their bearings, they ran down the length of our yard, barking after his truck, as he drove out of the neighborhood. They might be sound asleep, but as soon as he drives up our street, they are outa the house all in one accord as a posse to 'git im'.
It's not a good thing, tho, cuz I am expecting several packages. I've requested the yellow truck, or Fed-X, but the brown truck keeps showing up. Now he's taken to 'accidentally' delivering stuff to my neighbors. At least it's better than the usual upside down on the door step, or upside down in the flowerbeds.
Gosh, I have the dogs here to protect me and keep me company. Who could possibly resist a smile like Raleigh's anyhow?


Cappy Chinos

In the last few weeks, we've had a quite a few road trips; graduation parties, then Cappy has had to get off the boat to be able to to attend his grandmother's funeral last week, then this last weekend we attended his goddaughter, Treasure's wedding. No matter the circumstance, whenever we go galivanting off down the road, seeing how it's usually early morning when we start, we get a couple of large mugs of cappuccino. Being the nifty cook he is, he's not content to just lift the handle, letting just any coffee flavor pour into our cups. He mixes the flavors...a dash of regular cappucino, a couple of glogs of French vanilla, a good amount of cocoa, hint of cinamon, then adds some sugar, and a couple of creamers. It's always a wonderful surprise and each delicious warm savored sip is pure heaven. I didn't know he did all that, so when I stopped and got myself some cappuccino one time, migosh, was I let down. No matter what he's dealing with as far as 'food', the man always makes it better than it is.
We got to see folks on both sides of his family, many whom he hadn't seen in several years, people I'd never met, and beloved family, no matter if it's only been a little while since we'd last seen them, we still can't get enough of being with them. Here's a picture of Cappy and one of our favorite cousins, Robin. She is just about the coolest gal we know! (She is Aunt Carolyn's daughter...see the same smile?)
At Treasure and Tim's wedding, we got to escort Cappy's mother. (I love this lady with all my heart; she's the only mom I have now.) We picked her up at her nursing home, took her to the wedding, then to the reception. She tires easily, so we took her home early. On the way back, Cappy put the Eagles CD in and we sang along. (Music is a staple to our road trips.) I was so thrilled to see his Mom singing, too, and especially, the "oooh oooh" parts. Even tho she has a hard time smiling broadly, or talking exactly coherently anymore, I think somewhere 'in there' she's still 'got it'.

We didn't take a lot of wedding or reception pictures, because there were cameras everywhere, so I thought eventually I'd be able to get my hands on them. I just relaxed and enjoyed the occasion, watching the goings ons. I did catch da guys whooping it up 'egging on' Uncle Eugene, (cousin Larry's Dad), who can still get down and "boogie-woogie-oogie til he just caint boogie no more", even if he is in his 70's. (I will have to getcha a picture of that one.)


Cappy's Beautiful Grandmother "MawMaw" Passes On

Yesterday, Fathers' Day, while Cappy was sleeping out on his boat, I got a phone call that his beloved Grandmother, on his Dad's side, passed away. She was 92, (I believe), going on 29. Cappy will get off the boat this Wednesday and we will join his family to attend her funeral. I've only been a part of this family for six years, but knowing how precious each member's life means to them as individuals; how joy and love is wrung out of every minute of their existance, no matter the circumstances, the day of her burial will be one of deep sorrow because of their profound loss, but also, because of her nature will be more like a temporary Going Away party, celebrating her life.
As I talked with Cappy this afternoon, he talked about MawMaw's life, knowing I was going to post a blog in her honor. As he talked, I became more impressed. I will let him relate more of this whenever he desires. I'd hate to get any of it wrong. All I really know of her is first-hand experience, which made me love her dearly, despite the fact I didn't get to see her enough.
Cappy lovingly referred to MawMaw, her sister "Aunt Helen", and her daughter "Aunt Gussie" as the ol' chickens. He loves them to pieces. One thing I do remember him telling me was an hilarious story of him driving them on road trips. A single young man, bouncing along with a carload of his darling, noisy, elder ladies, one of them with a vice-grip on the rosary.
I know she loved getting out and being social. Most anytime there was a family gathering, one could be sure MawMaw would be there. Barbeques, weddings, Mardis Gras, etc. Personally, I've never had anyone in my family circle in NYS live into their 90's, so, even on pretty warm days I was shocked to turn around and see MawMaw there, enjoying the goings ons. But thrilled. She was a Spring chicken, even if she was 90 something.
While visiting with her, I could always see her, in my mind's eye, standing tall along a bayou bank somewhere, casting a fishing line. I asked Cappy about that, and he said "Oh, indeed, she loved fishing". And...I know she loved shrimp. When we went to visit, we liked taking her a little something. One time I told her I'd forgotten to bring the shrimp I had set out on the cupboard for her at home. Time after time, I'd forget to take shrimp...HOW could I forget? But she never forgot. She'd always ask if I brought it. One time, a year or two ago, the family was summoned to the hospital because the situation looked pretty grim. When it was our turn to be ushered in to see her, I was so sad to see how badly she looked; wires hanging everywhere, tubes coming out of her arms, and from under her blankets. She looked gray. Her eyes were closed, her mouth was agape and her tongue looked dry. Aunt Gussie whispered to her, "Mama, Ray and Peggy are here to see you". Poor MawMaw. Her tongue waggled a little bit, and from somewhere far away her voice, thin, cracked, more like a squeak breathed, "...did they bring my shrimp?" Right after that she got wind of the fact that we'd brought Aunt Gussie some fresh boudin, and insisted on having some. As Aunt Gussie put a couple bites into MawMaw's mouth, I knew we were about to see her strangle and die, there on the spot. At the same time, I thought that it was so nice that her daughter loved her so much, and would give in to her mother's last request, as she gingerly placed the food into her dying mother's mouth, softly coached her to chew, and then swallow. MawMaw, squeaked, "...oh...that's soooo good." Then it was time for us to leave.
We went home dreading the inevitable phone call. A couple of days later, while talking to one of the cousins, they off-handedly remarked about a group of the family having gone to a River Casino, for one thing or another. And MawMaw had gone. What??? From her seeming death bed to a party? What a gal. She loved going to the casino. I've never gone with her, so I don't know too much about that, but how cool was it, that she loved having her birthday parties at them?
Her mind was as sharp as a tack. At one party we attended at her nursing home, we all played Bingo. The prizes were things like bananas, or pocket tissues, small bottles of mouthwash...useful, practical things for the residents. Two of MawMaw's younger neices were discussing who had attended some particular function, who had driven, and who had ridden with whom. They got a little confused, so MawMaw intervened, reminding them, whereupon, they both said, "Oh yeah", then asked her more details to get the story straight in their minds, nodding, and saying, "Oh yeah, that's right, now I remember", all the while she was raking in the 'goodies' from winning a couple of rounds of Bingo. I think they were oblivious of the fact that I was just sitting there in awe, smiling and admiring her.
I've often told Cappy that I just think MawMaw is the sweetest lady. He'd cackle, "SWEET! Haa! She's a fiesty ol' broad and I love her with all my heart". Well, that kinda hurt my feelings. I don't know why he said that; to me she was so tender-hearted. One time when there was a special dinner for her, and we had, as usual, shown up late. When I hugged her, she clung onto me tightly, crying. I was puzzled. She continued to wipe her eyes and cry, then said, "I didn't think you were going to make it...I'm so glad you are here". Well, that made me cry and love her all the more. I guessed Cappy didn't know his grandmother as well as he thought he had. I didn't want to miss a word she said to me, so, I liked to keep my head close whenever she was talking to me. A year or so later, there was a large gathering of friends at one of her son's homes for a fifty-year high school reunion. I didn't know anyone, of course, so walked around being polite, enjoying the party, but also visiting with, I'm sure, the oldest guest there, that being MawMaw, the esteemed mother of the host. I kept passing by to make sure she had whatever she might need, but of course, Aunt Gussie made sure she had everything. Such a sweet, grande dame, I was thinking, as I made a sweep by her. Just then I saw her lean over and whisper something to her daughter...did she need anything, I wondered? I leaned in, too, to hear her say, "...Hmph! Did you see 'so and so' over there?? Just LOOK at what she's wearing!"
Oh yeah, that's about right. How could ya not love a lady so full of the zest of life? And she had her sorrows, too. She lost her oldest son, Cappy's father on Christmas Day 2005.
Yesterday, before he got the news of MawMaw's passing, he had been thinking about his father; it being Fathers' Day. Later in the evening he said, "My Dad got the best Fathers' Day gift ever today...he gets to see his Mom".


Missy Inaction

Balmed or bombed. I pronounce them both about the same. Something I tried learning years ago was that before I spoke, was to weigh the words in my mind and determine whether or not the sentence I was about to speak would help or hurt the situation. Too bad the curtesy isn't always returned. Sooo, because of all that, I've been off on a pout all this time. Nothing I'm proud of, but it took that long to 'feel like that til' I didn't feel like that anymore' about my writing. I'm just glad Cappy was here to fill in the gap for me while I was doing nothing on our blog, here. He always does such a great job. He's a wonderful man, dat guy.

I apologize for starting off with that petty rant. I know it probably only made you confused, but....it's what I was doing; "Nuffin". It's where I was; "in the background". I'm so sorry that I made some of you worry.

While Cappy was off the boat this time, not only did we go to two major family get-togethers, but he worked hard making our carport look glorious. We put all the plants to one side, then he carried three tons...literally 3 TONS of red brick paving stones and laid them all out on the carport. And guess what white, curly, furry pal, 'helped' with every trip to the truck. Now, instead of 'carport', we are calling it a patio. It looks gorgeous. Whenever it had rained, the carport would flood, so our neighbor, Sonia suggested we brick the area. Good idea; it's rained already, and the bricks hold the water at bay. She came over today with her lawn blower to help get the grass off the bricks, which had blown all over it when the lawn got mowed and edges got 'weed-whacked'. One of the neighbor 'kids', young man, actually, "Mr" Brett, does a very nice job on our yard, even in the withering heat of Summer.
I just ran outside and took a couple more pictures for you, because I especially wanted to show you a prized possession that Cappy's sister and brother-in-law just brought back from Paris. They had gone to visit the actual flower garden of Monet`, which still exists, and brought back a ceramic mushroom/windchime for me. As an artist, I can't tell you how excited and touched I was, and still am. They had left the price tag on, which I thought was very cool, because of the European currency sign on it. They are both school teachers, and were on a trip with their students to Paris and London. Darryl is an Art teacher and Maria is a Family and Consumer Science teacher. Not only did they bring me something from Monet`s house, they visited William Shakespeare's home (OMGosh, I LOVE reading his works) and brought us back a book from the gift shop there. To top it off, knowing their brother, Cappy, as they do, how much he loves sitting outside on the carport..."Patio", playin' da Blues on da outside stereo, they had gone to the Hard Rock Cafe` in London and brought him back a midnight black t-shirt with a drawing on the back; an original design by Eric Clapton!
Now we can sit out on our patio, reading, listening to the blues and actin' like we Somebody. Oh, I'm feelin' gooood now.


Worth a Closer Look

Those of you who read this lil blog know how much I love my job. There's nothin' like cruising through the bayous of South Louisiana slow enough to really see things. After doing this for years ya develop a pretty good eye for the unusual and even from a distance ya notice things that require a closer look. Now, it's not always a great find. Many times I've reached for the binoculars or camera only to discover the pretty bird or flower I thought I saw was just a surveyor's ribbon or worse, just a shiny plastic bag or some trash. Every once in a while ya see something beautiful.This particular morning I saw what appeared to be some type of orange flowers in the distance, and for some reason they looked different so I grabbed my camera and zoomed in for closer inspection. Yep, no doubt about it these flowers were special for a swamp scene. I definitely wanted an even closer look. I gave control of the boat to my pilot, donned my life jacket, grabbed my camera and headed out to the front of the barge for a better view. They were truly worth the effort. When I showed the pics to Peggy, she said they were either Canna or Calla lilies. I'm not sure which but they were definately worth a closer look.

The Little Garden that Can

When we first started planting our lil 12' by 4' garden we got several skeptical comments from friends and neighbors. The town we live in is a big time farming community. Heck, the folks down the street own a several thousand acre sugar cane plantation. So imagine their reaction when we planted a 48 square ft. garden. For those of you who don't remember our lil garden, I've gone ahead and 'drug up' a pic from last month.

Well, over the last 4 or 5 years, our neighbors looked on in amazement as we lugged pan after pan of fresh veggies from our little garden. They even began to anticipate our fresh beans, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, etc. we harvest from this one little patch of dirt and share with them.
It's got to the point now, where we see several neighbors with their own version of our lil garden in their yards, as well as family members callin' us for advice. The first crop to come in every year is our snap beans. We plant the bush bean variety, cuz the garden is too small to have the vining variety. Well anyways, as you can see, the beans quickly take over and literally hang out the sides of the garden. We pick a big pan full of beans every 3 days and have already filled our freezer and have given away a bunch of 'em.
The beans are just the first things to produce. Hot on their heels are the tomatoes and cucumbers. When they finish, we will put in squash and okra; yes, all in this little patch. We will keep yall posted through the year and you will see for yourselves what this lil garden CAN do. But for now it's time to go pick the beans....... AGAIN!!!!!


Mr. Ed and Jean's Visit(Vermilion Ville)

As you read down the blog you will begin to realize why Peggy and I had tears in our eyes when we hugged our dear friends, the Radigans and told them "bye". We had such fun during their visit and I'm sure ya can tell from the blog what great folks they are. We love their visits. This one is barely over and we are already eagerly anticipating and planning for their return.

While we were showing them around we took them to Vermilion Ville. Vermilion Ville is a Cajun/Creole heritage park made to resemble a Cajun village from the late 1700's to early 1800's. There are several old homes and many reconstructed buildings, typically found in a rural village of the time. For more pictures from our visit click the title of this blog, wait for the album to load, click "view slideshow", then view the slide show. I only wish I knew how to put some good Cajun music playin' for yall while watching the show.

The folks at Vermilion ville have a nice website with a good virtual tour for your enjoyment, as well. It's: www.vermilionville.org

Joshua da Blacksmith

While showing Mr. Ed and Jean around Vermillionville, a Cajun heritage village, we happened to meet a very nice young man; "Joshua da Blacksmith". For me, getting the chance to visit with this young smithy was the highlight of our trip. He was patient, polite and very knowlegeable in his trade. It's hard on a young craftsman like Josh to find time and a place to hone his craft, so working at Vermillionville is a wonderful opportunity for him to sharpen his skills and still manage to pay the rent. It realy made me feel good to see this young man working in his chosen craft and preserving a piece of our history for us to enjoy. You only had to look around his furnace to see that the young smithy is quite gifted and versatile. This particular day he was working on some scroll work and demonstrated the techniques involved, and pointed out to us, some of the ways to tell the real hand work from the machined or molded pieces ya find today.

Allison's Graduation BBQ

Peggy and I had a wonderful time Saturday. We went to Broussard, La. to my uncle LeRoy's house for a family backyard bbq in honor of his granddaughter, Allison's High school graduation. The weather was good, the food great, as always, and it's always a joy to see the family. Bill, Allie's Dad, ran the pit with plenty unneeded supervision, while everyone else hugged and mingled, visited, laughed, etc. and just engulfed themselves in our big rowdy, fun- loving Cajun family. Peggy took lots of pictures and worked on them, hoping everyone would like their own pictures. To see them, click the title to be brought to our yahoo photo albums for the blog. Click "view slide show", wait til they load, then sit back and enjoy. Please be patient; it may take a while to load cause there's lots of pictures.


Mr. Ed and Jean's Visit(Randol's Restaurant)

While Mr. Ed and Jean were visitin', we took them to Randol's Resturant in Lafayette, La. Randol's is an old-fashioned Cajun dance hall/ restaurant. This is a wonderful tradition that is far too rare these days, in rural America; a place with live music, good food and a family atmosphere. Small children can be seen learning to dance by standing on their grandparents' toes, as they waltz or two-step across the floor. We got there early and settled down to enjoy several cold beers and some appetizers as the crowd slowly trickled in. Cousin Larry met us and we sat around visiting and munching assorted goodies, like deep-fried fish, deep-fried shrimp, crawfish, deep-fried alligator, and deep-fried pepperjack cheese, as well as deep-fried seafood and baked stuffed mushrooms.

When the music started,we ordered our dinner,and ate,visited and had a wonderful time. Peggy taught Mr. Ed the Cajun "2-step" between nibbles . The food was delicious. I ate 15 lbs of boiled crawfish, and of course, taught the "Yankees " how to peel and eat them. A little skeptical at first, they were soon enjoying the crawfish too.


Artigue Family Reunion

Peggy and I went to a family reunion yesterday of my Mom's family. We had a wonderful time; it was great seeing folks again and introducing Peggy to some of my family she hadn't met yet. We can't thank Meli and Jody enough for inviting us to their home. It was truly a good time. As usual, we took lots of pictures and loaded them into a yahoo photo album for all to see. Just click the title of this entry to be brought there. A good way to see the pictures, when you get to the photo album, is to click on "slide show", wait for it to load, then sit back and enjoy. I did something different this time and configured the pictures so any one can comment on them. We would really appreciate it if family members, looking in, would comment on the pictures, by naming the folks in the picture. 'Specially the kids. I, of course, know all of my generation, but their kids and spouses, and their kids' kids and spouses are hard to place. So, we would appreciate the help. Also, if any of yall have pictures ya would like to include to our collection of yesterday's events, just e-mail 'em to Peg's or my e-mail box and we will be glad to add them.


Mr. Ed and Jean's Visit(a cajun village)

When we have company, Peg and I love to take them to a spot a little ways outa town known as "A Cajun Village". The folks there are very friendly and we like to go on week-days when the business is so slow that the 'chef' can often be seen nappin' in the corner. We love this little restaurant and the bignets can not be beat. They fry 'em up fresh by order, only, and when combined with cafe` au lait, it's a Cajun breakfast dream come true. Aside from the resturant, there are lots of shops and antiques every where to peruse. Jean and Mr. Ed tried to get the fiddle player to saw out a tune, but he seemed content to just sit there and bask in the smell of honeysuckle that wafted in on the morning breeze. The only ones that seemed quite bored with our visit were the real gators we saw out back by the bayou, napping in the morning sun

Mr. Ed and Jean's Visit( the bbq)

We sang, laughed, visited, ate too much, and as always, had a great time. When friends come to visit ya can be sure there will be something good cookin'. Mr. Ed and Jean's visit was just the excuse we needed to fire up the bbq pit and do some pickin' and grinnin', singin' and dancin', etc. For appetizers we had crabmeat stuffed mushroom caps, smoked sausage slices, and Jean bought some hors d'ouvres trays full of veggies, fruits, cheeses etc. The main munchies consisted of BBQ pork, corn on the cob, shrimp fettuchini that Veronica brought, our cole slaw, Jean's delectable zucchini casserole(which was soooo good it barely made it to the table) and some white beans. Dessert consisted of lots of goodies, that I was too full to investigate, but I'm sure they were great. With a jug of Melissa's dad's homemade blackberry wine to wash it down, it was quite a feast. The fun lasted well into the night, lighted up with our tacky party lights and the romantic blaze from too many tiki torches. When talking about a true Cajun good time, ya always hear about us letting "roll". For photographic evidence of this "bon temps' click the title of this lil story, then click slide show.


Mr. Ed and Jean(the boat ride)

When I finally got home from "the ten week hitch", Peg and I were blessed with a visit from our dear friends the Radigans. Among the many gifts my sweet wife has given me is a couple of new friends that I nightly thank God for the privilege of knowing. They graced our lil home with a visit and we just had too much fun. We did all the usual things we love to do and brought them along. We went for a boat ride through the bayou lands of south central Lousiana. We had fun zipping down the bayou munching on cold fried chicken while the Radigans tried to hang onto their hats. Peggy sat up front pointing out the sights, when we slowed down moving along leisurly enjoying the view. We showed Gene a beautiful water hyacinth bloom and explained how that innocent-looking flower was responsible for so much misery in the swamps. We also pointed out some of the little camps that people have parked here and there along the bayous. I love these lil houseboats, as they have lots of character and I think they are much cooler than the store-bought variety. The resourceful Cajuns always manage to find something that floats, and build a camp on it. Limited only by their imagination and spare change, they always impress me with the style and character of the camps they come up with.

It was a wonderful day and all I can say is: AAAAAiEEEEEEEEEE!! Ma`, son of a gun we had big fun on da bayou.

The Ten Week Hitch

Well, it was a long hitch to be sure, but the days have a way of slipping one into another in a pleasent blur, and 'fore ya know it, time passes by. That's a danger when ya ride long hitches, ya tend ta let the days go by without really savoring them. I have to be constantly vigilant or else I'll go days without taking any pictures. I forget that not everyone sees the things that I am privileged to see; take this sunrise for instance. It was my first day at work and I must say this hitch started off right.

When the weather gets rough, seagulls ride on the barge, instead of chasing behind in our wheel-wash. I never tire of watchin' them as they bob their heads and strut, and do lots of interesting things. They seem to have a greeting and pecking order, so to speak. Ya can tell who the leaders are. I can watch 'em for hours as they strut about on the barge, but every once in awhile I get an urge to kinda pick on 'em, and blow the horn to make 'em fly away. The only bad thing 'bout that is, the sound of the horn scares the poop out of 'em.

I just love lookin' at the flowers in the Spring and early Summer. There are several beautiful wild flowers in the swamps and I love seeing them. This hill caught my eye one morning as we passed by. The big advantage of driving a 'tug' is that ya go slow enough to enjoy the scenery as it slides by the wheel-house windows.

I am thrilled to tell yall that the American bald eagle has returned to the bayou country of Lousiana. They were, like all big birds, almost wiped out by DDT, the insecticide they used years ago. It is finally dissipating from the enviroment and giving the big birds a chance to return to our area. When I was a kid growing up in the swamps of South Lousiana, ya never saw eagles. Imagine my Joy, that now ya seldom go a day without seeing them.

I was pushed into the bank one morning, waiting for a bridge to open, when I saw this young egret fishing for breakfast. As I watched, he musta caught 20 li'l fish, like in this picture. This made me wonder how he can stay so skinny if he catches like that every day. Heck, I gain weight just by passin' by the bakery in the grocery store.

It was a long hitch, no doubt about it, but it sure ended pretty. This last picture was taken the night fore I got offn' da' boat. I felt like it was God's way of sayin' "See, it wasn't that bad, now was it?"