The Blizzard of January 2008

Yeah, it's cold outside. 33 degrees, as of right now, but it's supposed to freeze hard tonight. The Weather Bug has been doing it's job of bugging me, and everyone else here in South Louisiana, who has downloaded the infernal thing. I just don't like the cold...I just don't like it at all. Earlier, I put on a turtleneck so I could pull it up over my face, then a coat, and mittens so I could drag two big bath towels out to drape over two sticks, which have been standing center, in the middle of weed-encased fancy scalloped bricks since early summer. They are our Paw Paw "trees". I baby-sat our citrus trees in years past, all bundled up, as I was tonight, covering them with sundry towels or whatever I had handy to keep them from freezing. So they pulled through, and now we have luscious satsumas, lemons and... grapefruit, which are still, taking their good ol' time ripening. Although, this year, for whatever reason, I've pretty much just thrown up my hands and given up on ever having a real passion for hanging out in the heat of summer or cold of 'winter' to tend to ungrateful flowerbeds or window boxes. Mebbe this Spring.
Right now I'm in the throes of a blizzard. I'm sure I can't be the only one...I sure hope I'm not. Ever since Cappy was home, and spent hours trying to get our computer 'fixed', apparently, while he was dawdling with the 'Geek' on the phone, waiting for things to download or upload, he opened the filing cabinet and was dissatisfied with my filing system. I usually wait til after the Christmas season, to purge all the papers and magazines, which I have accrued, during all the sewing, cooking and running around. He usually never gets wind of all the stuff I pile in there, which awaits til he's safely ensconced back out on the boat. Not this year...he caught me. Still, til he was back on the boat, I couldn't do anything about it; the task was hanging over my head like a dark cloud.
Tonight, while listening to what Cappy refers as the 'talking head Pez dispensers' aka the political pundits, blathering in the background, ad infinitum, I was hammering away on a new metal frame for the top drawer of the filing cabinet. Before that, I unearthed all the papers, receipts, owner's manuals, etc. and stacked them on the futon behind me, because while I was unloading the cabinet, somehow the paper blizzard struck, covering the desk with three inches of white stuff. I'll shovel through it; I always do. SparkyBear is here to 'help'. He likes watching the shredder send showers of white flakes fluttering down onto the drifts in the waste basket. He's good company, yeah, but where's a fairy god-mother when you really need one?
...and back to the political wonks and the primaries; I can see by the results; I'm not the only one getting a snow job.


Pegody's Christmas in Alexandria, LA

It's halfway through January and I haven't related the wonderful Christmas I had with family in Alexandria at Uncle Eugene and Aunt Marguerite's house. Actually, what I thought I might try, is one of Cappy's new toys...the musical slideshow thingy. I've been fighting with it all day because there are a lot of confounded buzzers and whistles that caused me to lose the whole project a couple of times...a LONG time creating in the first place. Ah...I'll get it eventually. What I really wanted to do was to put anything on here that would create any kind of distance between this post and the last one.
Well, anyway...it's 12:30 a.m. and 'tah dah!' I think I did it! Moo-ah ha hah...I think it's alive. I spent Christmas with some of the FINEST people in da whole world, and I love them all dearly.
I'll have to apologize to Cousin Mark later, but rather than pick at it somemore and maybe lose the whole shebang again, I think I'll slather what I just spent all day making onto this blog and wearily crawl into bed. I'll see what I think about it in the morning. Hugs, Yall and G'nite.
(...a couple of days later...I notice I didn't include this picture of Cathy in the reshuffle, but if you think right now I'm up to doing that whole thing over again and waiting forever for it to upload on here again, ya cwayzee...I'll take it as a learning experience. I notice I could have also including titles for each picture, too. It's a cool little dealie, this music video thing, and I hope you don't mind us throwing it at you so much, lately.)


I Remember Mama

I used to call Mom on my birthday and tell her, "Happy BIRTHday", because I figured it was a day we had shared in the process of getting me 'borned', and wanted to, once again, let her know how loved and appreciated she was for that. I guess, from what she said, she had to drag me around for almost an extra month, because I was so slow to make my entrance inta this woild. Up North, where I was born, they have a saying, "as slow as molasses in January". My Mom said that saying was created because of me. I doubt that, but she always said it was, and that, "You are always late, and (tsk) you'll be 'late' for your own funeral". It was only a couple of years before she passed, that, upon hearing her say it for the ninty-zillionth time, that I 'got' the joke and said, "Ohhhhh!" She looked at me in disbelief and said, "You're only just now getting that joke?!" I guess I can be slow, but, eventually, I get there.
That was one thing about Mom; she had a sense of humor and everybody loved her. Her friends called her "Millie", but her family(brothers and sister) called her "Sis". Their kids call her "Aunt Sis". She wanted us, her own kids, to always call her "Mama", but, alas, when we got old enough to 'know more than she did', we started calling her "Mom". To her grandchildren she was, of course, "Gramma".
She had been born the eldest of seven children and had always been a hard worker. I can always recall her wearing a uniform. She eventually became a chef and dietician.
She was my best friend. When I was still a kid...and really...so was she, I remember her telling me my first 'naughty' joke. I can still remember the look on her face when I didn't 'get' that one, either. She was still in her twenties, young and beautiful and a 'hoot'. I can still remember her sweeping me into her arms, when I was 9 and teaching me how to dance 'rock and roll jitterbug'. Like everyone in our family, sure, she was overweight, but I remember, upon seeing her all 'dressed up to the nines', in a gorgeous, shiny turquoise satin dress, exposing a bit of decolletage, and adorned with what appeared to be a real, shimmering, diamond-studded necklace. (they were real enough to me, and I still have that necklace, which I wear on special occasions, such as my son, Dan's wedding day...that way I 'take' Mom with me.) Her hair had glints of gold, sparkling like an angel's. She, unlike me, didn't really wear makeup. She didn't need it; she was naturally gorgeous. Only a touch of lipstick, then she "powdered her nose", and she was breathtakingly beautiful. (drat...those pictures of her are in the attic...I'll go bring them down some sometime.) I remember stopping in my tracks at the sight of her, and breathed, "Mama, you like just like Marilyn Mon-roll!!!...well, 'sept for being fat". Her girlfriend was horrified, at once, so then, so was I, suddenly realizing what I had said, but Mom, laughing so hard, interceded, saying, "...noooo, I know what she means...she thinks I look pretty, but I know I'm fat". From that I learned it was ok to laugh at ourselves. After all, it's not polite to laugh at other people. I like that she taught me not to be so serious about how I look. Sure, I had gotten burned as a very little girl and have scars on my face and body, and that people are going to be mean and rude about it, but scars are only evidence about what I had to endure...what I had to get through, to be able to be here today. She felt that life was too short as it is, not to have fun...there always had to be singing and music and dancing and laughing and cooking and joking going on. It's her legacy. (How she would have loved the Cajun joie de vivre philosophy!)
I almost wrote this post before Christmas, but didn't get the chance. As an example of her wackiness, one time, she took a picture of me while I was making a terrible face at her camera...I didn't think she'd really take it. I didn't really know how bad it was 'til the next Christmas. The whole big family was gathered around for the ususal Holiday get-together. How wonderful it was, with Grandma (Mom's mother) and all her kids and grandchildren. Aunts and Uncles and cousins. Paper and ribbons flying everywhere, as the flurry of gifts were being opened in front of the big, overly-decorated, as ususal, Christams tree. It had always been a tradition for Mom to have a couple of gifts tucked away in the branches of the tree for us, as well. After all the presents were open, Mom told me to go look more closely in the tree. All excited, I jumped up and leaned this way and that, inspecting every inch of every branch, all the while the kinfolk were snickering behind me. (Why?) Just as I spotted a tiny wrapped package...right in front of me, of all things...what was that standing on the branch just behind it?? Oh NO!!! That horrible picture Mom had taken months and months ago! Oh sure...everybody hadda go and burst into laughter about that one. From that day on, every single year she sneaked it back onto every single Christmas tree she ever had. I don't know how I'd forget from one year to the next, but somehow I seemed to...then, as an after-thought, I'd remember and go check. Sure enough, it was always someplace prominent. Hmmph. So, as a late (of course) Christmas gift to her, this year...and a good 'laugh' at myself today, in honor of our Birthday...here the danged thing is:

(I can't believe I'm actually posting this...and you can see for yourself, she colored it in, to make it stand out even more.)

This is Mom with four of her brothers, Uncle Spike, Uncle Keith, Uncle Duane and Uncle Bill. The other picture is of Mom with two of her grandchildren, my niece Chrissy and nephew Danny, Jr.


A Misadventurous Day

It all started with a stocking stuffer gift Peggy gave me this year. As soon as I saw it, I knew why she gave it to me. I still can see her looking on in horror as I shaved last years 'Santa Claus' beard off with the doggy clippers. I remember telling her in the past, that I enjoyed treating myself, on occasion, to an old-fashioned hot-towel barbershop shave.
Well, there it was, a homemade gift certificate entitling me to "the best shave in the country". She had already made me an appointment at a place on Magazine Street in New Orleans called Aiden Gill. It's a famous fancy barber salon for men. They have been around for ever, and have shaved everybody that is somebody, for decades. They don't allow for picture taking inside the salon, so the 'dandy' behind the counter stepped outside so Peggy could snap this one as a "before" shot with me.

Bless my sweet wife's heart; she had even scheduled the appointment for mid-afternoon, knowing we seldom leave the house before noon. Well, being excited to go collect my shave and make a day of it, by catching some music and dinner in New Orleans, I was ready several hours in advance, sitting at our kitchen counter sipping coffee and making Peg angry by trying to hustle her along. Well, we finally headed out with plenty time to get there, but then came the first, of a series of calamities, that typify the way we bumble our way through life.

The radio said I-10 was backed up counta "road destruction", so we opted for an alternative route into da Big Easy, via the Huey P. Long bridge. True to course, as soon as we got off the bridge, we immediately got 'lost and confused'. Signs were still missing, things looked different, and what with the one-way streets and all, well....... we got to the salon 15 minutes late, so they couldn't take us. We whined a little, told 'em we drove all the way in from da country and looked dejected enough, that they rescheduled us for an appointment a couple hours later. Walking back to the truck in what Peggy considered Artic "cccconditions", we passed a nice lookin' Mexican place, called the Flying Burrito, so we fed the parking meter a few quarters and decided to have lunch there. It was a very cold windy day and Peg was freezin'. We were seated by the door and every time it opened, Peggy shivvered. It was there, while killin' time, waiting for the shave appointment, that we read Willie Nelson was in town and they were sellin' tickets at the door. Well, I figured that was a good way to end the day. Peg, who is most definitely not a Willie Nelson fan, was willing to do anything that might hold the promise of warmth. Besides, she mused, the worst thing that could happen was that she might even,after seeing Willie Nelson in person, might take a liking to him after all. (It wasn't the worst thing but...)

...Back to the Barber shop we went, and it was truely wonderful! Those folks really treat ya well, and the shave was amazing. We chatted up everyone there, had a great time and left in hurry to go down town, Peggy still shivvering. Just walking from any building we had been in all day, to the truck, or from the truck to anywhere, was sheer torture for her. I don't know how she ever lived up North for as long as she did. An half hour later, in heavy rush hour traffic, as we rounded Lee's Circle, heading for the French Quarter, Peg noticed that she had forgotten her camera back at the barber shop. Soooo... all the way around the circle we go, and back through the heavy traffic to the barber, just in time to retrieve the misplaced camera before they closed for the day. As I walked in, the gal who had just shaved me, remarked, "Hey...Mr. Ray, you didn't grow that beard back already, did ya?"

With the camera safely back in tow, we headed back across the city, around 'the circle', missed the turn, got stuck in the construction back o' the French Market, and finally(!!!)made it onto Decateur Street to the House of Blues, and sure enough, there was ol' Willie's bus! Yes, 'THE Bus'. Well, now that the sun had gone down, it was really cold. Peg was walking huddled over, freezin' as we walked across the parking lot, down a couple blocks, into an ally and got in line, where we then waited and waited and waited outside....... for 2 hours.... in that cold, imaginging and hoping that any minute they'd begin to let us in. Nontheless, true to course, we laughed, we joked, we chatted up the other shivvering people, and actually had fun swapping stories as we waited. Two hours later, someone mentioned that the ticket booth was behind us, around the corner, and down the street aways, and that we were in the wrong line! My heart jumped! "OHHHHH NOOOOO!!!" I had a sinking feeling, as I hurried 'round the corner and down the street to the lil sign we had missed on the way into the dark alley, with the rest of the crowd who were waiting to get in. The sign clearly read, "Box Office". As I got there, another sign became visible, taped across the window......you can prolly guess by now......"SOLD OUT". So, after a long, freezing wait for nothing, we plodded back along the back streets to the parking lot, got back in the car, got the heater going and headed home.
While stopped in traffic, I glanced at the lil paper we had gotten from the resturant, and noticed there was live Zydeco music at da Rock and Bowl... and Peggy loves Zydeco. In an effort to make up for the last fiasco, I mentioned it to her, so we headed right on over to Carrolton Street, went to the Rock and Bowl and finished off the day in fine fashion. A few drinks, some good boudin to snack on, folks dancing and good music played on a keyboard accordian, much to the delight of my sweet accordian playin' wife, Peggy. By the time we left for home, we were both laughing and giggling 'bout the wonderfully awful day we had. It's da Cajun way. Joie da vivre!

P.S....and by the time we crossed the River, Peggy's toes were finally warm again


Da Mystery Jug

When folks come over for a visit it never fails; someone snoops in da fridge and inquires bout the mysterious jug. "Hey!" they say, "What's an old bottle of Crown doin' in da fridge and whas dat in it????"..."Wha kinda jug is dat in da door of yall fridge?" The bolder of the company we have, usually exclaim: "Woooooo! Das some of da bes' homemade wine I EVER tasted!" Well, since most of our readers don't get the chance to snoop in our fridge, let me explain. Our friend Melissa's Dad makes this glorious nectar, humbly disguised as homemade wine. The man is a true artist, and his wine is known and treasured by local town folks, granted the privilege of sampling this heavenly elixer. Peg and I are among the lucky few. Now and then we send him some produce from our yard or something we cooked so, once in awhile he sends us a jug of wine. We typically hoard this jug jealously, and savor it slowly enjoying an occasional icy glassful. This time, however; as soon as we opened the latest jug we knew we were in trouble. Homemade muscadine wine is a true treasure of the South, and this one is the best I've ever tasted (this from a guy that has had a few glasses of homemade wine in his time). Well, no savoring for this jug; it's now the next day, and the jug now contains one small glass full, and that, only because neither Peg nor I wanted to be the guilty one responsible for finishin' it all off already.

Pickin' Pecans

When Peg and I pick pecans it's a real 'dawg and pony show', 'cept we can never find da ponies. It's just as well though, causin da dawgs are trouble enough. Well, at least it's a pleasent smelling experience; what with the ripening lemons and the mint around the base of the tree, not to mention a couple of frost bitten bunches of bananas festering, not far away, makes for a odiferous experience. To make it more a challenge, throw in 3 pecan-munching, fun-lovin' mutts to run interference and its a tough job. Watch the slide show to see how much fun it aint, pickin' pecans in our yard. toooo fun


The First BBQ of 2008

In honor of it being the first Saturday of the year, Peg and I figured: no better time to put the Blues blaring on the patio and fire up the pit. I seasoned up a bunch of chicken and a tray full of our sweet bbq pork. Any good Cajun will tell ya, "a hot smoky pit is a terrible thing to waste", so we filled ours up with everything we had in da fridge. Peg fixed a pan of asparagus 'cappytizers' that were so good, the dogs begged for them, and a black iron pot full of our pit-smoked baked beans. Just the 2 of us and the dawgs partyin' on da patio 'neath the tacky party lights. Blues blarin' on the speakers and us slow dancin' in the glow. No we aint crazy cookin' all that just for us. Leftover smoked chicken is great in salads and for lunch and the smoked pork usually finds it's way into the Monday pot of beans. As for the asparagus, it went in a flash, what with the dogs gettin' more of them than we did...and my smoky beans don't stand a chance with Peg in da house; as a matter of fact, they prolly won't make it to morning. If ya wanna kick ya shoes off, lean back, relax and take 3 minutes or so, to 'spend the day with us'. just click play:-)

New Years Day '08 Bon Temps

We had a wonderful New Year's Day this year. Peg baked up a storm and we fried a Turkey with all the trimmings, including the Cajun traditional dishes of : black-eyed peas, cabbage, and cornbread. These are supposed to represent: health, wealth, and happiness. Happiness this year, got a lil over done on accounta I forgot it in the oven while tendin' the turkey. But, in typical Cajun fashion, we all laughed it off and called it cornbread crackers, and had some anyways. I feel certain, burnt or not, we will have a very happy new year and wish for you the same. We are still learning the in's and out's of video and slide shows, so to see our first attempt at a slide show, click play and let the good times roll..