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