10.31.2008

The Ghost of O.G. Track Road

While runnin' from da 'Storm' last month, Peggy, tryin' to escape traffic, and trusting a map, 'stead of askin' me, turned onto the old "O.G. Track Road" in St. Landry Parish, tryin' to get to highway 71. Well, this 'shortcut' turned into a 'long-cut', and she had to backtrack, regroup and start over. I hadn't thought of the old train track in years. It is a place from my youth, back when times were simpler and I was a kid. Here's da story:

I heard it since I was a kid; "The legend of the ghost of the O.G. Track". Mama and her family lived there some years ago, and Grandpa share-cropped a patch of land off the tracks. Mama loved the trains as they steamed by, puffin' lil white clouds as the piston pumped da wheels around. It was a steam engine with it's often imitated, never duplicted steam whistle. The engineer yusta throw bags of candy and fruit to Mama and her brothers and sisters, as they stood on the side of the tracks, pumping their elbows to get the whistle to blow. Years later, Mama taught me how to place straight pins on da tracks and let the train wheels press 'em into lil pairs of 'scissors', or how to smash a penny under the wheels of da train to make a guitar pick. (Mama was an unbelievable guitar picker.)

Anyways,...Mama told us the story of the 'ghost', and all of her brothers and sisters backed the story up. It seems that a lady was driving home one night with her young child in the car, when they stalled on the tracks and got hit by the train. The child was said to have been thrown clear and lived. The mother was said to have died in the crash. After this happened, reports of a ghost started circulating around town and it wasn't long 'til Mama's family heard about it. The 'Ghost of the O.G. Track' was said to be shining white, resembling a woman, and float above the track, gliding along mournfully looking for her child.

Years went by, the lil train went outa business, the whistle fell silent, they took up the tracks and left a gravel road in their place. The road follows the old track line, eventually dying out at the bayou where the old train bridge was. The bridge was removed, leaving just a row of pylons marching silently across the bayou to the other side.
When I came along, the tracks were just a memory, but the dead-end gravel road made our family's secret picnic spot. I remember many wonderful weinie roastin', campfire singin', marshmallow roastin', bbqin' good times at the old bridge crossing. It was like our own private lil park. Some of my earliest memories of my Dad are of him standing on the bank of Bayou Courtableau, casting a top-water popping 'bug' at the pylons with his fly rod. It was magic for a small boy, of somewhere 'tween 4 and 7 to see dat 'bug' float back and forth in a whip-like motion, landing inches from the pylons, and "pluck-pluck, float" and repeat 'til a Bass made the water explode around the bait, as it sucked up dat 'bug'. We always left the campsite and headed back down the dusty ole road before dark, to avoid the skeeters, but for a young lad; we were leavin', so the ghost wouldn't git us. In case I would forget this, I was retold the scary story from the front seat of the ole jet-black '57 Chevy, (with a bright cherry-red interior), as we rattled our way down the ole dusty road towards home, on many Sunday picnic afternoons. That ol' Chevy was Daddy's pride and joy. He bought it "cash on the barrel-head" with his back pay, when he cycled out of the Navy.

Flash forwards a few years. I was like 10 or 12, before I was old enough to be invited to go on midnight rabbit hunts with some of my older cousins and uncles. (I was prolly 16 or so 'fore I found out you could even hunt rabbits in the daylight; and muchless, that was da legal way.)
Well, one night they picked me up in Uncle Jessie's ole step-sided pickup, and sure enough, you guessed it.....they headed right down the O.G. Track Road, with us kids perched on the hood and on top of the truck cab, with high beams on. Dat ole truck bristled with guns like one of Mama's pin cushions. I warned 'em 'bout da ghost, but they kept goin', and long 'fore we reached the end of the track road, we had like a dozen or so nice big rabbits in the bed of da ole truck. We stopped at the end of the road; the beer drinkin'-age cousins all hadda pee. (Yup, beer drinking, and heavily armed, night huntin' Cajuns...it's a miricle I'm here to tell this story.) We loaded up for the return trip, keepin' da rabbits company in the back. Uncle Jessie turned da ole truck around and headed back down the dark ole dusty road. About halfway back, as we slowly rounded da only curve on da road, Uncle Jessie stopped da truck and quietly said through where the back window aughta had been, "Look boys, I tink it is da ghost".
Did they set me up? Who knows. Was it some elaborate plot to scare da Jesus outa a kid? Maybe. They won't tell, and I'll never know, but there she was!! White, shining, floating above the road in the headlights...and 'kinda out of focus' is the best way I could describe her.
I screamed like a girl, the other cousins chiming in, and Unc 'floored' da ole truck. Smoke and dust erupted, gravel showered out behind the truck, as the old bald Maypop tires fought to get traction, and my crazy uncle headed da truck with all of us in it straight for da ghost! Me and da boys dove for cover among the bloody rabbits and assorted clutter of the spilled contents of a rusty ol' paint can that had been full of hunting tackle. I seem to remember the white figure of the ghost passing over the truck as we sped down the bumpy ole wash-board gravel road. The memory fades over time, das why I'm tellin' it now, but one thing remains certain; we hadda clean lots more than rabbit blood outa da back of dat ole truck when we got home.

10.29.2008

Diana's Passing

Diana, our daughter-in-law passed away yesterday in her sleep. She's the mother of our granddaughter, Cierra and was only 38 years old. She had gone to the doctor on Monday and was scheduled for tests yesterday, but alas the schedule for tests had come too late. Presently it appears to have been some kind of kidney failure, but results are pending. Although she and our son, Thom had been estranged for a few years, it's obvious, talking with him, that his love for her never waned, and he's taking her passing with much grief. Love can be like that sometimes; despite vast chasms, it can still abide.
Diana had a quick wit, a good sense of humor, and tried to do the best she could, even in trying situations. She was gentle and gracious, bringing laughter to the folks in the nursing home, where she worked. It's all such a sudden shock, and words presently escape us. Prayers for the family would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
I just learned that Diana actually died of a heart attack. That's so young. Because of the proverbial 'circumstances beyond my control' just now, I won't be able to travel to western NY to attend her memorial services this coming Monday, but will do as much as we can from here. When we go up north this next coming month, Cappy and I & the dogs, we will get together with Cierra, who is living with Diana's sister, Betty and her husband in South Carolina. Cierra's six years old, and an only child. These circumstances are always just awful and very confusing. I can't imagine how it must be for our little granddaughter. Despite all this, we know that children are resiliant, and she seems to be doing well just now. Her mother can rest now, knowing that both families will be doing the best they know how, for her little girl.
Rest peacefully, Diana, and know that before you even expect it, your family and loved ones will be joining you, one by one, as you joined those who have been waiting, There, to welcome you home, Dear Heart.

10.27.2008

Ab-Lounging Cappy Style

While rooting through our picture/video files, I came across this lil video that Peggy took way last Spring while my sister's family and we were recouping from Easter Dinner. With a belly full of fried turkey and all the trimmings I'm afraid that this is all the exercise that I could muster. (My niece, Blythe and I engaged in a lil competition.)
video

10.24.2008

Half-Time Celebration

Well, what with the hustle and bustle of the jambalaya preparation, cooking, and cleanup, combined with a trip to New Orleans with a friend, my first week off flew by in a happy blur. Peggy and I never really had the chance to relax, unwind and just 'chill'. What with one more week to go, Peggy and I decided to celebrate 'half-time'. It may be hard for our regular readers to believe, but we went a whole week before we fired up da pit. We finally got the chance to kick back and BBQ yesterday, so da dawgs and myself assumed our patio lounging position and Peggy took some pictures of the 'festivities'. The night before, I had injected a pork roast with our seasoning, butter and beer and let it sit in the fridge over night. In the morning, while I got da pit ready, Peggy coated the roast in our spice and brown sugar. It wasn't long 'til da Blues were blaring from the outside speakers and the down-wind neighbors' mouths were watering, as we smoked up da place. The roast smoked away for almost 7 hours with "Pourky da Pig" standing by, to put out any flame ups. After the roast was almost done we put a couple taters to bake in da smoky pit and I fixed one of our favorite appetizers; videosmoked asparagus. I have been tellin' folks that my smoked asparagus are soooo good even the dogs love them. I know it's hard to believe, so this time Peggy made a lil video documenting the fact. It was really nice to spend a relaxing evening with Peggy and the dogs doing one of our favorite things. Laughing, dancing, BBQin', bluesy kinda laid back day just reveling in each others company.

10.22.2008

Our Town's Forum Gathering of Friends, Food & Fun

This morning two trucks, four guys showed up to put a new water heater in our attic, and right away I started apologizing for the disarray, mentioning that we were still recovering from the weekend. One of the guys reminded me that it was Wednesday. (Wednesday?! Already??) Ever since Cappy 'hit da bank' we've been running and running. Yesterday we went to New Orleans, did a tiny bit of shopping in the French Market, which, in our opinion, is just not ready for tourists yet, let alone serious local shopping. Half of the place is still under repair, and the other half is populated with wares that are way over-priced and just 'stuff'. We did enjoy lunch at Jimmy Buffett's Margueritaville Cafe across the street. The lady in the black T-shirt, center in the above photo, Susan aka "Swag" to our town Forum friends, was with us as we meandered around on foot and in the SUV, not knowing where or what we were going to do next. Just a laid back kinda day. We were hoping one of our online friends, who lives in New Orleans would join us, so that after approx. ten years of 'knowing her', but never having met her, we could 'hug her neck', as Cappy says. Alas, it was not to be, but we had a good time getting to know Susan. Susan lives in Texas but came to town to attend the local town Forum's get together, which took place this last Sunday...the real weekend. She wears a perennial beautiful smile, as you will see from the slideshow of said Forum Gathering. Here's the slideshow, but more will be said in another forthcoming Blog posting about our new friend, "Swag".
OH! And at the right-hand side of the slideshow, there's an option to view in a better quality...I prefer to do that. Also there's an icon that you can click on the bottom right, that will make the video into a full screen for your viewing pleasure, as well. OK...da slideshow---> http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=DuzU9EoBxTk


10.16.2008

FALL: A Good-Time Hitch On Da Boat

This hitch started off as they all do, with me Thanking God for the opportunity to work in the beautiful waters of southern Louisiana. Like I always say; if ya gotta work in an office, it may as well float down a lazy bayou with sights like this sunrise to greet ya in da mornin'.

Peggy mentioned in an earlier post how the bridges sustained lots of damage from this year's storms. This bridge was in operation as we passed, but you can see the damage to the bridge house (control structure).

Some places damaged by Gustav and then patched with the FEMA blue roofs, were re-damaged only a week later when Ike came by, while others were completely wiped out by the 1-2 hurricane punch.

Even amidst all the destruction, signs of life were returning back to normal. This picture of the swamp bird sitting in the shattered cypress stump kinda sums it up.

Of course the ever-present Egrets could be seen everywhere among the folliage of the bayous,which are slowly taking on a hint of Fall color.

You guys always ask for close-ups, so here is an Egret up close for yall.


I also got some good shots of this Pelican as it settled in by the boat for some fishing.



The spoonbill rosettes were pretty in their pinkness as they slogged through the mud, exposed by our passing, in search of lil shrimp and fishies.



We tied up in the marsh not far from the town of Leeville, Louisiana one afternoon and were surprised to see how much progress they are making on the new road to Grand Isle, La. Notice in the picture how the new bridge is gonna be lots taller than the old bridge . The day was so nice and cool that my crew decided to do a lil fishing. Peggy sure enjoyed the speckled trout fillets.

A few days later I got some pictures of this floating buzzard feast on the Intracoastal waterway. I can't hardly blame the buzzards, I like gator too.




I thought I'd end this lil account of my month on the boat with one of my favorite sights. This Eagle is one of several I got pictures of this hitch. They never fail to make my heart jump when I see them up close like this. They are truly magnificant birds. Now that I'm home, Peggy and I are already planning the fun frolicking things to do this time, and I am sure we will post our adventures of the fun we have, until it's time to put my Cappy hat back on and head out for another hitch.

10.03.2008

Kaitlyn Brooke




Our tenth grandbaby, Kaitlyn Brooke was born yesterday @ 10:24 a.m, and weighed in at 8 lbs. and 12 oz. Yow! She's a big girl. When Joe was born, he weighed 8 lb. 8 oz, and I thought he was huge. The dr. even joked and said, "You want me to circumsize him right now? He's big enough"...he had a good laugh about it. HAH. >:-/
Mother and baby and Dad are fine. I got to hear her sweet little voice over the phone today when she started fussing. Lemme see...how many days til we will be going up to visit (?) Too many, that's for sure.
This is a picture of Ashley and Zachery, the big sister and brother, who are thrilled with their new little sister.
Well...this was just a little shot of wonderful news. I'll be writing more...whose nose when...mayhaps tomorrow.
Love youse guys...family, friends and 'drive-bys' :-)