7.31.2009

Them's the Brakes

This is a Cord automobile.Recently the discussion came up on our local town Forum concerning a certain kind of vintage car called a Tucker (see link for samples.) http://www.tuckerclub.org/html/see_a_tucker.php
While I think they are/were kinda cool, I have a different brand of vintage car that I like very, very much. It was called a Cord. Not a Ford; but a Duesenberg Cord, and here are some samples of them that I could see myself tooling around in...and hey, this one even looks like me in one of my favorites.
When I was a little kid my family certainly didn't have anything that fancy. My grandma had an old weathered dark green Mercury "tank" that lasted her for years and years and years. (this is not Grandma's car, but it looks just about like it if you can imagine it only having two doors and being a dark faded ugly green.) I remember one time and one time only when I was about four years old that I got to fall asleep up on the shelf in the back window on the way home from the drive-in movie. Of course, the car was so packed full of us kids, that she may or may have not noticed...or, most likely she was harried from the experience of taking such a mob of us to the drive-in, that she just let me sleep up there. My aunt Bev, whom you will remember from past posts, is the same age as I ...except 20 days younger (I have to add that). When we were in our early teens, we were mortified to be seen in Grandma's "tank", even tho' to get around town, we had to ride in it. We kids were always relegated to sitting in the back seat, so getting in and out was a real pain because it only had two doors, and Grandma never got out of the car to let us out, and neither did my Mom if she was along for the ride. Bev and I had to 'skinny' our way between the door post and the back of the front seat to disembark, usually getting our clothes and freshly coifed hair all askew in the process. It wasn't too bad unless Grandma and Mom insisted on letting us out right in front of the W.T.Grant Store where all the cool kids hung out after school. Well, we weren't all that cool and we were humiliated beyond words when Grandma and Mom pulled the old dark green 'tank' right up to the mob of curious teenagers gathered there on the sidewalk. One particular time, Bev and I ducked down into the dark recesses of the back seat and refused to get out, totally mystifying Grandma, who was thrilled to be able to have found the perfect open parking spot right in the middle of all our "friends" to let us out. I think she said something like, "Well, that's gratitude for ya". Olean, NY is a small town anyhow, so we bratty kids walked most anywhere we needed to go, and avoided Grandma's car whenever we could.
...Except I remember on this one occasion when Grandma went for a ride with my Dad in his car on an all day excursion to go visit relatives, leaving Grandma's 'tank' sitting alone in the driveway.
I had gone somewhere and when I was walking down our isolated street which is (still) situated on top of the levy, I noticed Bev and my brother and a bunch of his friends 'messing' with Grandma's car. By the time I had gotten close enough to see what was going on, I watched in horror as they all crammed into the old 'tank' and drove it around the old hide tanning building a couple of times (also located on the levy right next to our house). (this photo is looking out an upstairs window in our house, with our driveway, which can't really be seen, but is between our house and the 'hide house' on the right, and above, the bridge across the Olean Creek.) When I got down to where they were, they were laughing and acting crazy, like typical kids, and Bev was at the wheel. "You guys are gonna get in big trouble" I said. "No, come on and try it...I do this all the time when Mom's away" Bev said. I didn't know that. She did seem to drive it around the "hide house" pretty smoothly, just like she knew what she was doing. "Come on, we've all taken a turn, now it's your turn". I'd never been behind the wheel of a car in my life so I was hesitant. They all made room for me and whined, "Come onnnn!" Well, I guess it couldn't have been that hard if they'd all done it, so I got in. Bev instructed me to put my left foot on what she said was the clutch and my right foot on the middle pedal, which was the brake, turn on the key, then step on the gas pedal at the right and "go". The old dark green "tank" started up just fine but when I let go of the brake, the old car began lurching all over the dirt driveway, throwing laughing kids all over the inside of it, then stalled, while my left foot...any foot was frantically searching for that elusive brake pedal. And that pretty much describes the entire trip around the hide house with me at the wheel; starting 'er up, jumpetty-jumpetty jump, then stall dead in her tracks. Actually, I decided halfway around the hide house to quit after about ten rollicking out-of-control episodes of seismic convulsions, so Bev took over and adroitly 'bedded' the "tank" back in it's place in the driveway so's Grandma would never know.
I hope we didn't hurt the ol' gal. I wasn't around the next time Grandma took her out, but Bev was. She said they got to the top of the road and waited for the perfect timing to pull out and take her place in traffic. She saw a car coming, but knew she had time to quickly drive out and get in line in front of him, planning to speed up. That was her plan. Actually, she whizzed out in front of the other guy, got in line, but then the old "tank" began jumping and lurching right in place. It took some doing for Grandma to get the "tank" rolling, but not before annoying the driver behind her, probably making them think, "You raced out into the street just to stop and do the bunny hop right in front of me on this bridge??!"
My Dad had an old dark green car, too, but his was a Packard. He had that thing from the time we were young kids, my brother shown here, about 6 yrs. old and I was about 7. He never bought another one 'til I was all grown up and out of the house. Bev was still at home, so she was there when Dad came home with his big, bright gold Mercury. He was 65 yrs. old and all his life he'd always driven the usual, 'stick shift'. This new Mercury had all the buzzers and whistles, automatic gear-shifting, highly-sensitive power brakes and power steering; all of which he'd never tried, ever. He was so proud of it, that the first thing he did was to take Grandma and Bev for a ride in it. This new car had four doors(!) so Grandma, every bit the lady, decided to take the tour in grande-style and sit in the plush comfort of the back seat. Because there were no seatbelts in those days, she decided to really relax and sit in the middle, where she could unwind and get a good view from all angles. Bev, decided to sit in the front seat for a change, as well. And off they went. Up to the main road, waited for traffic, then turned left onto the bridge, as usual. Then he jammed on the clutch, as in all his years of driving experience, which, in actuality was now a wide highly-sensitive brake pedal, which brought Grandma Up out of the back seat, landing with her right forearm onto the dashboard between Dad and Bev, then as Dad immediately got it corrected, throwing her back into her seat again. "What in the heck are ya doing??" she yelled. Dad, fiddling with knobs, just said, "Oh...I'm not used to all these things yet." They got about another 35 feet along the road, and his instincts kicked in again with the clutch, catapulting Grandma up front to the dashboard once again, then instantly tossing her into the back. Now Grandma was a big woman, so it's a good thing she also had strong arms, because every thirty five feet or so, whenever the need to shift came about, Grandma was launched up outa the back seat, sprawling onto the front dashboard, then dumped unceremoniously into the back again. I don't exactly know at which point the beating began. At some time during one of the brief respites there in the back, Grandma took her white straw purse with the emboidered petite flowers and began walloping Dad on his head with it,yelling, "Don't do ittttt, don't do ittttt.....AGHHHHH!!!!!... Take me home!!! Take me home right...AGHHHHH!!!!..... now!!! Beverly!!! Hand me my hat!!!" Her prim white hat with the faux white roses was now wedged into a corner of the dash, along with her wig which was still attached to it by hair pins. Maybe it was then. The next week when I went to visit, Bev showed me all the black skid marks that went all along East State Street at precise intervals, to Front Street, up to Union Street and back to East State St. then home. Despite the bad start, Dad just loved that car and took a picture of Grandma just as she was getting out of it from her maiden voyage in it sputtering "Fine ride, all I got to see really well was the front dashboard." (She had her hat in her hand when she got out) I don't think she ever set foot in it again and she went back to her trusty green "tank" and drove it 'til she didn't drive anymore. And now to think, that old "tank" would be considered vintage these days and highly prized. Actually, I don't think I'd be ashamed to be seen in 'er nowdays, either. And I think I could handle her...if she'd let me <:-/

7.24.2009

The Bullfrog Invasion

When I was a kid about 12 or so we moved from the Atchafalaya river basin to a little town just north of Baton Rouge. Talk about culture shock for a young bayou boy. Well, what is a Cajun country boy to do in an urban environment? The answer was, to find places to do what he always did, and that's what gives rise to this tale.
It wasn't long before I made friends with the neighborhood boys. I was thrilled to have kids my age living so close and subdivision life was new and wonderful to me. I met a kindred spirit or 2 from the area and we became partners in mischief. One of our favorite summer night pastimes was to go frogging. The Southern bullfrog was very plentyful and easy to catch when I was a kid, and it didn't take long for a young Cajun boy to discover that the canal down the street and the golf course across the field were crawling with big ole bull frogs. The city folk didn't seem to mess with them and they were allowed to proliferate unchecked. It was froggy heaven for us young boys and we spent the summer happily frog hunting every Saturday night. On this particular night a friend and I started frogging by the bridge on the main street of our subdivision, walking the canal 'bout a mile 'til it came to this great big culvert . We crossed the street, ducked under a fence and kept walking along the canal, deep into a field. We were catching a big ole bullfrog every 100 yards or so, so we just kept walking and frogging and swatting skeeters and having fun. Frogs sit at night along the banks of waters, facing the water, watching for minnows and such to pounce on. A full grown bullfrog is a fierce preditor and will even eat small birds outa their nest. Catching the frogs on foot means slogging along muddy banks and that means tough walking. We followed the canal all the way to the big ole pond that fed it, walked around the pond and headed back. By the time we got back to the bridge where we could cross back to our side of the canal, we had a grass sack with maybe 4 or 5 dozen big bullfrogs. It was several miles and dang near dawn when we got home, thoroughly exhausted. After all this we were plumb whooped and in no mood to clean frogs. We were worried about leavin' them in the sack; scared that some cat or other varmint would get to them, so we decided to dump them into my dads huge ole aluminum ice chest. It was a great big thing, 'bout a 120 qt. affair with an aluminum outer shell and plastic lining. We poured the sack of frogs into the ice chest, slammed the lid and then got to thinking, "The ice chest was sealed tight; what if the frogs ran outa air?" We decided to prop the lid of the ice chest open with a small stick and then place a cinder block on top of the lid to weight it down. We were quite proud of our rig and figured the frogs couldn't get out the scant 1/4 inch crack we left; they would get plenty air, and the brick would keep any varmints out of the ice chest.
The sun was begining to cast its golden glow in the morning sky when we went to bed, planning to nap 'til 10 am or so, and then deal with the frogs.
Around 8 A.M. that morning, the door to my bedroom banged open. My Dad hollered at me by what I thought was my first name in them days. "*Damn-it-boy* get outa that bed and come see what a commotion you caused", he bellowed. I yawned stretched and hopped out of bed fully clothed. I had been too tired a few hours ago to remove the short pants and t-shirt I was wearing. I had just kicked my boots off at the door and dove in bed. I stepped out the back door to the biggest commotion my young eyes had ever beheld. Bullfrogs everywhere! Little boys chasing little girls with bullfrogs, dogs barking,cats pawing, moms screaming, all because of bullfrogs. I woulda never believed that a full growed 2 pound bullfrog could skinny through a 1/4" crack, but dang if the majority of them hadn't done just that! It took me for ever to round up all but 1 of those frogs. I got them home and Daddy cleaned them for me, as I chased around the neighborhood rescuing mothers and little sisters from frogs. I say I found all but 1 of them but I aint for sure. Several might have escaped or fell victim to any 1 of the several froggy horrors that they faced upon their escape. The one that did escape we got to know all too well though. He set up shop in a big concrete culvert that ran across the road. The 18" culvert stayed a third full of water most of the time, was full of minnows, tadpoles and crawfish; in short, it was froggy heaven. This frog plagued us all summer. For those of you who have never heard a bullfrog croak, I've included this clip from Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtAdhpTKmgg
Now imagine that sound magnified as if through a megaphone and you will get the idea what this frog sounded like when sounding off from this culvert. It took us all summer to finally root him out of there. Every time we would try to catch him he would hop back to safety into the middle of his own private shelter under the road. (I guess his past experiences had made him 'spooky'.)
All that summer we were sung asleep and awake by a gigantic low bellowing sound echoing from deep inside the culvert. It was one long hot croaky summer.

7.17.2009

The Family's Annual Jambalaya

Boy! Good thing I'm not a newspaper reporter. Our family reunion, or otherwise titled, "Jambalaya" took place, as usual, at Cappy's sister's home almost two weeks ago on the Fourth of July. Still, the memories are ageless. We missed seeing several of our loved ones this year, and if they are reading this: you were asked about SEVERAL times and dearly loved. As the well-worn hope goes, "Maybe next year". We were thrilled to have Cappy and his sister Maria's mother join us, as she recently moved from Granada, Mississippi back to Gonzales. We were concerned about her frail condition, but she seemed to enjoy herself very much.

I have videos...I do have videos, but for some reason, I'm stuck in 'slideshow' mode for the time being. I hope yall don't mind. Speaking of videos, not sure if everyone is aware that we have a lot of videos over on Youtube. Once't ya get there, type in "cappyandpegody"; it should bring you to a pile of 'em. Someplace on the page, you can click to see 'more videos from cappyandpegody', not to be confused with a lot of other crazy videos that will offer to jump out at you if you click on them...they aint ours. Well, all my dancing around the subject isn't getting this slideshow opened for you. So, without further ado (and hope to see you next year): video

7.12.2009

Devouring the Seafood Courtboullion 2009

Hi Yall! What a day it was! (July 3...last week) Life with Cappy when he's off that boat is sometimes so fast-paced, but fun. Some days it feels like I have to hold onto my hat to keep up with him. Now, I know I sound like a broken record, but making slideshows or anything on this computer takes time cuz it always fights me. The same way with the kitchen island or anything. Fight, fight, fight...and whyyyyyy???? They know I'm goina win, so why the battle. So here we have it, the latest Seafood Courtboullion 2009 slideshow fresh off the presses. videoAlthough the computer crashed 11 times in the last few hours, and it ate pictures of friends and neighbors...good pictures, too, and devoured titles I had spent hours putting onto the seafood courtboullion photos that did survive, I'm blogging it while the blogging is good. I do have to thank and apologize to our beautiful neighbors, Sonia, Abby, Maggie, Monica, all of whom brought wonderful desserts, but they...Sonia, Abby, Maggie and Monica's beautiful pictures got 'eaten', almost as quickly as their wonderful bread pudding and chocolate 'mudpie' (I know that's not the right name). Now that's just WRONG!!!
We also have to especially thank our buddies, Sam, Todd and Stephen, who worked like dawgs out in the near 100 degree heat, chopping and dicing meats, etc. for the bbq and Seafood Courtboullion AND the big pot of Jambalaya the next day! The worst part of it is; I don't know if they even got a bite of food for all their labor. If I'm not mistooken, Sam AND Todd had to leave before it was even ready!
I don't know what Cappy and I ever did to deserve friends like these, but Thank God for them all! We also had the honor of having a 'couple of couples' from our local town Forum, which we have mentioned on occasion. Mr. Skip, with his special brand of humor, has made me 'snort coffee' while reading his posts in the morning on the Forum way too many times to mention, so this was our chance to 'get' him. This past week was his and Mrs. Sara's 40th anniversary, so he must be doing something right:-)
And Mr. Bebe` and his wife, Mrs. Hazel...just two of the lovliest people you'll ever find on the face of this earth showed up. We were sooo glad to see them here.
Now as far as the Seafood Courtboullion itself...the potful of seafood and tomato 'gravy', I think the usual flock of buzzards swooped and left nary a quart out of the whole pot. Oh yeah...the whole thing is gone now! :-P

7.02.2009

Drunk Cajun Chickens

Yea I know, they been done to death; old news, a fad that passed. Every cookin' show on da planet has done a segment on this 'redneck' delicacy. This adventure just hadda happen; beer drinkers, bbq, etc. Pretty soon some wiseguy gonna say, "Hey Bubba what ya reckon if'n we..." and das how great cooking things happen. I mean, one night in New Orleans Chef Paul Prudhomme burned a redfish fillet and was too poor and greedy to throw it out and decided to eat it himself. The rest is history, of course das another story. On TV ya usually see someone jam a beer can up a chicken's butt and put it on a grill...give me a break, would a "foodie" be content with that method?? First off, the beer only moistens, like the top 1/3 of the breast that way. Beer cans these days are so flimsy ya can't hardly get one in a chicken, much less remove it when ya finished. With this in mind, some enterprising individuals invented all kinds of beer can cooking thingys to sell. Cast iron high $ doo-hickeys kinda take the "good ole boy" aspect right outa da whole process, don't it? Well anyways, here is how we do it:
-1 large chicken cleaned and patted dry
-Moisten dry chicken with melted butter and hot sauce
-Apply a liberal rubbing of Cajun seasoning, on and in the chicken
-Forget the beer can. Find any good 12 oz. soup can or something. We keep...a couple likely candidates in da cabinet in case we get an "envie"(craving) for drunk chicken.

-Place the can in an aluminum pie pan and fill the can 2/3 of the way with beer. Fill the rest of the way with what ever you like, some suggestions are:Cajun seasoning, butter, wine, liquid crab boil; whatever ya like. -Place the chickens over the cans in the pans. (You may have to preform an 'episotomy' on the chicken to get it to sit comfortably on the can.) -Pour the remaining beer and seasonings into the aluminum pan. I use a cookie sheet to carry the birds to the pit, so it would probably be best to start out with the cookie sheet on the counter, then the pie pan on top of it, etc. -Place the chickens on da pit along with whatever else ya "Q"-in'. Remember, a smokey grill is a terrible thing to waste, and BBQed or smoked meats keep well in the freezer, so we do other meats on da pit alongside our drunk chickens while they are cookin'.
-Check ya chickens every once and awhile and if the pan gets dry pour in some of the beer you drinking. If you are a beer snob use ya buddy's beer while he aint looking, or some coke or water or Peggy's mojito...whatever is handy. Dis aint an exact science; ya gettin' a chicken drunk not dismantling a bomb.


Be patient, sit around and visit with friends and check every half hr. or so to see if the chickens or ya friend needs more to drink.You can invest in one of those fancy BBQ temperature gadgets, or when the chickens look done, ya can grab a wing and twist. When it comes apart easily and the meat is fallin off the bone, it's done.

We woulda showed ya the pretty finished product 'cept when I took 'em offn da pit they were missin' 3 outa 4 wings. :-)