A Pain in the Neck

Well, I s'pose I should let yall know why I haven't been posting of late. Cappy calls it the new cabinet syndrome. Last August, I knelt down to pick up some shredded papers that the dawgs had delightfully made out of something or other, and when I stood up, I bashed the crown of my head smack onto the edge of the cupboard that's built in just over the kitchen wastebasket. I almost knocked myself out, seeing stars and wondered how I was still standing. I guess I have a hard head anyhow; when Cappy and I were in a car accident about 8 years ago, while the truck was rolling over and over, on the last roll, I broke out the side window with my head. I didn't lose consciousness at all, even tho' they had to use the jaws of life to cut me out of the truck. My Mom used to call me bull-headed because I can be stubborn, I guess, but mayhaps the term isn't all that off base, given the circumstances.
Sooo, when I had conked my head last summer, it bothered my neck some. I got over it. But, a couple of months ago, I banged my head on another low shelf in the bathroom, but this time I heard a definite crunch in my neck and it's been bothering me ever since. When I'm standing up, it's fairly ok, but when I'm exhausted and lie down to take a nap or try to sleep at night, that's when all 'hayo' breaks loose, so I get up, sit up straight on the couch and try sleeping that way. I went to the dr. and got an anti-inflamatory, after a standing ex-ray, and he said it was just a touch of arthritis. (I thought I should have been lying down to show him what happens when I do that; to get a more accurate ex-ray of the injury, but he said nope.) I'm still having problems sleeping, and thus not feeling as though I could do this blog any justice by anything I posted.
In the interim, Cappy's cousin Suzy has a blog where she writes wonderful thoughts and recipes and has gorgeous photos. She's amazingly talented in so many ways. She loves to cook and garden, so the name of her blog is Kitchen Bouquet. She has a gazillion readers and subscribers. Here is her link, if you are interested. http://kitchenbouquet.blogspot.com/
I know you'll love it. I just hope you don't get so hooked on cousin Suzy that you forget about us! (:-p) You can always get the link at the top of our blog that will let you know when we post anything new.
Meanwhile, I'm goina contact that dr. to see what else we can do. Mebbe a pair of longer legs. Or higher shelves....but right now I keep hearing that darned Randy Newman song running through my head about 'Short People'.
While I'm 'getting my head back on straight', I'm not gonna let this get me down; I'm going to keep looking up...for SO many reasons.


This Years Boudin Making Gang

Me and a bunch of friends got together and made a bunch of boudin and hog head cheese and had a great day having fun.I have made the title of this post the link to a slideshow/video we put on youtube for your enjoyment. Just click on the title to watch it. It was a great day enjoying some cajun traditions. Hope ya enjoy the show.


The "Come Back Inn"

Our good friends Sam and Louise stopped by this afternoon to visit, and like most wonderful adventures, next thing we knew, we were sitting in one of me and Peg's favorite lil diners called the 'Come Back Inn'. It's one of those lil 'come as you are' neighborhood diner places, with a distinctive South Louisiana flair. The kinda place ya order, pay and wait for ya number to be called, while sipping on huge glasses of serve ya-self sodas or tea and cold local beers. Sam and I perused the menu while the Girls tanked up their glasses with tea and rootbeer.
I had a wonderful hamburger po-boy in crispy, chewy french bread, Peggy had a huge grilled chicken salad, Louise had a cup of seafood gumbo and friend shrimp and catfish, and Sam decided on the fried soft-shelled crab.
Fried soft shelled rab is one of those things that look like if ya don't watch it, it could crawl off ya plate. They fry the whole crab, legs and all.The beer was cold, the food was good, and as we left, Sam remarked to the waitress, "Don't worry, we will come back in." We were treated to a wonderful sunset drive over the swamp on the way home. A perfect ending to a wonderful spur-of-the-moment afternoon outing. Thank God for friends like Sam and Louise; good friends to laugh with, and who are usually always ready to join in our hair-brained adventures.


Smoke Balls Part Deux

Several years ago I got Peg a "hi-def" video camera for Christmas. We weren't sure how to use it when we took it outa da box, so we went outside, and just for the sake of filmin' somethin', Peg filmed me rollin' some smoke balls down the driveway. We took our film inside, loaded it onto the computer and watched it. Yep, the camera worked, and it took as good a picture as it could of the subject it was pointed at. So now what??? We decided to try signing up for Youtube so we could make lil videos to share with you, our readers, family etc. Well, here it is 2 years later and that silly video of me chucking smoke balls is by far our most popular video......... go figure. Since then, we have worked hard trying to make slideshows and blend videos, and none of our best efforts get the views that first very amatuerish attempt that we made with a camera fresh outa da wrapping paper. With this in mind we decided to do it again this Christmas. Because of getting the new computer up and runnin', it's taken me awhile to actually post about it, but here it is, months later, smoke ball video fans, click and we hope ya enjoy. It's just me being ma ole self playing with fire.


A Fish Story: The One That Almost Got Away.

(photo of a typical alligator garfish)
When I was a kid, I had this 12 ft. wooden pirouge-style boat that my Paw-paw made for me outa plywood scraps and stuff he had laying around. He always was a packrat with piles of wood, etc. etc. leaning up against his shed. The boat was a sickly bright green, slathered with paint that was left over in old paint buckets he had rescued from the oil field where he worked. I think the 47 coats of paint, which he periodically spread on it, is what held it together and kept the li'l boat almost dry inside. I wish I knew how many miles I paddled that thing around the bayous 'til it finally got trashed when I was about 12 years old. (another story) Anyways, this time of the year we usta wait 'til we saw the big "gars" rolling on top of the water in the bay by the house. When we did, I'd paddle out and throw some lines. We used some willow logs 'bout 2 inches in diameter by 2-3 feet long for floats. We tied a fishing line to one end of the 'logs' and a li'l bright colored cloth to the other end, so it was easy to see. The line had a big brass swivel snap with a loop on it, and the line went down into the water about five feet deep. Typically, we baited with pumpkin seed shad, or dead shiners. (We kept shiners, but that's another story.) When a gar would take the bait, the loop would tighten around his top jaw, and as he tried to swim away, the log would stand up, waving the bright 'flag' (cloth) behind him. I'd be sitting in the shade, watching the dozen or so lines, 'logs' and flags that we had all set up, and when one would try to swim off, I'd paddle out, get him, bring him back near shore. I'd pull his head in over the side of the boat, give him a whack with a li'l pipe I had for that purpose, then drag him in onto a bed of moss I had picked fresh and was all ready for him, in da boat. The moss was a disposable lining, if ya will, to protect the horrid green bottom of my boat from becoming encrusted with bloody fish slime...made cleanup a lot easier, too.
Now a couple of years earlier, one lazy Summer afternoon when I was only about ten years old, I sat up on a long branch of my favorite big live oak tree, that leaned way out over the bayou and was practicing on the first harmonica I ever had, and watching the logs bobbing on the bay. Paw-paw was heading for the fish table with his fish cleaning knives in a big dishpan. As he passed by, he hollared at me, "T-Ray! Pay attention!! One of yo logs just took off heading' down da bayou!" I looked up from my cheap, banana-shaped souvenier Six Flags harmonica and sure enough, there was one of my logs, moving so fast it was leaving a wake as it sped down the bayou. I ran down the tree, jumped in da boat and paddled after it in hot pursuit. The fish went deep around the big bend of the bayou almost out of sight, so I 'cut the point', padding furiously, took a short-cut through the swamp and came out into the bayou again, just ahead of him. My short-cut set me up so I could snatch the log as it came sailing by and throw it over the stern of my little boat. I had a notch carved in the stern of my boat where the string always fit. With the log in the boat, and the string in the notch up there in the stern, I could tow the bigger fish along as I paddled back to the fish cleaning table, where Paw-paw was cleanin' the other fish and waitin' on me. It was a good plan and it had always worked before.
Well, this time when I snatched da log outa da water, threw it in the boat behind me and notched the line, (a practiced manuver, all done in one smooth, quick flip) but the line snapped tight with a hard jerk, and instead of me pulling him, there I went being towed backwards down the bayou by the fish! I knew he would tire eventually, so I didn't fight him; I let him take me for a ride. Finally, about a mile later, we slowed to a stop, so I grabbed a paddle and started rowing and easing my way back home. The big gar let me tow him back, only occasionally tugging me back down the bayou a little ways. Eventually, I made it all the way back around the bend, with the fish grudgingly following along, and started approaching the bank, where Paw-paw was waiting. I got to within 5 ft or so of the landing when the fish got the idea he didn't wanna be dragged to the bank and bagan thrashing mightly and pulling my boat, with me in it, back out into the deep water. That was the first time I had seen his massive tail and it plum scared da bajezzes outa me! I hollared at Paw-paw, telling him da fish won't let me get to the bank. By now my shoulders hurt and I was drenched head to toe with sweat, and fishing wasn't fun anymore.
There we were, locked in a tug-of-war, and what with me and Paw-paw hollaring at each other, we soon drew a small crowd of neighbors and a couple of fishers, who happened by. They all stood on the bank shoutin', "Come on boy, paddle!!" while I struggled to tow the fish in. I'd get close to the bank and the ol' boys would lean out, trying to grab the bow of the boat, but just as their fingers would reach the boat, the fish would drag me back out into the deep. This went on for quite some time, until Paw-paw got impatient and waded in after me. He latched one of his big ol' burly hands on the bow of my little boat, leaned way back and dragged me, the boat, the fish...the whole lah-lah up onto the bank. I was wore out, but da fish was caught. He was right at 6 feet long, and had to weigh over a hundred lbs. It was 20 years later before I ever saw the likes of that fish again, but das another story. (and just so ya know, while this aint me, I wanted ya to know that I wasn't exaggeratin' about the size they can get to.)

One Fine Day

I was east bound in the intracoastal waterway one morning, approaching the town of Larose, LA, when I was blessed to witness this beautiful sunrise. It filled me with such a joy that I wanted to share my thoughts with a kindred spirit, so I called my friend, Skip. Skip is a fellow nature lover and we had a nice visit that morning and a rambling conversation. He mentioned a recent trip he'd had to Grand Isle, LA and commented on all the pelicans he had seen. Imagine my surprise when later that day while waiting for the Harvey locks, this pelican landed on the barge.
I watched him as he waddled towards the stern of the barge,

where he was met by a friend. They sat there for quite a while just like kindred spirits themselves, before flying off, just adding to the magic of an already good day.

It came as no surprise to me that the day would end with this beautiful sunset over the city of New Orleans. It was the only fitting end to one fine day.