Weather Channel Fatigue in Cindy’s “Daze” Friday, Jun 23 2017 

Browsing through the almost-ten–year history of Inventio posts, I recently observed how  tropical weather events were much more common in the early years.  Attending that observation is the reflection that Providence has blessed us in the last several years with

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How many hours of tropical storm ad nausea can the soul endure?

very quiet, even boring hurricane seasons.

So Tropical Storm Cindy came on stage earlier this week and disrupted the tranquility of summer vacation as the storm developed, evolved, came, and went—-all within the space of four or five relatively uneventful days.  The problem with storms, of couse, is that we can never breathe that sigh of uneventful reflief until the storm has run its course; as a result, our hearts labor for days under nail-biting stress and anxious drama because we know and respect the storm’s potential to make our lives miserable (or worse!).

Gratefully,  Cindy never amounted to much more than a disheveled, oversized bag of blustery wind and rain—-an ugly, grouchy  hag, but more aggravating than dangerous.  Much woe that the meterologists predicted failed to materialize, so our stressful hours glued to the Weather Channel’s ad nauseum reporting  ended in anticlimax.

Of course, no one is complaining.  June storms are rare, and since we’ve had no storms to concern us for years, I realized how much our storm preparation instincts and reflexes had grown dull from lack of use.  Thank God we didn’t really need them this time, but at least they got a workout.  A long 2017 tropical season is yet to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day Entree: Ice Cream Monday, Jun 19 2017 

19366450_10212994588320807_7741310524283892658_nOur fathers both LOVED ice cream. In their loving memory this Father’s Day, Sarah and I had homemade ice cream for supper.

Yes, ice cream as entree.  No veggies, no whole grain proteins, no meat.   Just rich, pure, creamy, unadorned vanilla ice cream.  I even had seconds.

We know they’d be proud that we would remember them in this tasty fashion. So to them looking down from heaven,

“Happy Father’s Day, and thanks for the excuse for this simple indulgence.  The ice cream was awesome.  We wish y’all were here!”

 

 

 

 

 

“His Eye is on the Sparrow”: The Birds of Summer ’17 Wednesday, Jun 14 2017 

Doves, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Sparrows, and Purple Martins: regular visitors in the back yard this season since Sarah set up a feeder and started putting out bird seed.19105879_10213533296625387_8319269636479287081_n

I’m amazed at how tame our feathery friends seem.  They’re not the least bit skittish, and even Marley-the-renowned-bird-slayer of bygone years seems relatively disinterested in their flitting ins-and-outs to feed and to splash in the back-yard bird bath.

Each summer season for all the  years I’ve blogged has contributed one or more unique and memorable highlight.  I’m certain that the friendly birds of summer 2017 will go down on that highlight record for this season.

“His eye is on the sparrow.”  And so is ours!

When I am two and ninety, a’shopping I will go! Monday, Jun 12 2017 

Usually, I hate going to WalMart.  But watching my 92 year old mother ambling up and down the aisles at the WalMart Super Center a couple of weeks ago was a treat.  She’s neither as sure nor as fleet afoot as she was in her prime, but she hangs on to that shopping cart and rolls!  During this excursion, she covered the store’s floor plan practically from one end to the other, and she never once complained about being tired.

Actually, I think she thrives on shopping.  And on this day  she took advantage of shopping with family who could help her unload and haul in her stash when she got back to the apartment.  She left the store with quite a haul!  (When the apartment staff brings the residents in the courtesy van, the old folks have to lug  their own bags up to their rooms, so Mama’s careful not to buy more goods than she  can manage—-to a  shopping-lover, what a disincentive!)

Anyway, we had an entertaining outing.  When (or if) I attain two-and-ninety, I should hope to do as well.

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How many women 90+ still have their natural hair color (naturally natural, I mean)?

Louisiana Byways: The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Tuesday, Jun 6 2017 

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The world’s longest bridge: This was our anniversary route.  The original two-lane span conducts  southbound traffic.  In the 1960s, a twin span was constructed just to the left of this original span to conduct the northbound traffic.

We crossed the Causeway last weekend on our New Orleans anniversary date trip.  I don’t cross the bridge all that often since I live in another part of the State now, but I’ll never forget the bridge’s opening in 1957 as the longest bridge (24 miles) in the world.  What an engineering feat that bridge’s construction represented in that era!

I remember as a five or six year old youngster Mama loading us kids up in the station wagon to make the exciting trip across the Lake to shop at the brand new Lakeside Mall in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie.  Our sleepy little resort town of Covington now had speedy access to the goods and services of the City.  A process of development began for Mandeville and Covington that continues to date, transforming the once-rural north shore into a  suburban extension of Greater New Orleans.

Over the years, the excitement of the trip wore out.  After all, how long can a straight-shot of 24 miles of the repetitious scene of water spreading away to the far reaches of the horizon entertain one’s fancy?  I remarked to Sarah on the day of this trip how soon I’d go crazy if I had to make that two-way boring passage day after day like so many commuters do every day of the work-week.

Nonetheless, I’m glad I get the opportunity once or twice every couple of years to visit the bridge.  Crossing the Causeway revives pleasant childhood memories.  The bridge is not just  a byway from Covington to New Orleans—-It’s a byway to my past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Office Hours Thursday, Jun 1 2017 

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Our recently-enlarged patio provides the most suitable summer office space for the business at hand.

School ended officially a week ago, so I’ve had several days this week to establish a summer routine.  I’ve decided to keep unofficial office hours (unofficial since I will not feel obligated to keep them if I ever feel like it).

Except for inclement weather or oppressive heat/humidity, the patio living space will serve as the office.  Here’s the weekday routine:

6:30 or 7:00 until 8:00 or 8:30: Coffee/TV news time.

8:00 or 8:30-9:00 or 9:30: Out-of-office for jogging.

9:30 or so until noonish: Outdoor chores.

Noonish until 7:00ish: Out of office.

7:00ish and/or until mosquitoes come out: Evening office hours.

That routine is subject to unannounced daily or even momentary variations and deviations, of course.  This is summer vacation, and my job now is to tend most joyfully and seriously to the business of doing what I want when I want, insofar as those wants coincide with the interests of the household.

The Brunch Buffet Par Excellence: The 40th Anniversary Date Venue Monday, May 29 2017 

Forty years: We made it yesterday, and so we celebrated with a date weekend to the New Orleans area, highlighted by Sunday morning brunch at the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant in the French Quarter.  I’ll compose this piece mainly as a photo essay, since sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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We discovered this Royal Street restaurant 20 or so years ago, and it’s been a New Orleans go-to place for us ever since.  This 40th anniversary date was our fifth or sixth visit over the years.

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The “jazz” brunch comes from a live jazz ensemble that plays in the background.

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Our choice is always the open-air courtyard.  Well, not exactly open air, because a leafy canopy of vines sprawls over the courtyard, providing deep shade.  The ambiance is classy, romantic, and oh-so-New Orleans.

Humble Rewards of the Profession: The Granddaughter Has It! Tuesday, May 23 2017 

18700748_10155359983107888_7936898281869691341_oSarah and I were delighted this evening to hear the reports of our third grade granddaughter’s Huntsville Elementary Awards Day ceremony.  Our little straight-A girl shined!  Happy Papa-the-writer couldn’t be prouder that among her recognitions was the Aspiring Author Award.  Maybe she’s a chip off the old creative writer block!

I’m not surprised at all, because since she was a toddler, she showed imagination and creativity.  As a teacher and writer, I can tell those who have “it” and those who don’t.

Payton Elizabeth HAS IT!

Write on, Payton!

I can’t wait to see what bright promise lies ahead as she grows and develops her gifts.

Cajun Girls and Black Pot Magic Tuesday, May 16 2017 

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Smothered okra with chicken thighs and sausage: Distinctly Cajun!

I always tell my son and my son-in-law that the happiest decision they ever made was to marry a Cajun girl. I did!

One of the blessings of marrying Cajun happens in the kitchen, often with a cured black cast iron pot.  Such pots are common to other regional cuisines in the Deep South and elsewhere, but prairie Cajuns have unique black pot dishes.

Like smothered okra with chicken and sausage.  I grew up in the rural Deep South, and growing up, I ate my share of okra—-mostly fried—-but this dish is Cajun!  Sarah learned the recipe from her mom, who sometimes varied the recipe by adding shrimp.

I hadn’t tasted this delicacy in several years—-maybe more—–so when Sarah prepared it yesterday, we had an exciting and tasty culinary visitation with the past.

In conclusion: Cajun girls do it right.

Blessed Mother’s Day Saturday, May 13 2017 

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A photo of the family a couple of years ago.  Mama’s still there, and she looks just about the same!

It’s the eve of Mother’s Day 2017, and I just got off the phone with my 91 year old Mama, wishing her a happy Mother’s Day.

At my age, I’m blessed that she is alive and still living independenly, enjoying relatively good health, even though she just had gall bladder removal surgery.    She’s tough!

Almost all of my peers are not so blessed.  Their moms are gone.

To God be the glory!  And the gratitude.

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