The Generation Before: Living Libraries of Our Lore Friday, Mar 24 2017 

We visited yesterday afternoon with Sarah’s Nonc Roger, who celebrates his 92nd birthday this weekend.  As a repository of tales and family lore, he is the surviving pièce de résistance.  As he spun tale after tale from his rich reserve of memoirs, I thought of an LPB piece last week when a folklorist spoke of the older generation, suggesting that every time one of them passes on, it’s like a library filled with unduplicated records and files burning to the ground.  The contents of that library are lost forever.  What a tragedy!

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Joyeux fêtes, Nonc Roger.

We were fascinated as he spun tale after tale from the bygone generation of his youth.

A highlight was his recount of  having a tooth pulled with NO anesthetic when he was 8 or 9 years old. I realized how many interesting tales our parents’ generation has to share and how much our generation needs to remember.

I only hope that our minds have the capacity to remember so much.  We must be as busy remembering and preserving our  legacies for our children at the same time.

So much to remember, so much to cherish!

Patio Dwelling and the Doctrine of Space Saturday, Mar 18 2017 

A trait of the human condition is to occupy comfortable spaces and, over time, to fill those spaces with  aesthetic appointments that contribute to our comfort: pleasing accoutrements such as accent furniture, frilly decorations, appliances, curios, jingly-jangly hanging things, etc etc.  After a few years, of course, the living space loses its aesthetic charm as accumulation transforms the  space into clutter: all of those charming accoutrements gradually assume the aspect of junk.

So what does man do to get rid of the clutter and junk when the space runs out of space?  Why, of course, he doesn’t get rid of stuff.  He enlarges the space so the stuff can spread out once again into a pleasing array of aesthetic accoutrements.  And to boot, with the enlarged space, he renews his industry of adding and accumulating  accoutrements of comfort, now that he has space.

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Out of space?  No problem: Add a 10’X10′ extension to the slab and cover with aluminum: Instant Space for patio dwelling!

Salisbury Cathedral in Blank Verse Friday, Mar 10 2017 

This morning I observed an English IV class at Notre Dame High School in Crowley.  For their bell work, the students were using Romantic era pieces of art as prompts for writing narrative.  I googled “romantic art”and came up with this early 19th century painting of Salisbury Cathedral in England.  Since I’m doing Shakespeare with my classes at St. Ed’s, blank verse (unrhymed lines of imabic pentameter) was on my mind, so I decided to craft my piece in blank verse.  I finished this piece in about ten minutes and when the teacher asked if anyone wanted to share, I shared, naturally.  (Sometimes I write to show off, I admit).  Here’s the blank verse setting, with the painting of Salisbury Cathedral.

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Morbid, dark and ponderous clouds sail aloft
Over  gaunt Salisbury Cathedral.
Is this dreary structure sanctuary
for holy grace? A balm in Gilead?
Or rather some frightsome dwelling place
For disturbing spirits loosed from Hades?
But hope and praise! Beyond the smokey clouds
In the eastern sky, behold heav’ns rainbow!
God’s bright promise overrules the darkness.
Hie me thence into His marvelous light!

PaPere Tales from L’anse Bourbeuse Sunday, Mar 5 2017 

Our visit with Mark Savoy last Wednesday when I got my new accorion yielded a tale Mark remembered about Sarah’s grandfather, Noé Young, affectionately known by her and her  cousins as PaPère.  The words that follow are Sarah’s, borrowed here with her permission.  The “You” she addresses refers to numerous cousins she shared this tale with a few days ago.  The picture below shows PaPère (in khakis) with Sarah’s Nonc Earl in the early 1940’s.

You may have already heard this one, but, here’s the story Mr. Mark  remembers vividly about PaPère. He said he always remember PaPère wearing his bib overalls and said his dad, Joel, and PaPère and a few others frequently fished together on the bayou.  It was their habit to eat there as well.  PaPère was almost always the designated cook. It was their habit that everyone bring their own plate to eat.  Mark’s dad, Joel, told Mark that PaPère ALWAYS img_9899“forgot” 😉 to bring his plate and would be forced to eat out of the pot he cooked in. Mr.  Joel laughingly told Mark since PaPère liked his own cooking, he left his plate on purpose so no one could see how much he ate!

L’accordéon neuf Friday, Mar 3 2017 

Hier, j’ai acheté un accordéon Cajun neuf.  Je suis beaucoup fière!  L’instrument était fabrique par l’accordéoniste bien-connu, Marc Savoy de Eunice, Louisiane.  Pour des années, j’admirai ses accordéons et sa musique. Aujourd’hui, je rente dans la tradition mème.

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M. Savoy et moi: Le moment heureux!

Spring 2017: Earlier Than Ever Monday, Feb 27 2017 

Spring weather always comes before the official spring season along the Gulf Coast because of our sub-tropical climate.  But what will make this year’s spring so memorable is that spring came waaaaaaaay too early.  Azaleas, for example, began blooming in late January.  In my 64 years in these parts, I don’t remember ever seeing azalea blossoms that early.  We used to think mid-February blooms were an early-season oddity.

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Marley the Dog loves spring transplanting, too, because the upturned soil is full of tasty grub worms.

No complaints here, though.  We used this first day of our Mardi Gras holiday to plant and transplant shrubs.  The 80 degree weather  this afternoon was more like April than late February, so we perspired a little.  But I’ll take that, too.  For my taste, balm is better than cold!

Humble Rewards of the Profession: Seniority? Friday, Feb 24 2017 

My school’s accreditation review team visited this week. As they introduced themselves Wednesday evening at a dinner reception, each cited her years of tenure in the educational profession.

One noted 29 years.  Another 32 years.  The next 28 years.  And so on and so forth.

I didn’t say anything, but my count is 37 years.  I’ve been around the block more than any of them.  (And all bias aside, if I say so myself, most of them looked older than me!)

So what a blessing!  Thirty-seven years of any kind of work  is laudable, but all those years fulfilling a life’s calling leads to more of the humble rewards.

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Teaching young people keeps me “young.”

I praise God for the gift of longevity in the profession.

Let the Patio Dwelling Begin . . . Sunday, Feb 19 2017 

In South Louisiana, truly, any season can be patio dwelling season, even during the dead of winter, because Gulf Coast winters often wax mild, global warming nothwithstanding.

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Outdoor TV is a sign of patio dwelling times. Bring on spring!

So this mild weekend past.  The mid-February temps touched 80 degrees Saturday and Sunday.  We took full advantage, grilling and chilling with the TV on the patio Saturday afternoon.

Shorts and tee-shirts forever in the land where patio dwelling is a year-long pursuit!

Wind Chill Thursday, Feb 16 2017 

This piece came from a sensory exercise outside St. Anthony’s Church on a wind-chilly morning in early February.  Beautiful sun, bone-chilling north wind: Brrrrr!

img_0863Glorious sunshine: Inviting, beaming brightly through puffy white clouds under the blue heaven of a mid-winter morning.

But no!  No sooner does my sun-sick fancy revel at the morning’s brightness than a north-borne gust of bitter chill invades the sun-swept space, agitating Live Oak branches nearby and dispelling the cozy warmth.  Sunlight’s charm and cheer cannot oppose the chilling breeze’s rude assault.

Dejected, I retire indoors to wait for the balm of spring.

When Nothing Works: An Episode with Mother Nature and the Un-Marvels of Meds Saturday, Feb 11 2017 

Sneezing, snotting, coughing, snorting, sleepless nights: Enough!

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Nothing works!

A doctor’s visit three days ago  provided  no relief for a viral affliction that is so far impervious to the pharmaceutical advances of modern medicine.  Antihistamines are impotent; the body’s mucous-producing power overwhelms the prescribed decongestants with an ever-oozing flow of sludgy snot; the dry-as-dust, nagging cough  mocks  the efficacy of the most renowned suppressants and expectorants.

I thought it was just “me,”  but when I went to the pharmacy this morning, the friendly lady behind the counter chuckled when I explained to the pharmacist that the doctor’s remedies were not working.  She told me, “Oh, yes, that’s what’s going around now.  Everybody who comes in tells us the same thing: nothing works.”

Hearing that didn’t make me feel any better.  Mother Nature, as usual, is just having her way, and there’s not much I can do about it except sneeze, snot, cough, snort, and toss and turn at night.

 

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