His Eye is on the Rosette Spoonbill Tuesday, Aug 30 2016 

floodFifteen inches in less than a daze.
Ditches, ponds, coulees, and fields awash.
As in Noah’s day,
a swollen, sullen tide covers streets and fields:
The watery curse on a gray,  fallen world spreads away.

Now the day after . . .
No rainbow.

But!
As His eye is on the sparrow,
So the Rosette Spoonbills,
Graceful birds who forage in pink
amid the bounty of nature’s flood.
Disaster to man, nurture to nature.

So  despair not:
He who cares for the Rosette Spoonbill
cares for me
With grace deeper than the flood.

What lies beyond the end of the road? Hyperbole! Saturday, Aug 27 2016 

end

I rejoiced to discover this declaration posted at the end of a driveway just beyond the parking lot at a local strip mall, alerting me to the hazard that lies beyond the road’s terminus.  Why, without this emblem’s counsel and guidance, I may have foolishly driven from the smooth pavement into the inhospitable brush, even into a mud-ridden ditch that runs just beyond, resulting in calamitous damage to my vehicle and bodily harm to my person!  But mercifully and propitiously, some noble fellow anticipated the threat to mine and other wayfarers’ safety in those frightful hazards beyond the road’s end—-he posted this life-and-property-saving pronouncement in the name and for the purpose of humanity, man’s finest impulse to preserve life, limb, and property in his fellow creature’s interest.  Hooray for man.

Jammin’ US 190 Tuesday, Aug 16 2016 

A couple of Interstate Highways and fifty or so years ago, US 190 through Eunice, Louisiana, was an important thru-route from Baton Rouge to Texas.  I remember coming through here as a kid (cerca 1962) when the highway was only two lanes.

Of course, Interstate 10 changed the travelscape enormously so that 190 has become  a regional highway rather than  a major cross-country route.

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Two traffic signal cycles to grind through an intersection in downtown Eunice?  Unheard of until  traffic “daze” such as these.

Except, of course, when I-10 has to be shut down for an emergency such as the great Flood of 2016.  The swollen Mermentau River Basin began flooding the Interstate south of here a couple of days ago, so all that voluminous traffic is being diverted to a 50+ mile stretch of 190 from Kinder to Opelousas.  We’re right in the middle of the detour here in Eunice.

The result?  Rumbling, long-haul eighteen-wheelers stacked up and backed up at  every traffic light across the four or five mile stretch of  the city limits.  The only other time I recall such traffic in Eunice was during the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, which shut down segments of I-10 in similar fashion.

I suppose there’s a benefit, since many of those travelers spend money here for gasoline and food.  Meanwhile, we locals know to stay off the main drag.  If we have to cross to the other side of town, there are traffic lights from one end of town to the other, and we can get to just about anywhere using the back streets.   Our hearts to go out to those frustrated travelers, though.  Many of them are probably fussin’ and cussin’ the name of our city as they grind their way through the intersections.  I hope some of them will come back one day when traffic is normal to gain a better  impression of our hospitable country-Cajun small town.

The Flood of 2016: A Marker for My Generation Sunday, Aug 14 2016 

Three trips into the attic to stem the dripping tide yesterday  painfully reminded me of muscles I haven’t thought about in years. 12 + inches [of rain] are enough!

Our grandparents marked the epic flood of 1927 as their high water mark—-no pun intended; our generation will mark the flood of 2016 as our  flood epic.  The ’27 flood was big-river flooding, mainly–the Mississippi and its tributaries.  But the ’16 flood rose  from torrential rain.  We’re astounded

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Simply too much rain!

at the number of people in our locale, for example,  whose homes took on water from rain-induced street flooding with nary a stream nor bayou nearby.

I also believe that the territorial extent of the ’16 flood surpasses the 1927 flood.  From the Pearl River on the east, almost to the Sabine River on the west, the ’16 deluge washed across all of south Louisiana with sensational effect.

From the Cajun Prairie to the Rocky Mountains: A License to Geaux! Thursday, Aug 11 2016 

I took this pic of my Cajun daughter’s Colorado license tag last June when we  visited Greeley and the mountains on vacation.  The plate is mounted on the  Camry we bought in 2005 from Courvelle Toyota in Opelousas—-it’s a very Cajun Camry!IMG_0501

But here it is way up yonder in the Rocky Mountain state.  I’m proud when I look at the photo now, but also a little bit lonely.  That car always looked just fine in Baton Rouge with a Louisiana license plate.

But we—-kids and parents both—- grow up and move on.  At least those folks in Colorado see some purple and gold and know that Louisianians are proud folks.  We love our state and we love our kids who grow up and move away.

Geaux, Tigers!

Mom’s Turn on our son’s birthday Thursday, Aug 4 2016 

Sarah posted this piece on Facebook this morning.  I thought the piece deserved a wider audience and a place to preserve it, so with her permission, here it is, in words that only a mom can express.

It was April 1982 and what I thought was a routine 6 month visit to my obstetrician, suddenly was anything but, when I unexpectedly heard him say, “If you want and expect to keep this baby, you’ll have to go home immediately, call your employer and tell him you 13901597_10210275315897905_5100104859547092303_nwon’t be back, and go to bed – that’s laying flat on your back, feet propped up on pillows and you’re allowed to be up 1 hour a day and that equals all your trips to the bathroom in a 24 hr. time period. I was shocked, (I felt fine) but, replied I would give my employer 2 wks. notice, and my Dr. corrected me and said, “No, you don’t understand, if you want keep this baby, you call them TONIGHT and say you won’t be returning.”

I followed Dr.’s orders and am so forever grateful for my husband, and my parents who took such loving care of me for the next 3 months. Although the time seemed like an eternity, I tried to busy myself with activity. I read, watched tv, did needlepoint, crochet, crossword puzzles and anything else I could think of to pass the time…. flat on my back.

All this to say… Was it worth it? No question! Zachary Christian Pulling was born Aug. 4, 1982- 3 wks. late (my mom always said it was a true answer to prayer because God had “sealed him inside” so very “snuggly” that he just wasn’t in any rush to enter the world.
I prayed then that God would just give me the chance to show him the world and to hold his hand. I wanted to be his mom and I wanted to show him what it meant to be loved. I hope I’ve done that.

I thank God for the gift of being his mom.
Happy birthday Zach!
I love you!❤️

The Grandparent as Teacher: The older I get . . . Wednesday, Aug 3 2016 

the younger they look.

When I began teaching, elementary students looked like little kids, junior high students looked like middle-sized kids,  high school students looked like big kids, and college students looked like young adults.  I was middle-aged, and the world appeared as it should appear.

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The  glow of youth grows ever-so charming as years go by.

About fifteen years or so later, as my own kids grew into adolescence, I began to notice  that lower-grade school-kids seemed to be growing younger-looking.  For example,  driving by the local junior high school, I found that  middle-school students  looked like little kids, more like elementary students.  That was weird.

Add five years to the story, as my own kids grew into young adulthood and latter -adolescence, moving on from high school to college: in those days, whenever I visited a high school, I was struck by how much the high school students looked less and less like teens and more and more like little kids.

Another five or ten years, a grandparent by now, living in a child-less empty-nest and approaching retirement age, often as I walked the hallways of the classroom building on the college campus where I worked, the next progression in this developmental phase of aging appeared: now, the college students that used to look like young adults looked oh-so-childlike and immature.

Not long thereafter,  I retired.  I figured that the college students’  regression was the final phase I’d observe.

But not so fast: At a parent meeting a few days ago at the high school where my post-retirement gig is going on, I looked around the room at the faces of moms and dads of high school students.  They looked like kids!

What’s next in the onslaught of advancing years?  I’d rather not imagine.

Marley’s New Leash on Life Saturday, Jul 30 2016 

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All hooked up, ready to go!

When Marley the Dog sees his leash, he comes unglued with excitement.  That dog would rather go for a walk than eat, seemingly.

For my birthday, his Aunt Becky sent him a new leash, colored purple and gold to present the colors of Marley’s favorite college football team, the LSU Tigers.

And, since Marley has natural black and gold markings in his coat, he’s got his loyalty to the New Orleans Saints covered, too.

Yes, when Marley goes out now, he goes in complete fanship.

July 26: Happy Oyster Day Tuesday, Jul 26 2016 

Sarah and I observed year five in the birthday oyster tradition today at the Frog City Travel Plaza on Interstate 10 about 23 miles down the road from home.  Here’s the running summary of birthday oyster venues:

2012 Fezzo’s Restaurant in Scott, La.
2013 D.C.’s in Eunice, La.
2014 New Orleans Food and Spirits, Covington, La.
2015 Acme Oyster House, Baton Rouge, La.
2016 Frog City Travel Plaza, Rayne, La.

Where will we have oysters next year? We’ll see!  The only rule is that it must be a different venue from year to year, so we won’t be at any of the restaurants above.

Here’s a picture of today’s decadent fare in Rayne.  (I behaved a little–I got the veggie side when I could have had French fries.)

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Like the old New Orleanians used to say, “Eat fish, live longer; eat oysters, love longer.”  This day every year, we opt for love.

Friday Night Song of Feliciana Sunday, Jul 24 2016 

We got back this afternoon from our weekend escape to St. Francisville.  Sitting on the front porch of the Printer’s Cottage B&B Friday night inspired the sentiment below.

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A front porch swing on a summer night down south provides a front row seat for nature’s symphonic best.

Listening
to the serenade
of a mass choir
of noisy crickets
from the Bayou Sara bottom below,
chirping the Friday night song
of the Felicianas.
Vacation is the natural state of man.

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