The Last Prom Saturday, Mar 31 2007 

Tonight we come to the last dance for the Class of 2007.

Before the escort arrived . . .

prom-afternoon.jpg

prom-date.jpgAnd after the escort arrived.

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Beginnings of Endings: Senior Night for the Lady Cats Thursday, Mar 29 2007 

It’s that time of year for those of us with seniors–“beginnings of endings,” I like to call it.   We lost tonight’s game to Sam Houston, but we enjoyed watching our kids play perhaps their last home softball game ever (unless we make the playoffs, in which case we keep hope alive that tonight was NOT the end!).  I could write volumes on what I felt this night, and perhaps I will later.  But meanwhile, here are the pix, which speak for themselves.

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Sarah, Ann, and me pose after the game.  (Ann was 2 for 3, a run scored, even though we lost badly.)

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 Senior teammates Gretchen, Ann, and Kelli Jo show off  their Senior Night gift bags and accoutrements after  the game.

The Poet’s Lament: Bad poetry, or what constituteth a stinker? Wednesday, Mar 28 2007 

gloves-on-hips-l.jpgReal writers have the courage to admit that everything they write doesn’t come out smelling like roses. For example, I wrote the following stinker many years ago.

 

Disinspiration, or The Poet’s Lament
(December 1994)

What contradictory power has stemmed the effervescent flow
once bubbling from the fount of invention
in streaming effusion
from fecund well springs
in profound soul regions
to name experience
and dispel malaise
obscuring ritual reality,
but now sputters and hisses
putrid droplets of dribbling dregs
trickling down the fountainhead
in meandering traces
to splash like spit
in powdered sand
that once was bed
to the green rippling pool
whose surging logos tide,
glistening epistemic brine,
grasped brimming shores?

What can I say? Too long in graduate school? Too many discussions about epistemology? Reading too much Kierkegaard or Walker Percy?

Or perhaps God in his omniscience simply knew I’d need a blog topic to laugh at thirteen years later at the end of a stressful day.

Proms: One Down, One to go . . . Saturday, Mar 24 2007 

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Ann her her beau, Zack, on the eve of the Iota High School Prom 
I’m not into proms much, so the good news is daughter Ann graduates this year, so I shouldn’t be bothered any more.   The bad news is that she’s not attending one prom, but two, since her boyfriend goes to another school.  The “‘nother” school’s prom is this weekend, and the hometown Eunice High prom is next weekend.  So after tonight, we’ll say “One down, one to go.”

“If it wasn’t for the lighthouse . . .” Tuesday, Mar 20 2007 

tchefuncte-lighthouse-2.pngThe Tchefuncte River lighthouse at the mouth of the Tchefuncte River at Lake Pontchartrain, near Madisonville, Louisiana

Years ago (more years than I care to recall? Like, 30 or more? Yikes!), I remember listening to the Florida Boys quartet singing “The Lighthouse” on their syndicated Southern gospel singing show Gospel Jubilee. The show came on every Sunday morning, and we’d listen/watch as we got ready for Sunday school and church. That was truly one of those Deep South, Bible belt cultural routines that we “did” in those days.

One of the Florida Boys’ signature quartet-style numbers was a song called “The Lighthouse.” The tenor solo would lead into the refrain at the end of each verse with the lyrics, “If it wasn’t for the lighthouse,” And as he paused after singing “lighthouse,” the bass boomed the interjection “Tell me,” followed by the full quartet joining in the full crescendo complement, “Where would this ship be?” (Click on the hyperlinked song title a few lines above to follow a link to a recording of the song done by another group.)

How did I get off on this subject? I was rummaging through Mypictures on the PC at work, looking for a posting idea, and I came across the photo above of the Madisonville Tchefuncte River lighthouse, a landmark that goes all the way back through my years of remembering. We fished many times for croakers and speckled trout in the shadow of that lighthouse. I thought it was a cool reminiscence, so I decided it was worth blogging. I even found an interesting link at LighthouseFriends.com online with a piece about the history of the Tchefuncte River Lighthouse.

So much for nostalgia–From the shores of Lake Pontchartain to the strains of the Florida Boys, just that much more from past memories.

Spring on the Cajun Prairie: Where Flat is Beautiful! Thursday, Mar 15 2007 

cows-prairie.jpgToday, I had occasion to travel from Eunice to Crowley to Iota and back to Eunice (Louisiana, that is). I enjoy driving around Southwest Louisiana in the spring. It’s amazing how a landscape so topographically featureless can be so enchanting, but it really is.

crawfishing.jpg The dude above is crawfishing in a flooded field. In this area this time of year, between the flooded rice fields and the flooded crawfish ponds, a traveler could practically get from point to point by flat-bottomed boat as well as the highway. In places, as far as the eye can see, the landscape spreads away in watery fields confined and subdivided by short levees and terraces.

dscn23eunice-prairieg.jpgBut what I like best of all about spring on the Cajun prairie?

Spring is best, because spring green is the greenest green.

Credit for the Cajun prairie snapshots above goes to the Zydeco Cajun Byway website.

Haley Tuesday, Mar 13 2007 

I believe it was Carl Sandburg who once wrote “A baby is God’s expression that the world should go on.”  Can’t argue with that!

austin-spring-break020.jpg Haley is my grand-niece (yeah, I’m not old enough to have grandkids, but I do have a grand-niece and nephew or two).

Among the Waters Saturday, Mar 10 2007 

I looked back through a journal I kept a few years ago (pre-blogging days) and came across a little ditty that I sketched out into some remnants of unrevised free verse. I copied and pasted the remnants into a Word document and played around a while and came up with an idea that goes something like the following . . .

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Among the Waters

 

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so.
Genesis 1:6-7

The Gulf’s white sand beaches,
New England’s boulder-strewn shore.
No matter,
Glory rides on wind
Swept over the face of the waters
Like sun
Shining,
Glancing,
Glistening,
Shimmering,
Or waves rolling
In noisy moonlit surf—
Calling to lost and darkening
Men
Seeking
The author of waters
Among the waters.

Uh, King David, What’s with the passive voice? Tuesday, Mar 6 2007 

An ancient Hebrew king (David, that is) is credited for writing the following in OldTestament scripture:

120px-david_von_michelangelo.jpgThis soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.” Ps. 34:6.

Let’s try that in active voice:

This soul cried, and the Lord heard; and the Lord saved this soul from every trouble.”

I believe King David needed a rhetoric teacher to tell him about active voice—Look how the revision is so much more direct, not to mention efficient in the use of words!

(I offer this post to encourage my many English 1001 students, whose teacher has chided them sufficiently by this point in the semester that they write in dread fear of using the passive voice in their essays. The photo above is, of course, Michelangelo’s classic sculpture, David–one of the most recognized pieces of art in all of Western culture.)

In Protest of Unreasonable Search and Seizure Thursday, Mar 1 2007 

port-and-beans.jpg My brother is planning an airtrip in the next few days and had posted an email about packing for his journey. When my sister reminded him about the new security rules, I recalled my own woeful experience along the lines of unreasonable search and seizure just last fall. Here is a shamefully un-American tale of brutality and insensitivity at the hands of an airport security zealot:

I brought some canned pork and beans to Los Angeles back in October, flying out of Baton Rouge right after the new security rules. I did my research on the Internet and checked with the airline clerk at Baton Rouge about permissible foodstuffs before I went up to security, and she assured me I’d have no trouble. And sure enough, I didn’t. Walked right on through and enjoyed my snack during the layover in Dallas.

I repeated the procedure in reverse on my return home, passing my canned goods through LAX (even though they emptied my bag completely of its contents to inspect, but let me put all the stuff back in and go through after they saw the innocuous cans of pork and beans). Again, I enjoyed my “Country-Boy-Cheapskate-Can-Survive” lunch in Dallas on the way home. “Hey,” I thought, “No problem. What a wise consumer and exemplary citizen I am!”

So then a few weeks later flying out of Lafayette on another trip, assuming the pork and beans were OK since they passed the test in Baton Rouge and LAX, I packed a few cans for a snack in Memphis.

But I bet you’ve guessed it already– the Lafayette security yo-yo took me out of the line, ransacked my backpack, and stole my lunch. I wasn’t happy with him, and I guess I behaved in a risky manner b/c I did little to throttle the outrage that erupted within me. I believe I was quite reasonable, but at the same time, I was brazenly frank, especially considering this guy held the power of life and death more or less over me. But I felt a lofty principle was at stake. Besides, the guy had just ripped me off.

I was upset not so much that he was enforcing a rule–I had researched the rule carefully a few weeks earlier before the Los Angeles trip. But the fact that the standard was obviously not uniform from one airport to the next roused every consumer impulse within my bosom. I think the guy realized I had a point when I kept asking him for an explanation (of the inconsistency), because he didn’t arrest me, in spite of the indignant tone and persistence of my protest. The small-minded dude never would directly answer my question as to WHY the same stuff was OK in Baton Rouge and Los Angeles but contraband in Lafayette. He just kept quoting the new liquids regulation like a mechanical idiot.

So that’s my testimony to the perils of airport security and my life’s lone experience with unreasonable search and seizure. Now I know how those German dissidents must have felt in the 1930’s when the Nazi Gestapo came poking around.