Yo soy Isleno (I am Isleno) Friday, Mar 30 2012 

Daddy was always proud of our Spanish heritage, traced from where hImagee was raised in Delacroix Island down in St. Bernard Parish all the way back to  Old World Espana, from where his mom’s Belmonte ancestors hailed, and among that clan, a famous bullfighter (Juan Tomas Belmonte, Hemingway’s contemporary and sidekick, who is related to us, or we to him, whatever).

This photo was shot several years ago at one of the annual Isleno Festival gatherings at Delacroix Island, a celebration that takes place every year around this season.  I now have the “Louisiana Isleno” cap Daddy was wearing in this photo, in fact, and one small regret I have after his passing is that I didn’t make one of these festivals with him.  He went regularly in the years before his health failed him so, and he was always proud to re-connect to that part of our blood line.

Yo gusto mucho los Islenos, mi familias!

(Forgive me if my Spanish grammar and spelling wants a little.)

Louisiana Legislature Now In Session: Run for the hills! Tuesday, Mar 27 2012 

The State Capitol: Scene of many crimes.

The Louisiana Legislature is in session.

Nefarious schemes of wanton politicians are afoot!

Wherefore are statesmen (and women) in our midst?

Long gone, I fear.

Fan-faring  populists rule in a crimson State.


More joys of grandparenting: From generation to generation! Friday, Mar 23 2012 

My grandparents, surrounded by grandchildren in early 1950's. Older sister is at Papaw's left.

This photo of my grandfather and grandmother surrounded by some of their grandchildren gives me pause: Have I attained the same station in life as they?

But no, they’re so much older than I!  I never could attain such age and standing.

But alas, old man time hath worked his wonders, and here am I, with just such age and standing.

When my grandchildren grow to adulthood, what will they make of old family pix?


What will Payton's kids think of this old PaPaw in years to come?

La belle “Valse de Reno”: Vive Lawrence Walker! Wednesday, Mar 21 2012 

C’est la place que moi, je voudrait mourir / c’est dans les bras de ma ‘tite bebe’.

One of the prettiest melodies I’ve ever heard.  Et les paroles sont si jolies et si aimable!

No Place Like Home (Even a former home.) Wednesday, Mar 14 2012 

My family's home in the 1960's-70's

When I found this early 20th century photo at a Facebook page devoted to nostalgic memories of my home town of Covington, I immediately recognized this home as the family place we moved into at 303 West 21st Avenue in Covington in the 1960’s.  Daddy paid $10,000 for the house at the time we moved in and sold it for $60,000 about 20 years later after re-zoning had given the property some commercial potential.   I remember how proud he was of the profit his investment had returned! Today, no telling how much the house would sell for, but for sure a lot more than $60,000.This photo is captivating to me–I remember Daddy saying the house was built in the early 1900’s, and this pic is definitely from that era, judging by the style of ladies’ attire.  I seem to remember, also, that the place had a history as a boarding establishment–This picture confirms that part of the house’s history, too.

My bedroom was the front room–the two windows on the left gave me a main street view of the Highway 190 thru-route.  I remember the 18 wheelers grinding through the gears in the night before the by-pass around the outskirts took the traffic out of the heart of town.  On a summer’s night with those windows flung open to catch whatever whisper of a breeze came along, those trucks sounded like they were going through the front yard rather than passing on the highway.

Those are also the windows I used to sneak out of during the night to meet my buddies at the drive-in hangout down the street after I was supposed to be asleep in bed.  I realized one day that Daddy had figured out my scheme when I found the window nailed shut.  He never said a word to me, and I wasn’t about to ask questions!  So much for Friday late night galavants.

Memories, what memories!


Pickled Pigs Lips? No, thanks. Friday, Mar 9 2012 

A few days ago, if someone asked me if I wanted some pickled pigs lips, I would have assumed a gag was afoot.  So when I spotted this gallon jug sitting on the condiments counter at a convenience store off I-10 last weekend on the way to New Orleans, right next to the mayonnaise and mustard and pickled jalopenos, my jaw dropped.  As a Lousianian, I shouldn’t have been astonished, because our region is known for exotic fare. Pickled pigs feet, for instance, couldn’t be much different than pickled pigs lips.

To eat, or not eat this stuff?  Aside from the aesthetic objection to the anatomical portion of the hog, the nutritional facts on the product label provide compelling reasons for leaving the pickled pig lips in the jar.  A single pig lip (the serving size is described on the label as “1 average piece,” suggesting either an upper or a lower lip) packs a walloping 140 calories, 100 of which come from fat–not a good ratio.  The next detail follows suit: 11 grams of fat laden with 60 milligrams of cholesterol.  So much for a healthy snack.  And the analysis so far doesn’t even consider the high sodium content ( the product is pickled in briny vinegar).

And how does one consume pigs lips?  Like an an ordinary pickle, clasping it with index finger to thumb, pinkie extended?  Is the entire lip edible, or does one gnaw off the tender meat on the outside and discard the cartiliginous core?  (Ugh!)  Does a lip between two crackers make a salty sandwich?  What happens if one tosses a lip with a teaspoon or two of the brine into the bowl to enliven a serving of gumbo or etoufee?

Enough, enough!  My distaste swells into disgust.  Personally, I just don’t have enough curiosity to perform any of these abominable experiments.   However, I do invite him or her who is so curious (or who is perhaps already a consumer of pig lips) to post a comment sharing personal experiences, recipes, or recommendations for consumption.

Meanwhile, at the end of the day, if I want a pickle, I’ll simply have a dill.

To she who runs the race . . . Run well while ye may! Monday, Mar 5 2012 

Less than a hundred yards to the finish line! Go, Ann!

Daughter Ann helps me feel my age.  She ran her first marathon Sunday in New Orleans at the Rock ‘n Roll New Orleans event, and all I could do was watch.

Watching was a little frustrating for me, a runner who never ran a marathon and one who likely never will since the older I get, the more decrepit grow my feet from runners’ ailments that seem to have grown acute from those years of pounding pavement.

Oh, well, alas and alack, at least I can enjoy the finish line vicariously from my kid’s triumph.  Yesterday was her first complete marathon, and I hardly doubt her last since she seems addicted to the regimen now.  What happy addiction!

So my advice to her, and other youths in waiting, like the poet Herrick admonished youth a few centuries ago in merry England, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”  Yay, the day cometh when thou shalt gather no more!

Post race accolades: The family celebrates--the daughter's victory is her parents'!

On the Eve of the New Orleans Rock n’Roll Marathon . . . Saturday, Mar 3 2012 

We’re dropping our routines and responsibilities to drive to New Orleans for the weekend to support Ann as she runs her first marathon.  In my portfolio, I came across this piece from years ago.  The little girl is an adult now, but her Papa will ever remember this little character.  To this day, he can’t refuse her!

I Meant to Do My Work Today

(Poetry imitation exercise)

May 1992

I meant to do my work today—

Bricks to stack and a shovel to wield.

But a teddy-bear girl dressed to play

Invited me out to the sunny field.

She brandished a bat and a plastic ball.

A blond pony tail danced on her shoulders.

She’s her Papa’s baby-bear doll—

How could I ever refuse her?