East side, west side: All around the storm Tuesday, Aug 28 2012 

This afternoon’s model runs cast some lines on the wrong side of where I live.

Here we are, closing out the day before we shut the campus down a few hours early to go home, stow the lawn and patio furniture, and hunker down to wait for what tomorrow has in store.   Part of waiting for any storm, of course, is watching the track: how near or far will the center pass, east or west, because east/west can make a BIG difference.

Hopefully, as all indications have shown since a couple of days ago, Isaac is going to miss my house to the east, meaning we’ll be on the distinctly favorable left side of the storm since the most violent and nasty stuff goes on on the storm’s right.  And if we could be enough miles safely situated to the west, so much the better.

In these waning hours of watching and waiting, though, Isaac is making me squirm.  Some of the 1:00 p.m. model runs pushed farther west, some even west of the house and/or running over the house.

Hopefully, since the National Hurricane Center’s track hasn’t shown a dramatic shift, the models are just models of what’s theoretically possible and NHC’s good science is still telling the truth about the storm’s ultimate path.  But with these darned storms, we never know.  If the consequence of not knowing was no worse than “We may get a shower today or maybe not,” that would be fine.   Unfortunately, consequences in a huricane don’t settle on us so matter-of-factly.

Maybe these sensations of tight-chested, dreadful awe that we feel in the hours a hurricane approaches helps us understand why God chose to speak to Job out of the voice of a storm.  These natural expressions of fury are effective attention-getters, for sure.

That tropical time of year: Watching Isaac Sunday, Aug 26 2012 

Every few years since Hurricane Lilli in 2003, seems we go through this rehearsal.  Sometimes it’s just that, a rehearsal: We stock up on provisions, tools, and rigamarole to get through a few tough days of camping out at home, primitive style, but the storm goes elsewhere or it’s not as bad as feared or we luck out  in general.

But we never know, so when the models begin to cluster potential lines of storm tracks  passing over Hill Street, the rehearsal is on.

So was today the first rehearsal for Isaac.  A hundred bucks or so worth of gasoline to tank up vehicles and generator, some staples and groceries later, we’re ready to shelter in place, to buckle down for what comes, to ride out any eventuality.  Done it before, can do it again.

But we hope not.  We watch and wait.

To eat a Rattlesnake: Really? Thursday, Aug 23 2012 



Surely, if I were determined to eat snake flesh, I could beat this ridiculous price of $50  a pound for frozen Rattlesnake.   Don’t tell me that Rattlesnake tastes different from Copperhead or King Snake or Cottonmouth or Water Snake or even Gartersnake, for that matter.  I could round up several pounds of snake meat in an hour or two, if that’s what I was bound and determined to eat.  And it wouldn’t cost more than the time to snatch the critters, skin ’em and gut ’em.

I think Rouse’s has a racket going on here.  And for me, snake flesh just isn’t appetizing.

Summer 2012: For Auld Lang Syne! Saturday, Aug 18 2012 

Last year on the weekend preceding the start of the new school year, I posted a memoir of the summer past.  Since the entire idea of the blog has something to do with chronicling life and times, that seems like a topic worthy of repeating this year; next year if I do it the third time,  I will declare it a tradition.

To wit, what will we remember of Summer 2012?  How about the following:

  • Going to church with Mama on Mother’s Day, something we hadn’t done in many, many years.  Brother-in-law Bob’s sermon that day was particularly memorable, too, as was the repast he served us for lunch after church.
  • The Sunday evening trip to Beaumont for the David Phelps concert.  Before we went, I thought this concert was something I was doing mainly for Sarah, who is a big Phelps fan.  But I came back a fan myself–The concert was a masterful and uplifting display of musicianship.
  • Backyard pool parties with Payton.  We bought a  wading pool early in the late spring.  Payton would splash and dash while we adults llounged on the patio.
  • Patio, did I say?  Yes, patio dwelling again was a highlight of summer 12.  Eating lunch and supper, grilling on weekends, lounging till evening shadows lengthened, watching sports on Saturday afternoons–If the weather permitted, we hung out outside with Sadie and Marley many a’day.
  • Figs:  Yes, fresh figs.   The tree in Sarah’s Mom’s back yard yielded a robust harvest that lasted about three weeks. Every other day or so, we’d pick.  I don’t know how many pounds we gathered altogether, but we snacked on them cool, fresh, and raw from the refrigerator, sometimes by the fist-full, for those three weeks of fruitful indulgence.  I don’t recall any other season when I enjoyed figs more.
  • July 4 with the kids and Payton, highlighted by an impromptu trip to Baton Rouge to surprise Ann, who wasn’t able to come home because of her work and school schedule.
  • We discovered another novel supermarket shopping experience at Whole Foods Market in Baton Rouge.  We can hardly make a trip to the Capitol city now without a Whole Foods  excursion.
  • The Farm Bureau Memorial Service weekend in New Orleans:  Grateful to our good friends Kim and Mona Frey for recruiting Sarah to help with the music, and me to be the beneficiary by serving as the soprano’s escort.  Anyway, we got to spend the night in a 5 star hotel on Canal Street and eat out at Deany’s.
  • Fried oysters for birthday #60.  No fun turning this age, but what’s the alternative?  I decided that from this birthday forward, I will celebrate with oysters from a different restaurant each year.  This birthday was Fezzo’s turn.  We’ll see what restaurant wins the prize next year.
  • My 60th birthday present from Sarah was a treat, too–A Schwinn Legacy bicycle.  I’ve never seen a bike look so much like the bike I had when I was 10 or 11 years old–Talk about retro!   More summer evenings than not, we take the bikes out on the street after supper for a spin, and since July 26th, my two-wheel ride has been stylin’.
  • Friday afternoon trips to Rouse’s were not as novel as a year ago when the Lafayette Rouse’s was new, but we enjoyed those excursions every bit as much as we continued that tradition from last summer.
  • Olympics.  We watched the games every night those two weeks in July/August until the coverage went off the air.

These were highlights.  Yes, there were lowlights, but this blog does not celebrate lowlights.  God is too gracious to dwell on anything less than the blessings.  So here’s to summer 2012, another rich season of our lives.

No more Mondays . . . Thursday, Aug 16 2012 

Galilleo’s phases of the moon: “Moon”day!

Today’s Monday surpasses last week’s Monday

Because one less Monday stands between now and  retirement

(give or take a year or two)

When I’ll leave the stress and mess

To enter that season of life

Where Monday comes no more.

The Sorrows of Grandparenting: When They Move Away Sunday, Aug 12 2012 

Papa’s little girl, gone to Texas

Since my granddaughter was born a little over four years ago and has lived within a 20 mile range of home, I’ve often posted “the joys of grandparenting” at this site.  But tonight, I feel the sorrow of grandparenting as Payton Elizabeth will tomorrow move away, becoming a Texan (like her dear little Mom).

I don’t begrudge her that at all, knowing that life and circumstances interplay with God’s design.  But still, I’m a little sad for me (and Sarah) as we face a change in our routines.

At the end of the day, we know all things work together for those who know God, so we trust and we’re strangely content in the midst of this sorrow.  Our lives are in God’s hands–Why complain?

Utterly Away by the Bay: A San Francisco Memoir Wednesday, Aug 1 2012 

ImageHere’s a piece previously un-blogged, having lain in the portfolio for almost 10 years after attending a National Writing Project annual meeting in 2003.

Utterly Away by the Bay

November/December 2003

(At  Pier 39, San Francisco Bay)

Praise God, the Creator of San Francisco Bay!

hard to write

with numb fingers–

blustering, breeze

chilled fingers.

dreaming poems

to express pictures

worth far more than

a thousand words

to tell all the





I want to write

but can’t

with blue fingers

crammed deep

into jeans pockets

and breath

stolen utterly away

by the Bay.

Oh, for warm fingers,

to grasp a pen

to paint words

to draw sound

to color creation

and more—

to name

wisps of sea spray

the blueness of  the sky

gulls circling, alighting, riding on dark blue waves

a tempestuous choir of sea lions, barking a noisy cantata

the stark, solid Rock—Alcatraz—rising from the Bay across the way

and most intriguing,

how the Golden GateBridge disappears into rusty hills on the distant shore.

in short, I want

to grasp a pen

with warm fingers

to memorialize

this moment in time

for a small town boy a long way from home

with eyes wide open in amazement

with blue fingers

crammed deep

into jeans pockets

and breath

stolen utterly away

by the Bay.