Monday, December 29, 2014
Friday, December 19, 2014
My Life, the List
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
I should be sleeping
Friday, June 08, 2012
The Night the Bed Fell
( ... with apologies to James Thurber)
As I have stated elsewhere in this blog, I believe, I am an ardent fan of James Thurber. Very few people can make me laugh, consistently. I have never appreciated jokes the way I should, and I find humor to often be too predictable to be truly funny. Thurber, for whatever reason, consistently hits my funny bone. So, this morning, when the bed fell, I immediately thought of his story, “The Night the Bed Fell.”
Friday, May 25, 2012
The Room above the Noodle Shop
Moving on ...
It’s been the better part of a year since I laid to rest my best and truest friend. I have had many opportunities since to write the pain and joy of everyday living and post it here for the world to read. But each time I came and saw the picture of my dear old friend, I would have to leave it a little longer at the top of the page. A tribute to all he was to me for so long, for so much living. He is still missed.
I have been spending a good part of my life for the past month in the French Quarter, the Vieux Carre, working weekends for friends of mine who have a shop on Royal. And rediscovering the city girl who has been so long on the bayou she had almost forgotten how to drive in the city. That’s a common phenomenon here, apparently. For years I have listened to folks tell me they “don’t drive in the city.” For years I have wondered what that meant. I had begun to discover that in myself until I started coming in on weekends, finding my way into the Vieux Carre, maneuvering the narrow streets, avoiding unfortunate encounters with pedestrians and bicycles. I have discovered one gets better with practice.
As long as one remembers the pedestrians have the right of way.
Even when they are wrong.
Monday, August 01, 2011
There should be a law … or a rule or at least an unspoken agreement … that writers should never acquire pets. Especially dogs. Most of us know how vulnerable we are to the slings and arrows of those we love; how easily crushed we are by the slightest breath that bodes anything less than good and perfect harmony. We expect that and build our barriers, construct our walls, fortify ourselves against those hurts that will inevitably come.
But we trust our dogs, just as they trust us. We know as surely as we know the sun will rise and set on the world somewhere today that our dog will love us and trust us and accept us even when we are at our worst. Few of us ever feel that way about another human, but we easily feel that way about our dog. So, we go on for years, taking him for granted, giving him our leftover time, showing him every side of our self that we would never trust to another human.
And we forget…conveniently, easily, too completely…that one day, no matter what, he will die. And take with him all the best there is in us and leave us alone with our worst. Very much alone. Alone in that total aloneness we can feel only after we know what it is to be loved absolutely and unconditionally, the way only our dog can love us.
I said goodbye to my friend, Moose, yesterday after 13 years of being loved by him and only sometimes being worthy of that love. My granddaughter says there is a dog heaven where he will be a puppy, again. I hope that’s true. Just in case there is something to life after death for the pets we love, I buried him on the bayou, very close to where he caught the dead fish and nudged the turtle shells and buried more things than I will ever find again.
Moose was the best dog ever. A much better companion than I will ever be. He set a good example. He will be greatly and unconditionally remembered and loved and missed.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Life in the Fast Lane
I should have saved all of my writings concerning the accidents in front of my house. I would have enough for a book by now. My affection for the traffic in my personal corner of the world began long ago, when I first moved to southern Louisiana. I soon became aware that no one can go anywhere without turning around in front of "the shop." The shop was my late husband's place of business. It's used for temporary storage, now, and the occasional indoor yard sale, (which, by the way, is an oxymoron, as I have recently been reminded); but the traffic pattern has remained the same.
Anyone who goes anywhere in my parish (county) must come here first to turn around. I have always suspected information is given out to strangers passing through, requesting directions to anywhere within, say, a 30 mile radius, ..."well, ya know dat shop dere, where da man uset ta sell dem tvs and veeceearahs? Well, ya go dere, sha, and ya make dis turn in da udder direction, den ya go ..."
I even suspect google maps, Garmin and Tom-Tom use this as the starting point for getting anywhere in the parish. They've just cleaned up the language, "go 2.2 miles then turn right, turn right, turn right, turn left, go ..." Coming from the other direction the miles change and the rights turn to lefts and vice versa, but the effect is the same. You cannot get anywhere in this parish without coming here first.
As a result, there have been a lot of bizarre accidents. There was the time a car ended up sitting on the broken shaft of the telephone pole. And the guy who dredged both of my ditches but managed to leap over the driveway right in the middle. Of course, we've had a couple of sugar cane trucks lying on there side. And more recently, some people may recall, a tire off one of those sugar cane trucks hit my front window and knocked one entire brick wall of my house away from the underlying wall.
Tonight I lost a mailbox. Actually, two were lost, but only one was mine. The other belongs to my neighbor across the street who has shared these vignettes of life with me over the past thirty years. Some light colored truck decided to take his ditch, this time, instead of the road, and that included plowing under our mailboxes and the post that held them up.
And then he kept on going. He lost a bumper, but kept on going.
Presumably, no one was hurt.
Mailboxes can be replaced. Grass will fill in. One more story to make me shake my head. One more story for the blog. Like Paul Harvey used to say after telling the rest of the story, "Good day ..."
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Viktor Frankl and Having Choices
A young friend, today, reminded me of an author I have not considered in way too long. Viktor Frankl saved my life. The circumstances were long ago and far away and of not much consequence, anymore. But save my life, he did. And he probably deserves more frequent remembrance.
I do not often have difficulty expressing my thoughts about matters of deep meaning to me, but, it seems, I struggle here. I tried to assemble these thoughts into some sort of meaningful review that would, perhaps, inspire someone else to think thoughts differently. But still I struggle.
I will think on that more. Until then, I will share those particular words that were the most meaningful to me at the time, so many years ago, when I was someone else, but, in some ways, more me than I am now.
(Does it ever seem to anyone else that we are devolving instead of evolving? That we are born closer to who we are meant to be and we live our lives struggling to stay connected to that self, only to find the more we struggle the further away we get? It's sort of like drowning, in a way. If we could but trust that we were once fish, how easy it would be to swim. If we could cease the struggle ...)
The Words of Viktor Frankl
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.
More of his words can be found online. A life-changing experience,possibly, can be found in his book, Man's Search for Meaning.
And if I can find some sense of my thoughts, one day, I will write a more worthy review.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
How come ...
And I always try to sip slowly, as I imagine one would have sipped a mint julep out on the veranda of an overly large plantation home. Thinking about the plantation home necessarily creates images of slavery and abuse, spoiling the taste of the julep and breaking me unpleasantly free of reverie. As I strive for a more appropriate image, comes the pondering.
... after I have had just the right amount of an alcoholic beverage, words I have been searching for all day, all week, maybe for months, begin to tumble and roll and literally drop from my fingers. Forcing me to struggle to keep them from spilling all over the floor and oozing out the door and across the patio and plunging into the bayou, streaming inexorably to the ocean, exposing every thought I ever had not only to the gator and that awkward looking bird looking back at me from the water's edge but to every living thing on this earth.
How come words can't find me when I am already sitting at the keyboard, coffee cup comfortably close by, when I'm feeling lazy and at ease with myself and the world? How they can't line up, obediently, and stand there without moving until I can get them in their proper places, with time to check the hemlines, and the dirt behind the ears, and make the necessary adjustments?
I want to write sort of slow and southern with a little bit of sassy. I tend to believe more words are better than less - as long as there aren't too many more. Just enough to temper one's progress across and down the page, allowing time to savor the journey and encouraging the reader to sit back, settle in, stay awhile.
How come my words can't fall like that? Why does it always seem as if there were a pendulum swinging relentlessly between rush and struggle and absolute dearth of ideas? What do I do when my glass is empty?