I’m sharing a memoir this week, Dog Gone, written several years ago in response to my writing friend’s “dead dog story.”
The photo is an old house in Baton Rouge circa 1930’s; However, not the one in this story. The house pictured is indicative of the student slum neighborhoods our children occupied while attending college, but the original “crack house” was larger with peelng white paint. (If you use your imagination, you can see the corner of it in the photo.) Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture and the place was demolished to put up a Dollar Store.
Rundown and dirty with hardwood floors and plenty of parking, it was situated on the edge of LSU and the Baton Rouge city slums. Scheduled to be torn down, the apartment’s future sat between some political cross-hairs in the middle of a city and school dispute over local development. It was one of several similar old structures in the neighborhood of student slums and coveted for their proximity to the university. Built in the 1930s, this particular two-story white rectangle contained four apartments. The fashionably bohemian antique box appealed to our son, George, and the price was right for his fifth year budget. It was a landlord’s dream. Why fix up something scheduled for destruction, yet rentable?
We drove to the back of the huge dilapidated apartment, a place George and his friends referred to as “the crack house.” As we exited the pickup truck, he stood smiling on the back stoop, tanned and ready in his sleeveless wife-beater T-shirt and jeans. It was moving day, and we were his usual crew. Bucket and vacuum in tow, we trouped up the five or six steps to the ancient raised clapboard and noticed a peculiar odor.
“I think the last tenants boiled crawfish on the porch and dumped the water.” George pointed to the gray peeled paint floor. I looked at the worn wooden slats and cringed. This was definitely the worst place yet.Continue Reading
This is a memoir that definitely falls under Piquant. The dollhouse in the photo came to live with us when my daughter was a child. My brother still has “the barn.” Thankfully, no one owns the Engine.
The Little Engine That Should
This story is of a little toy engine that made constant noise. Colorful gears spun inside the clear plastic shoebox-sized shell while bells and music swirled in the air. With the flip of a child friendly lever, multiple toots and whistles mixed with the cacophony. Left unattended by our children, the little engine chugged across the kitchen merrily, until in frustration and anger it got thrown against the wall, never to annoy me again. I can’t remember the circumstances that lead to my break with sanity, but I’m sure I was trying to get something done – there was always something that should be done. It’s taken me years to realize that “should” is an evil scourge. A shame word wielded with the occasional “need to” or “must” by clerics, mothers, and myself in an attempt to keep the world free from procrastination, at least in my lifetime.Continue Reading
There’s a party at the river this morning. Looking out my window, you might not see it. The cool November air swirls a mist above the warm sienna water, and an eerie morning glow dawns through the silence.
I’ve been remembering my family and friends, saying prayers for loved ones, living and dead. The holiday season with its television worldview sometimes spills onto my life, gravy smeared across the red and green pressed tablecloth. But my heart drums a back-beat of blessings today. I begin to sway to the melody of memories and laughter. A few tears mix it up, as the sax wails its mournful notes. Gratitude catches the upbeat, and my soul fills with harmony.
There’s no need for annoying conversation at this party. My ten-year-old housecoat is the perfect outfit. No one cares about my bed-hair or chipped nails, witty comments, or if spinach dip is lodged between my teeth. What a great party. Thank you, Lord. You really know how to throw ‘em.