When I say “rural Louisiana,” I know what y’all are thinking out there in California. But it’s not like that equally everywhere or with everyone here. Just as there are swamps and republicans in the Bay Area, there are Unitarians and three varieties of kale here.
In the past six months, I have been operating at about 30% capacity. Yes, I have tried volunteering and writing and baking. I hike a lot and keep in touch with friends and family. I remind myself how good my life is, but my feelings ignore my thoughts. At this time of my life, I need new places and people and ideas. I need instability.
On this Mother’s Day, I am going to begin with a story that makes me cranky but I will end with one that makes me happy. So, as Rachel would say, stay with us.
A couple of nights ago, a reporter on national news (it was Lawrence O’Donnell) told the story of a young friend who left her job to help care for her disabled father. The reporter suggested the nobility of this young woman’s sacrifice and the tender irony of a 25 year-old sleeping in “her childhood bed.” The story concluded with the young woman’s observation that, during this period of “new worries,” her neighbors “swing well away” to give her father’s wheelchair more room than usual on their daily walks. The reporter suggested the neighbors’ gesture was evidence of American “love” and “solidarity.”
I am in rural Louisiana this week to get some inspiration for the finishing touches on my novel. I have gotten some inspiration alright, but not the kind I was expecting. Truth is truly stranger than fiction, but if I tell you why, somebody might have to kill me. Joking. But it occurs to me.
Last Friday, in a small town in rural Louisiana, the state’s 16th Judicial District Court rescheduled a preliminary hearing to address procedural matters in a lawsuit described in nine double-spaced pages.
Ho hum, not usually the beginning of a great story, right?
Sometimes in my travels, I learn a little more about a place than meets the eye. The small town of New Iberia is one of those places. It is one of Louisiana’s oldest and most historic. Straddling both sides of the beloved Bayou Teche, it is the center of the state’s sugar cane production. Locals are friendly and affectionately call their town “Da Berry.” Visitors come to tour the elegant plantation house called Shadows on the Teche, New Iberia’s charming downtown, and the jungle garden on Avery Island.
On Tuesday, I got hit in the head more than a couple of times with green or silver beads but, unfortunately, not a coconut. Coconuts are what you want the people on the Zulu parade floats to throw at you.
Meet Robi. He looks like a normal 25-year-old with a creative presentation and a healthy dose of self-confidence. Long dreds, faded jeans, a self-deprecating sense of humor with a second sense about how to tell a good story. It would probably take you a long time to guess that Robi is a Haitian High Priest in the voodoo tradition. Continue reading