I’m tired to put it mildly do this will be brief. Random thoughts before I settle down with the really perfect aromatic gin and tonic with lime that I just mixed…James Comey is sickening and he is making a Roman spectacle of himself. This man’s judgment is all over the place. Oh, that’s all. I’M m just tired and where are you?
We made reservations for lunch buffet at Dooky Chase’s yesterday for 1:30 PM. We wound up waiting an hour for our table, and it was very funny. Instead of putting three tables together to accommodate 11 people and just holding them, we were told we had to wait on a couple who was having a high old time. Their table was smack dab between two empty tables thus preventing moving them together. They ambled, they ate, they made repeated trips to the buffet, they checked their cell phones repeatedly. They were just having a good time. Someone joined us and asked what the delay was and I said, “we’re waiting for the couple with the bottomless pits.” I made them laugh. A little while later, somewhere in the bar, applause broke out and the couple rose simultaneously to leave, and Dr. Crawford said,”they’re applauding because those people are finally leaving!” Another laugh.
But, in the meanwhile, who comes ambling out in her red chef’s jacket on a walker with beautiful silver hair, but Leah Chase. I had to to go speak with her. She saw me approaching and gave that beautiful smile to me. I said, “Mrs. Chase, I’m sure you don’t remember me, but twenty years ago…” and I told her about how she had helped me. She laughed and shook my hand, and she still remembered the guy who ordered vanilla ice cream on his sweet potatoes, but said after Katrina he never came back in. She asked if I still wrote for …..and I explained a bit what happened after fifteen years, and that I was already going the route of creative differences, and she said, “Darlin’ don’t you ever stop writing. And it’s good you don’t want to compromise, because people like you give us the truth and real journalism is important!” What a sweet lady. I’m so glad I got to talk to her; she’s in her 90’s now and seems very frail, but not her spirit. In the entrance, there is a framed blown up picture of Obama there, about to wrap a cloth napkin around his neck. While I could not stand Obama, it makes me happy for Mrs. Chase that the President of the United States visited her and she was proud enough to frame the picture, which really is pretty cool in and of itself. It has never been lost on me how proud African Americans were to have him as president, even if I disagreed with just about all of his practices and views.
Dooky Chase’s is on Orleans Avenue, and to reach it from Tulane, you take Claiborne Avenue North to Orleans and take a left…this part of Claiborne runs behind the French Quarter, and passes the back of old St. Louis Cemetery, and as I drove there, the entire old, quaint vibes of New Orleans I remembered so well washed over me; it was wonderful. Brought up lazy summer afternoons as a kid…I need to get back to Quarter soon. I think I am finally getting over my Louisiana overdose because I am enjoying those things once again.
Anyway, the buffet was delicious fried chicken, not salty at all; sweet potatoes, red beans and rice, snap beans, turkey necks (something I have never eaten and probably will never eat); an empty, because of the lateness of the house, heated tray of mac and cheese. It was down home cooking, and nearly had a close call. At the beginning of our meal, the waitress served cups of gumbo and I asked her if it was seafood, and she told me no. Dipped my spoon into it and swallowed and said to myself, damn, this is really good gumbo, what is it–my neck dip into it revealed a beautiful coral and white shrimp in my spoon–which I didn’t eat, put my spoon down and asked the waitress to take it away. I waited a little with bated breath because I didn’t have Benadryl with me to see if I would have a reaction, and thankfully, I did not on one spoonful. But, all told, it was heavenly to have a taste of seafood once again, no matter how brief.
So, this morning, having coffee in the dark, I turned on a taped episode of H to H. It started with a shot of a full moon in a dark, creepy sky, panned away to an old front porch of a house and then the caption, flashed: New Orleans. The interior then of an old plantation home with Dean Stockwell in a Confederate uniform and southern accent in an antique-furnished antebellum dining room, talking to a hoop skirted dress draped over chair. A real nut case. He was talking to, “Alicia.” “Why don’t you answer me, why?” Um, no body in the dress, perhaps? Well, it turns out that he had begun living out a romance novel as reality. And the romance novel was supposedly written by a woman. But it turned out, the wildly successful novels were actually written by Jennifer’s esteemed journalism professor in college to make money for retirement and the books won a romance novel award. He asked Jennifer to pretend to be this female writer and accept the award in New Orleans. I won’t go into the whole story, but my early morning laugh was this: They were supposed to be in New Orleans and the Harts were riding in a carriage down a winding drive, and emerged into…the Ports of Call Village in San Pedro, (supposedly the French Quarter). They embarked onto a New Orleans gothic steamboat that was always moored there for real–it was full of shops, one of which was a stuffed animal shop and I remember I was there one Saturday afternoon and the shopkeeper was playing her radio and that’s how I learned Secretariat had won the Triple Crown…but I digress. The Harts climbed onto this Mississippi River Boat and instead of the brown Mississippi River there was the blue Pacific of San Pedro Harbor; I could just see the blue down ramp of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the distance. New Orleans, indeed.
Thank God for simple things–not only did I find clip on earrings I liked, but I hit a buy three, get three free sale. Bought nine pairs…sorry, it’s been like being in a desert without them. Houston, we have earrings! (some are dangling owls.)
Wanted to let you know yesterday was a day beyond days at work, when I was ready to play the hermit crab and just crawl into my shell and have everyone leave me alone once it was done. If I were to tell you what was going on, it would have to be on the other site, and I’m not able to do that yet. But I just wanted to tell you, hello, Smoky Joe. My dream of the three young men, and you know who they are, reminded me of John Lennon’s song, “Beautiful Boy.” I’ll try to find the link. I love those boys.
Dr. Crawford is taking the administrative staff to lunch tomorrow at Dooky Chase’s restaurant in Treme, owned by the sparkling, 90+ Leah Chase. I wasn’t able to get out this weekend to buy clip on earring, but I will stop at Lakeside after work to do just that. Did I ever tell you the story how, about 21 years ago, I was hired freelance to write a story about, all things, sweet potatoes. And make it creative. I drove to a sweet potato farm in St. Francisville and interviewed the farmer and got a tour of the process. I did all kinds of botanical research. And I called Leah Chase at her restaurant to see if she would talk to me. Because, her sweet potato dish was a renewed feature of her restaurant. My God, that sweet lady went to town. We must have talked for forty-five minutes about her preparations. She told me the drollest anecdotes about customers who ordered her sweet potatoes–she had the best chuckle, and the one she liked the most was the man who routinely showed up at her restaurant to order sweet potatoes with a few dollops of vanilla ice cream on top. Doesn’t sound bad at all, does it? That seems like yesterday, you know, and I remember I was using the phone in Mom’s room in the late afternoon and the sun was glowing through her dusky rose looped drapes, a room in apple-pie order smelling a little bit of Anais Anais. Those memories make me miss her with an almost physical pang. But, a good, good memory, all in all. What makes you miss your Mama most?
Such vivid dreams this morning. First the crazy, then the beautiful. I dreamed I was with Arnold Schwar, etc. as the Terminator raiding a Russian spy facility. The crazy thing is I matched every step of his, racing up steel stairs, dodging fire, throwing grenades, a two-man Army reaching the top of the facility to blow it up. Utter craziness. Now, the beautiful. Dreamed I was on a street in Manhattan where three young men were playing, enacting a sword fight of sorts. It was a quaint street, an overcast day, and they ranged in ages from early 20’s to late tens to around sixteen. They were re-enacting something, having so much fun, and I sat on a stoop to watch them. All of their hair was a bit longish, two with dark hair, one with sandy hair. I delighted in them. Then the scene changed and you were there with me in a house that needed renovation, and the three young men were also there with other people, almost like a renovation party, I don’t know…these three young men liked me, and they sat together and I watched them, the two dark heads and the sandy-haired one, I felt of wave of intense love for them wash over me. As I said, dreams.
It rained nearly all night, but today dawned windswept, clear and beautiful, utterly rain-washed, and beautiful. Simmering–oh, there’s that word–a pot of turkey chili and just took a cornbread out of the oven that I baked in Mom’s old cast iron skillet. I baked it from scratch, as always, and added chopped green shallots to the batter before I baked it. It’s a beautiful shade of gold with the green of the shallots a lovely compliment. Guacamole, sour cream (light), and salsa will accompany–was just in that kind of mood even if it isn’t a traditional Sunday dinner.
I bought a heavenly-smelling lavender plant from Rouse’s this morning, and this time, I’m not going to do anything but water it. Palm trees are rustling outside the Ernest Hemingway Room, fresh air is billowing in, a cardinal is chirping outside. I enjoyed watching, “Band of Angels” again; a lot of it was filmed on the MIssissippi and in Louisiana, and that definitely was Belle Helen plantation. A bit of a soap opera, but I always enjoyed it. Beautiful costumes, and a little chambermaid who took annoying to new heights. This morning I watched another movie I taped, never saw it, always wanted to, directed by Vincente Minelli, “Cabin in the Sky” with an all black cast that was excellent, Ethel Waters; Rochester, Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, and lo and behold, there was Lightnin’ from, dare if say it, “Amos and Andy.” Louis Armstrong, Rex Ingram. Based on black folklore; I really loved it. Another movie based on black folklore I also love is, “The Green Pastures,” a black folklore version of Genesis. Set in the South. It’s priceless, and beautiful, sweet and quaint. I especially loved the way they handled Moses going before Pharaoh. There was a lot of talent in both these movies, and in Cabin in the Sky, when Lucifer, Jr. is in his executive suite with his minions (wearing wild spa bathrobes and goofing off, including Louis Armstrong, all with horns (on their heads), some of it made me laugh out loud. So, I guess I recommend both, and all three mentioned I suppose. Band of Angels featured a young Sidney Poitier who played Raru, and gave an excellent performance also.
Maybe next weekend, if the weather is like today, I will take Marie on a day trip into Plantation Country. This kind of April day in Louisiana is perfect for it; I’ve been avoiding going out that direction since I moved back to Old Metairie because my time is River Ridge was, I truly believe now, cursed.
I will probably read today, been going strong for nearly five hours now, getting time to crash…good heavens that wind outside is…wild as the wind.
Before I continue watching my tape of, “Band of Angels.” It’s still raining, and I am thinking of a treasured time in my life when I was reminded constantly about the love story between two Victorian poets. Robert Browning was a famous, lauded poet; Elizabeth Barret Browning was just getting started as a writer poetess. He read the things she had written and fell in love with her before he ever met her. And meet her, he must. She could not believe someone as accomplished, lauded as he would give her love , not to mention how generous was his heart directed towards her. I think she found it incredible to feel the soul link between them, the true intimacy as though they were ghosts haunting one another…and gradually, she believed in the Odyssey that was given her. A beautiful story, and one I understand.
Is Sonnet 22.
But, in site of the weather, it’s very cozy in here. Coffee is brewing and I’m burrowing in with Earl’s quilt, a good book and the Weather. I’m my lived in living room, dining room. Most of the cr@p on the table in paper relates to my taxes.I can’t stretch to fix the curtain and I won’t t stand on a chair just to fall off! I