Every Saturday morning, the yard between the courthouse and police station fills with vendors. These folks offer fresh food, prepared foods, plants, and even seafood. In the middle stands a gazebo where local musicians play a fiddle, guitar or the like as shoppers browse and sample the wares.
I go almost every week. The diversity of the products as well as the people surprise me. The shrimp come from an old gentleman who is a native of Vietnam. His English is poor, but the Gulf shrimp are big and fresh off the boat. The Italian cookies and artichoke pies are made and sold by Brazilian immigrants of Italian descent. The fresh beef is raised on a farm owned by an American and oddly, his Costa Rican wife.
Did I mention the pralines? The coconut pralines were the best I have ever eaten even if the price was outrageous: $3 per small praline. By the way, she was the only African-American vendor at the market. In this part of the world, diversity is good, as long as we keep a respectable quota on the darker members of the community.
Join us for Sundays in My City, even if my offering is a Saturday affair, at Unknown Mami’s blog.
The Dog has been a big part of my life since I moved back to the US from Honduras nearly a year ago. He’s longer needed as a guard dog, but I have tried to give him a somewhat meaningful life as a companion animal. Since the US is more calm in many respects than Honduras, we actually take long walks in our parish (county in other parts of the nation).
He has a calmer persona than the machissimo attitude he portrayed in Latin America. If he were running for office, I think his new attitude would go further in the polls long-term than the loud stuff he used as his signature style in the past. Another thing to note, I don’t think he would approve of laws in the South that prohibit hunting with dogs for most of the season. He takes it personally when he can’t pursue to the end a deer, squirrel, or gator run or even the occasional lunge at the annoying gringa in the neighborhood.
The post is linked to Sundays In My City, which is sponsored by Unknown Mami.
Ask anyone who has visited my home whether in the US or in Honduras about their first impression of their visit, and invariably, their first response is concerning The Dog. He’s a classic black and tan German shepherd, uncommonly large but not fat, weighing 100 pounds or over.
Not to brag, but he’s quite a stand-out. Just a few days ago, I stopped for gas with the dog in the backseat. As I parked, two ladies walking from inside the store approached, began to speak excitedly, noting what a beautiful dog he is. A man in a pick-up paused momentarily, flashing a smile filled with gold teeth, nodding his agreement to the assessment that the ladies pronounced over my canine.
Earlier that same day, I stopped for breakfast, driving through a take-out window at a local fast-food joint. The woman at the window exclaimed at The Dog reclining on the backseat, and she held up the serving line by calling other employees to view the marvel in my car. I sometimes tire of the accolades he receives because it’s largely due to genetics and good kibble.
He’s more than big and showy.
The Dog is uncommonly loud.
When he guarded my residence in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, he barked with such a tenor that a brass fellow on a shelf inside the house regularly lost his horn due to the bark of this massive dog. Grown men, even men with guns who guarded the neighborhood, reluctantly approached my home with multiple reassurances that The Dog was out of harm’s way. When I moved to Louisiana, a woman who lived on the next street complained that his early morning reveille bounced sound waves off her house.
Once, since moving to the US, he opened the door (he can open levered doors) to the laundry room where he was being held, and he ambled into the kitchen to say hello to my sister. My nearly sixty-year-old sister leaped four feet onto a high stool in one quick move, then climbed onto the countertop, showing her prowess in yoga as well respect for The Dog. She does have osteoporosis, so I am concerned about future leaps.
Do I love The Dog? Of course, I do. Is he the best dog on the street? No, he is not. His temperament is tricky. Although he’s never bitten anyone, he’s had scarce opportunity to do so since his bark (as well as the occasional lunge) first attracts then repels people or animals. He has to be restrained for the sake of peace when in public.
Thus said, I wouldn’t vote for The Donald. His temperament is tricky.
I have been enjoying life in the United States since returning in 2014. Perhaps the pace of life has caused me to forego writing and posting pictures as was my regular habit while living in Honduras. Of course, maybe I just enjoy exploring in my red car in Louisiana since giving up my work and pick-up in Honduras.
Whatever the cause, I proffer a few glimpses of life around and about my small town. Some of these are photographs from Covington, Louisiana. My apologies. Abita Springs is a Very Small Town.
My apologies to the famed local artist, George Rodrigue and his muse Blue Dog, who inspired this insipid post. Rest in peace, Mr. Rodrigue. Your work deserves better, but I don’t have a blue dog, just a small red car.
This post is linked to Sundays in My City, which is sponsored by the inimitable Unknown Mami.
Last Sunday, the day dawned misty, cool, and foggy. I went for a walk with my dog in Fountainebleau State Park, on the outskirts of Mandeville, Louisiana. We almost were completely alone in the shroud of fog and mist on the edge of Lake Pontchartrain. In the mist, we discovered several groupings of does, most near the sugar mill ruins of the great plantation that once sat on these lands.
I saw more deer nearer the lake, but I only had a camera phone, not a camera with a scope lens. Besides I had a large German shepherd on a leash, so I decided against walking closer for more shots. These two will have to suffice.
This tree’s wonderment cannot be captured by any lens, I am convinced. At least I cannot capture its essence. It’s beauty in its tortured, hurricane driven stance is impossible to see without pausing in wonder.
Maybe the Anglican hymn popularized in the All Things Bright And Beautiful series of James Herriot books captures the spirit of this majestic place better than most words.
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all
He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell, how great is God Almighty, who has made all things well.
I haven’t written much lately as I contracted poison ivy on my face. I couldn’t see clearly for almost a week. I knew there were poison ivy in the back corners of the yard, but lacking a gardener or goat, I knew it was up to me to tackle the weeds.
Amazon has a program, so I have heard, that allows one to rent a goat to clear weeds out. It’s not available yet in Louisiana. Supposedly they can eat poison ivy, whereas cows and such get sick from the weed.
The allergens first attached to my eyes while I lay sleeping Tuesday evening. It wasn’t a pretty sight that I saw, albeit not clearly, in the mirror in the morning. It appeared I had been possessed of a crying fit of mythical proportions.
The noxious weed spread its nefarious reach to my bosom, skipping the chin and neck. I spent days cursing the invention of the brassiere, as my apparel cuts right across the rash’s path. In public, I try to maintain a bit of composure, but when I can steal a private moment, the sling is slung away, and relief comes, albeit briefly.
If one contracts a rash due to poison ivy, I recommend Zanfel. This wonder drug makes a paste when moistened. Apply, then wash off. The relief is almost instant.
I debated seeing a doctor about this malady, as Zanfel can’t be used on the eyes, but after a day or two of blurred vision, my eyesight was restored. I also was concerned about a new doctor’s bill, as I am not 100% positive that I don’t owe $835 from my last eye exam.
As I conclude my little essay, I feel no itch, no discomfort. I can see. All is well in Laurielandia, as least as well as I can be. This rainy month may go down as #1 or surely #2 in the books. My new sunglasses purchased over a month ago have not been needed to block the sun yet, but I have used them to travel incognito around town to hide my weepy, red eyes.
“Where are you living?” is a question that I hear often from family and friends. I moved to the US in mid-2014. The good Lord knows I am a wanderer at times, but I am in Louisiana again, folks. This is my street. The house number is not mine as it was not in existence when Google took this image. I am on a wooded lane in Louisiana, about an hour’s drive from downtown New Orleans.
I live in a small village that is having growing pains as the wetlands to the south disappear and New Orleans continues to shrink due to decay, crime and the like. The area is filled with new settlers fleeing the south. Recently the good folk of Abita Springs, my small town, revived a local myth about the town. Abita was supposedly an Indian maiden whose name mean life. She used spring water from a cypress stump to heal the sick.
Whether or not the tale was fact or fiction, we kept the water and made beer. Abita Beer is a fashionable hand-crafted beer that is produced here. It’s frightfully expensive, and I don’t care for the taste. Otherwise, I might have produced a photograph for you, but nay, I don’t like.
Okay, now you have it – the street view as well as the most prominent public figure of the town. Soon, details on the rest of my exterior life – such as details on gainful employment and such. One cannot remain a former missionary forever, after all.