Thursday, September 29, 2005
I miss New Orleans like a long ago lover.
The city throbbed with music. You could lay your hand on any building or piece of ironwork that adorned the porches of even modest homes and feel the music , like the purring of a cat. It was always the place to escape, the place to leave your every day self behind, to the point that my daughter and I , when faced with familial annoyances, have a saying, "let's run away to N"Awllins"
I fell in love with Tom one steamy New Orleans spring at the Jazz and Heritage Festival.It was early evening and time to exchange one party for another.A tired man was selling balloons to cranky children and Tom bought me every balloon he had. There is a certain power in walking the streets with 30 balloons.We tied them on balconies, gave them to kids, exchanged them for kisses from drag queens.A couple was sitting on their banquette with their children, "Hey, c'mon in!"they said and we ate dinner and spent an evening listening to Ray Charles records.
That kind of simple magic happened in New Orleans.
ONce , while I was sitting with friends on the levee watching the Mississippi River roll by, a blonde man playing a flute walked by and stooped to kiss me, "My dear"< he said, "you look like a rose in a trash barrell" He disappeared into the morning mist.
Yep, things like that.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
There is a man that is a special education aide at our school. I do not even know his name, but he is about my age, maybe a little older & has impeccable bearing and always wears his clothes with a knife edge crease, perhaps an old military guy. As I passed him in the hall the other day, I said, "I just want to tell you how nice you always look". The poor fellow blushed and responded as though I had said something not only indecent but unnatural.
Later on that day, one of my emotionally disturbed children ran away (not an unusual or in itself an alarming occurrance) so I went into the boy's bathroom to get him. Who should be there, but Mr. Shy Man. I tried to make a joke of it, but he remained unamused.What the heck, we do have teacher's bathrooms, I never expected a grown up in there!
I had to leave early to take my mom to the doc, but was stymied from making a quick getawayby a car blocking me in. When I finally found the man who had barred my way, I was chatting with him when another teacher walked by and said, "Got another one , I see".
Yes, I am getting quite a rep in this school!
That loose special needs teacher!
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
since the storm,this is what has been happening here....
My mom broke her arm falling over a pile of hurricane debris and has proceeded to break all of our spirits...she is a dear and we love her, but age and infirmity do not make her any less difficult to deal with.She has, how shall I put it? always had rather definite opinions and is truly generous with expressing them, often without waiting for us to ask.Mariah does well with her and has been helping out so much. I am truly leaning on my eldest a lot these days. It is amazing how life turns around.
Caitlin is on the Cross Country Track Team at Murphy. Only 3 freshman make it so it is truly a dig deal.On the morning of her first meet she was nervous. "What if I am last?"she said. I told her if she saw none behind her, just turn around and casually stroll through the woods as though she was not racing that day.It is hard to be inobtrusive arond my mom. As we looked toward the woods, more and more runners came out. My dear mother kept exclaiming LOUDLY, "well, where is that girl? Don't you think you ought to go get her? Did she sit down to rest somewhere?" She wan't last, but definitely in the lead of the back of the pack.She ran so hard, she threw up. A fellow freshman, obviously smitten, was heard to say to his firend,"she is tough, she ran so hard she puked!" Way to get the guys , Caitlin!
My friends from Mississippi are here for a good while. They will be getting a FEMA trailer, one o f the first availiable since she is a teacher & they are opening school (also in trailers) by November 1st. I am shocked at that since there is not a building standing in her little town. People that live by the water know the chance they take & are philosophical about loss of property when loss of life is such a near thing.It is different here now. I live in a mid-size city that got a lot of damage but suffered no loss of life due to the storm. People are always pretty friendly & this town has not lost a small town feel, but "since the storm" everyone is gentler, more open.The horror stories on the news were real places, family faces. I wnt to the DMV to get my car tag (I only bought the car in April)and it was filled with people who officially don't exist ,having lost all ID.YOU would think it would be a grim place, as it generally is in the best of circumstances. oh, no, folks were laughing, tellling storm stories, joking, hugging....you see long lines of people standing in the grocery stores to cash their Red Cross checks. It is like a party.
I hope the piles of dead trees are gone soon... I hope this gratitude stays in our hearts.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
well,this is fun! I got it from B4iateclover who says everyone had done it (but me) so, remedying that...
7 Things I Hope To Do Before I Die
Go to Ireland
Go to England
See my kids with interesting careers
See Joni Mitchell in concert
Get my computer to load pics to my journal again
I must have a nice life, I had a hard time thinking of 7 things I wanted to do that I haven't!
7 Things I Can Do
Stay in a good mood
Enjoy myself where ever I am
Laugh at myself (and others)
Be patient with children
Build a fire
Cook a meal for 10 people with 5 dollars
Talk to teenagers
7 Things I Say Most Often
CaitlinCaitlin (this is not a typo,it is usually screamed as one word!)
Seemed like a good idea at the time
If you can't change the situation, change your attitude
Life's too short for that
You'll either get over it or die with it
It's summer, of course,it's hot
Is there any more wine?
Walking on Sunshine,
Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Hi! I am at the libary on the computer,still no cable or phone, but we got power yesterday! I dont' have long ,there are other computer starved people in line,so I will just give you some random thoughts & unedited impressions of my life in the past week...
We are fine,no damage other than a yard full of limbs & loss of electrical juice...
I remember...my friend's 5 year old drawing a picture of "that big volcanoe that tore up all the trees..."
I remember...watching the squirrel-sized battery tv with my dear refugees where we had all gathered against the wind....we kept saying,"it's all gone?" as we saw the first footage of her Mississppi town where we have all celebrated every holiday together since the kids were born...like we thought someone would tell us different...
I remember calling friends on borrowed cell phones loaned by straqngers...instead of saying hello when they pick up the phone it's,"I'm allright". Then , almost offhandedly they add, "but the house is gone"
I remember walking to the only convenience store open & hearing a man with an unmistakable Cajun accent & a Louisiana tag say "good morning" . When I asked "how are you", he started telling his storm story and pretty soon about 10 people had gathered to hug him, shake his hand, laugh & cry...
while waiting in the doctors office , a crowd ran to the tv ( which we hadnt seen in a week) when a woman said "look, the Cafe du Monde is still there" & strangers telling stories of how they used to sit with their boyfriends who became their husbands there, passing around tissues....
the strangest things make me cry these days....like Caitlin, when I told her the beach is filled with debris,saying"where will we go on Saturday?"
Living on the edge has its price...and it's beauty.
I will write you all as soon as I can...