Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Walking Under Oaks

The long drive yesterday from Florida’s east coast to Baton Rouge, ark of my childhood, took a lot out of me. But eleven hours behind the wheel will do that, and arriving car-tired was little surprise. A hot shower washed a good bit of the tiredness away, and seeing again my two oldest friends, sitting together, talking, laughing, remembering—It was like an adrenaline shot straight to the heart. How much better can the hours and days ahead get?

Things are different here in the land of Tabasco, oyster po-boys and pecan pralines. Sort of figured I would sit in Raymond’s house and be granted instant Internet access on this MacBook Pro, with WI-FI snaking invisible from inside the house walls and embracing the laptop. As it turns out the Bluetooth and WI-FI are dead in the water at 1051. Looking into the why of that today, but for now the nearby Starbucks offers an easy solution.

Walked early this morning for a long distance on Sevenoaks Avenue. Of course, I remember it all from the years of growing up here, but once again the droop and swag of huge old oak trees captured my heart and gave a lightness to my step. This area is one called Old Goodwood, and is a place where building was conceived as non-invasive residential architecture, and where ground plans were laid out around and between tall moss-draped oak sentinels. There is a feeling almost of breathing green. Walked past Goodwood Elementary and recalled the afternoon basketball games, halcyon days when twelve year-old boys in blue and red challenged the boys in maroon and gold, and pert, red-haired Nannette cheered us from the bleachers.

Been my hope for awhile that friend Raymond might be willing to add some native thoughts to my Louisiana impressions, a perspective of his own. Let’s call it lagniappe—a Cajun word for a little something extra.

‘Nights with a breeze blowing in from across the Amite River, no glow from Baton Rouge in the distance, pull a mattress out on the porch of the camp and sleep with sounds of crickets and frogs near, and when waking during the night to turn over, opening eyes like a camera lens and seeing the lightning bugs flickering among the dark trees. Wishing it could be but knowing the impossibility of truly capturing for memory this fresh everydayness.’ — excerpt from Southern Snapshots

1 comment:

  1. After huddling around the blazing chimena in the cool air last night, drinking two too many beers and laughing until my sides hurt, I felt this morning like I had driven 11 hours across the Gulf edge of America. But wouldn't trade a second of it for another hour of sleep.

    Always interesting to see/hear a fresh perspective on one's neighborhood. And always when passing Goodwood Elementary, I remember those bookend basketball guards--short, fast, blonde-haired--who beat us every time we played them.


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America