LAKE ARTHUR SOCIAL LIFE.

February 22, 2013

Flys

We are parked next to the American Legion in Lake Arthur, Louisiana, waiting for good weather. The patrons here told us we have to stay through Thursday, because they cook jambalaya for everyone for lunch.  The cooks arrived about nine. Flys was cutting cabbage for the coleslaw.

Norman,Flys,&Mark getting dinner started

Norman was taking a break while Mark cut up the pork meat.

Mark

Most of the fat comes off, but not all of it. Then it is set to brown.

browningnicely

When it is almost browned, the sausage is added and it gets stirred some more.

fresh crowder peas

In another pot, fresh crowder peas cook. And still another pot holds rice.

Sally (Loretta)

Sally added water and seasoning and took her turn stirring.

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Norman gave it his approval and Sally began loading styrofoam trays with the free  lunch for everyone in the bar.

Julia

We bought a round of beers for the cooks and others did the same. Julia, the bartender is  very able and practically runs, she is so busy.

Don-Commander

We finally met the Commander of Post 403, his name’s Don. He says he doesn’t like crawfish which is a sin in this part of the world. His father told him he wasn’t a true cajun. We laughed.DSC03230 (Copy)

The patrons here depend on the friendships they’ve developed. It is their social life and joy to get together, drink and eat. The bar always has peanuts, pork  rinds, or something to nibble on. Beer here is lite and only comes in 10 oz cans.  The man standing closest to Jim, is Shannoo. He owns the LA Bar downtown. Everyone has dictated that we HAVE to go to the LA Bar and after we had lunch and a beer, we did.

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It is in an old historic building and according to some of the pipeliners, it is well-known outside Louisiana.

An assemblage of memorabilia of old

It is one of those places that has jokes and stuff and a big horned deer head hanging on the walls; dollar bills pinned to the ceiling, and 75-year-old whiskey. Shannon, doing bartender duty,  is the owner’s wife. Her husband is also named Shannon, so he removed the n, added an o, and goes by Shannoo.

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We were told the LA Bar serves the very best bloody mary money can buy. It was different, spicy and delicious with a green bean, carrot stick and okra pickle, an olive and lemon slice.

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When the previous owner died, the bar was closed for four years. The locals are appreciative that this young couple in their thirties rescued their famous icon. Shannon told me some of these bottles are 75 years old and have never been opened. They are no longer for sale.

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I enjoyed taking pictures of  humorous signs.

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Some are as old as that whiskey.

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Wry humor.

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This one is barely readable. It looks like politicians were just as popular 75 years ago as they are today.  Politicians and drunks not permitted on premises.

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We walked toward the boardwalk at the lake. A beautiful oak greeted us at the end of Main St. Then the winds and rain suddenly started up again, and we had to abandon our walk.

Mark&Marlene

We read for most of the day. Then back in the American Legion bar for a nightcap. Mark and Marlene were back as well. Mark will take us out to net catfish in his boat this morning if the weather isn’t too wet and too windy. Everyone seems to like everyone in this community. You never hear them grumble and complain about their neighbors. Fine salt of the earth people who know how to have fun. Tonight there will be a dance with a DJ.

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The gumbo cook off was a tasty, wonderful, loud mob scene. We went late and spent about two hours. This is outside the Civic Center which had gumbo booths we didn’t ever get to.

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From above, you can see what it is like. You pick up a bowl and taste and walk to the next booth.

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Inside the building, it was the same, gumbo booths around the perimeter with about 30 booths and every one tasting different.

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The Krewes compete for best gumbo and they don’t stint on ingredients. Sausage, chicken, ham, bacon, duck and at this booth a hock in every bowl. OMIGOSH! Everyone I tasted was better than Steamboat Bill’s gumbo. You can’t describe the flavors, and how they differ, but I was in foodie heaven. We would beg them to give us one SMALL bowl, then Jim and I with two spoons would  taste. Everyone throws what they didn’t eat in the garbage. I quailed at the waste.

Krewe du le Originales et les enfants

These ladies are from Le Krewe Du Le Originales Et Les Enfants. Toni, on the right,  has a son in the State of Washington at McCord Airforce base, Jim’s old stomping grounds. We may be going to their ball and chicken run.

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This Sasquatch looking guy, a big guy, poses so you can’t see a bit of his flesh. He was very proud of his costume and wanted to show us how he can become very small. DSC02397 (Copy)

Can you tell we are having fun.DSC02401 (Copy)

While you taste, the band plays and people dance.

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This character, we assume from the winning Krewe in the parade the night before, walks around holding this scepter?, or whatever it is,  with his entourage. He makes a swing periodically through the crowd to much applause and noisemakers, and hoots.

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At one point, a member of a different crew stole the prize and everyone hooted and yelled.DSC02430 (Copy)

When the band identified a Krewe, they all hollered and made sure you knew who they were.

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Members of the Entourage from the winning Krewe, danced along with everyone else. The Krewe is the Madelaines.

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These two women were the best dancers on the floor. The woman on the right  moved so fast, it was hard to get a picture of her.  Cajun and Zydeco tunes are  jumpin’. It was wonderful to watch the dancers.

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This woman was, I think, trying to help the band play and dance at the same time. I might mention that this fun fueled event is not fueled on alcohol. Beer is available, but people don’t seem to swill and get drunk. We enjoyed the spirit, the mobs of friendly people and hated to see the end of all that good food though we could eat no more.

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Then we went to the children’s parade. Many cars carried “winning, elected” children honored for something.  A local event of some type  decides who rides an honor, from very young like this tiny girl on top of a car throwing candy to teen-aged kids.

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Everyone loves a good band.

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This little girl was standing next to me.She and her mom kept offering me candy the kids picked up. I gave her my beads before we left.  Kids are so photogenic and responsive.

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We weren’t sure where the dog parade was; we were told two different sites. So, we followed these dogs.DSC02449 (Copy)

This little puppy is only seven weeks old.

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The dogs have to be registered, and this great dane could hardly stand still. It took five people to get her dressed for the parade.

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It looked worth the effort.

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These two ladies were pointing at me, trying to get their sweetie to face the camera.DSC02466 (Copy)

Like a true princess,  she did!DSC02481 (Copy)

Beautiful.

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A handsome brace of…, well, whatever they are. DSC02476 (Copy)

This woman was hugging, and cooing and comforting her baby who was shaking and reluctant to be part of this mob of dogs.

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She finally got brave enough to peer away from her mom’s knees. DSC02506 (Copy)

There were cute kids everywhere. This little girl was peering warily at Jim as he tried to get her to smile.

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Little brother kind of waved at me and moved closer to his sister. Shy, but he wanted his picture taken too.

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And this little girl too. The kids love the camera.

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This little fellow wasn’t sure he wanted his green glittered spike photographed. I told him I had a redheaded grandson and then…DSC02435 (Copy)

…he gave me a big smile and showed off his missing tooth. I love it when kids respond like that. DSC02524 (Copy)

After the dog parade, we went to the second floor in the Civic Center where a Zydeco Band was playing.DSC02525 (Copy)

All these bands play “modern” washboards, two of them. Quite a difference from the first Cajuns who used a washtub, washboard or whatever made sound to get their joy and spirit across.

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We watched the dancers for about an hour. This couple were outstanding dancers. For a big guy, I’m guessing, 6’6, he could really move in those heavy boots. And, her too, dancing in boots. Fantastic.Pam, Hawiian nurse age 65

Sitting next to me, Pam, a 65 year old nurse who still works. She was originally an entertainer in Columbia. I loved her hair and she was obviously very proud of her beautiful tresses. Oh, that I could have hair like that. I’d show it off  too. So much talent and beauty in one day. Wowzer, baby, wowzer!

CHRISTMAS CAROLING LOST

December 13, 2012

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The Sonora Elks Lodge I’ve joined has an organ/piano player, Lenny. At our meeting last night he played Christmas Carols while the rest of us sat around and chatted and sipped pre-dinner cocktails.

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A few people gathered to sing along, myself, included.DSC04237 (Copy)

I enjoyed the sing-along, something I hadn’t had an opportunity to do in years. In high school I relished high school choir, the recitals, the camaraderie, the whole process was so enjoyable that when it came to church choir, I would attend two masses each Sunday so I could sing twice. Fellow Elk member, Judy Roberts, (in pink) told me that she recently attended a community Christmas Party where many young people attended. At a community sing, they were lost. It is something they’ve missed along the way and they didn’t know the words or tunes to the most common of Christmas Carols. She sighed, feeling sorry for them. I hadn’t realized that our Christmas Culture is generational. As children, we caroled on the street from house to house with our school teacher leading the way. At our last stop, (my house one year) my mother had hot chocolate ready for our weary voices and a fire to warm cold hands and feet. I  guess we are turning into old fogies and caroling isn’t hep anymore. Their loss is our loss too.

FUN IN THE BANK

October 9, 2012

I helped work on the paint job yesterday. I painted five window frames and two doorways,  which required having the doors open to the wonderful, cool weather we had yesterday. My son was having problems with his back and I decided I could do it myself. I enjoyed it, but there are eleven doors in this house and many windows still unpainted. So, we will be at it for two more days, at least.

With open doorways, I decided to get all the projects stowed in boxes under desks and in corners up off  the floor and consider which one to start with. DON’T PUT OFF ‘TIL TOMORROW…  you know what I mean.

A book on brew-tasting I wrote when the craft beer movement first got started. Unsold. I thought I should put it together. Scrapbooks of trips left unfinished. To many to name.

All week long, I’ve washed and sorted through a barrel of wool for rug-making. Braided, hooked and rag rugs are beautiful and long-lasting.

This is an unfinished hooked rug I started too many years ago.

I’ve braided eight area rugs. This one is in my living room. The biggest one I made was four-foot diameter circle rug that I’ve given to a friend.

Two small ones designed to be place in front of chairs so the carpet doesn’t wear down in one noticeable place.

A washable rag rug for the bathroom. It is made of cotton, not wool. I enjoy making rugs and the end result.

I’ll store the wool until cold weather sets in. I didn’t photograph the number of quilts I’ve cut and haven’t sewn. Or art projects unfinished. I’m never bored, as intended. But, I  think I have YEARS of projects on hold. Oh, well. It’s like fun in the bank.

 

 

MURPHYS GRAPE STOMP

October 7, 2012

I always say, if you are going to a grape stomp, go in style. Yes indeed.  Don’t I wish it was my ride.

The Murphys Grape Stomp is also a street faire, but I’ll get to that tomorrow. My friend and I wandered  around town and met with any number of costumed participants, waiting their turn to stomp. The Wild Ones hadn’t stomped yet.

Welches Wenches had just placed sixth in their heat. They qualify for the finals if they place in the top ten.

“The Foot” didn’t register to stomp.  He enjoys the fun of being in costume. And, drinking beer. This may be a wine event, but, hey, beer was pretty popular, too.

If you are  going to stomp, you may as well get fortified with a glass of liquid grapes, first!

The volunteer crews load the buckets with wine grapes.

The stage is set with 10 barrels and 10 buckets of grapes. Ten teams compete at once. A bucket of grapes is placed beside each barrel while the audience waits to cheer for their favorites.

The contestants line up, some stomp barefooted, some ruin their shoes.

They dump their grapes in the barrel on cue. Then wait for introductions of each team which leaves them time to discuss and work out any last-minute strategy. The team member on the ground helps scrape the juice through the spout into the waiting vessel to be measured.

A team from Chico has won the event 8 times and has set the record for the amount of juice collected during one stomp.  They’ve quit stomping this year and this young team is Chico’s new hope. They’ve received plenty of advice from the retiring team.

They’re off and stomping. People I’ve talked to say, it is harder than it looks.

The scraper is considered as important as the stomper. The scraper’s tatoo reads:  Don’t be afraid to go after what you want to do and what you want to be. Don’t be afraid and be willing to pay the price.” A philosopher.

Some of the stompers have several teams. They form a club to attend the stomp every year. I saw three couples, all women dressed like men. They call themselves the Batchelorette Party Crew.

These two women have dressed up and designated themselves the Grape Fairies. One is the Night Fairy and the other is the Day Fairy of the Grape Stomp.

This guy with the hot dog hat was with a team of about six or seven members with t-shirts proclaiming “Stomp Your Wienie.”  Maybe they are trying for a different kind of stomp, but I’m guessing everyone is simply having a good time at the grape stomp. I did too.

 

 

A PIG COLLECTION

August 30, 2012

I had occasion to visit my Public TV Access Group’s bookkeeper and she is a collector of pigs. I’m not sure what the fascination for pigs is, but, here they are:

Maybe it’s a reminder of the political pigs feeding at the public trough. Oh, that was ugly. It’s just a pig teapot.

Eileen’s pigs are mostly decorative knickknacks. Just cute little critters.

The site is having a problem and providing me with this miniscule font. So, pictures seem better than words. Besides, I was awfully wordy yesterday about the contention, I mean the convention.

This pig is straight forward and sweet. When we arrange our collections, do we make sure they are all turned the same way?  Facing right? Or left? Hmm!

Most of Eileen’s pigs were facing right.

When placed against on a  table with other things, left facing was necessary to see the character.

The room, table  and walls configured  for the one above  to be arranged facing left.

And this bold Harley Rider is multi-dimensional and faces forward.  Not that any of this matters, but if you decorate your office with your collection, they have to look appealing.

They are cute and  most knickknack collections have cute appeal. And, I always appreciate other people’s collections being a collectiholic myself.

My daughter-in-law collects non-political elephants and the form and function elephants can take goes way beyond knickknacks and is fascinating. Always the object turned art.

But, this one was my favorite. It has a message with  just the right touch of truth and humor.  Oh, boy!

Normally, I blog every day.  However, I flew home for a family reunion that I host every year.  After a great deal of preparation to entertain, feed and coordinate a three-day event that peaked at 58 people on Saturday July 7th, I can truthfully say I meant to blog . Instead,  I  enjoyed the whole chaotic experience; the  bedlam, cooking, eating, visiting, drinking, snacking, games. The skinned knees, overtired kids, frisbees knocking over your beer, getting squirted by the errant squirt gun. We laughed at  the child who fell asleep while eating and the treasures placed on the totem.   There were swim suits and towels drying on every railing and chair; errant socks and shirts in every room and on the ground.  Whose shoes are these?  Tiptoeing around rooms full of sleeping people on the floor, in the closet  and on makeshift beds;   Listening to the  clanging of horseshoes;  the late night laughter during card games;  watching the  breakneck dancing by lantern  light; thinking I might get some sleep tonight. Blogging was out of the question. In fact, I couldn’t even  concentrate on taking pictures, I handed the camera off and asked others to do it for me.  Here are a few photos they took:

Prep time comes first.

 

 

Then a bit of kickback time.

 

That first night, the guys played horseshoes until they couldn’t see them anymore.

The kids danced by lantern light and raced around playing hide-and-go-seek until the first tumble in the dark brought the game to an end. (No serious injuries.)

The next day, some serious work on the totem commenced.

The small fry squared off for the squirt gun wars.

There is never a winner or loser. Everyone just stays wet and cool in the heat.

An impromptu opera in the kitchen.

A card game before heading for the flume.

The flume water was the lowest I’ve seen it in 35 years.  So low some of the kids needed help getting in instead of out of the flume.

But, everyone got to ride and get cool even if they did scrape the bottom in places.

First timers need a little coaxing.

Someone was expecting to get “tossed” but the water was too low.

Tandem helps keep your butt off the bottom in low spots.

There is nothing quite like tubing the flume for all ages.

All that fluming takes energy and a few snacks afterward are standard.

After the flume, everyone got seriously into decorating the totem.

The ladder reaches to the very top.

Some people  like to decorate and let someone else attach their treasures.

And some like to be up on the ladder as much as possible.

A budding artist turned a piece of wire wrapped in yarn into a rattlesnake.

By the end of the day, there was little room on the totem.

No one took a picture of the cooks nor the over laden table. Everyone brought a dish to share and we shared a sumptuous feast. But, part of the clean-up crew enjoyed a bit of laughter as they washed up a mountain of dishes.

The rest of the day was the same. Kids just all out running, jumping and having a good time. The rest of us wishing we had half their energy, enjoying the food, and watching the action.

And, after the s’mores, a few sparklers lit up the night.

 

I think I had a bed that night and slept until the coffee crowd came in for their cuppa wake me up in the morning.

 

 

MONEY LAUNDERING

May 13, 2012

Since I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart, Jim went to pick up some items he wanted while I stayed in the Motor Home. He was wearing shorts and a T-shirt, the sun was shining , and then…it started to pour. He raced through the parking lot to the Bronco with water swirling around him. He inadvertently left his  fanny pack unzipped, and when he got back to the Bronco, his money was gone. He retraced his steps and found it floating in a puddle.

I never thought I’d see the day he would launder money, but here is the proof!  Drenched to the skin, it took  24 hours  to dry his shoes.

We drove to Casa Blanca, where we will visit a pueblo on top of a plateau today, Mother’s Day. Settled into the Dancing Eagle Casino, owned by the Laguna Indians,  is a comfortable place to stay.

Their food is very fresh and delicious. A vast menu, reasonable prices. Nice.

I admired this clever map of the United States done in license plate pieces. It seemed impossible to me, but the artist managed to  get tiny  Delaware and Rhode Island pieces on this map. If you enlarge it, you can see the full name of almost every state.

We  meet a lot of full-time RVers on the road, but not many that live on their bicycles. This guy was doing the best he could in a bad economy.  Well rigged out; he had a sign, a money box for donations, a flag, a tent, blankets, a neon vest so he can be easily seen,  and a duct taped sign. Hey, you gotta do whatcha gotta do.

To all the mother’s in my life, and those I don’t know, may you have a Happy Mother’s Day!  Remember, The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.  Well, William Ross Wallace  could be wrong about that,  hmmm!

My dog sleeps about 20 hours a day.
He has his food prepared for him. He can eat whenever he wants.
His meals are provided at no cost to him.
He visits the Dr. once a year for his checkup, and again during the year if any medical needs arise.
For this he pays nothing, and nothing is required of him.
He lives in a nice neighborhood in a house that is much larger than he needs, but he is not required to do any upkeep.
If he makes a mess, someone else cleans it up.
He has his choice of luxurious places to sleep.
He receives these accommodations absolutely free.
He is living like a King, and has absolutely no expenses whatsoever.
All of his costs are picked up by others who go out and earn a living every day.
I was just thinking about all this, and suddenly it hit me like a brick in the head…….   My dog is a member of Congress!
(Don’t know who wrote this. It came in my email.)
Ciao

PUTTING UP A TOTEM POLE

April 24, 2012

I just happen to have an extra telephone pole hanging around at my rental which is near my house.  I had a new pole installed to operate the well, but the contractor didn’t remove the old pole. I  caught this freesia in bloom hiding among the grasses, but, I got so excited I completely forgot to take  pictures  as the new contractor cut it down and brought it to my house.

They trimmed it to twenty feet.

Dug a five foot deep hole.

And put it in the ground. It stands fifteen feet high and is ready to be transformed into a totem.  Today, I’ll start some preliminary decorating, just to see how it works out. The purpose is for a fun project at our family and friends reunion in July.

I was inspired by this totem put up by a local club in the neighborhood called The Barnies”.  They charge themselves an initiation fee to join. The money goes to keep the barn maintained in good shape, and pay the power and to use it as a meeting place  for a once a month pot luck. They invite a musician into play, barbeque, play bocce. In other words, just have fun.

the totem was one of their fun projects. Anything goes.

I’m posting this so everyone will bring their junk and we will find a way to get it on the totem. Jan will do a rain dance, no doubt. It will get well christened. We still like to flume, and play horseshoes and bocce, but for some of us, a new piece of art is just the right touch.

I hope you agree and get inspired by The Barnies  creation as I was.

You’ll have to admit it is a fun way to recycle.

 

 

 

GIRLS NIGHT OUT

March 25, 2012

It amazes me how much paperwork an ordinary person must sift through. Whenever I return to Murphys, I go through junk mail, mail stuff back to advertisers and ask to be removed from their mailing list. I  like to think I can handle everything from the road, but, it isn’t possible. I receive  e-bills that I can pay from the road, but I never return home without finding a billing error of some type, it seems. Karen talked me into abandoning my “job” and going to lunch at Alchemy with her and Julie. They serve an exquisite bloody mary tomato soup, with a touch of horseradish. Great salads, good beer and wine. Sweet potato fries with a chipolte sauce. Hmmmm. It was all good and much better than doing paperwork.

Karen and Julie wanted to go shopping. I took one look in at a newsprint jacket and decided I’d rather get back to a light, fun read I’d started for my Saturday afternoon,  Natalya, God’s Messenger by Magda Bogin.  And, I invited everybody for a girls night out.

I made tortilla soup to go along with the movie by the same name. Only my tortilla soup I’m sure didn’t taste anything like the soup in the movie. I forgot to take pictures, we were having so much fun. Neighbor Jan brought this Girls Night Out jar and we decided to make it a tradition. Whenever we get together, we shall bring the jar to the next person’s house. Inside the  jar is a deck of poker cards and pennies for betting.  Jan loves poker. I love girls night out.

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