3.21.2010

231 - Home again

Twelve hours is a long damn time to be in a car.

The funeral was Tuesday. It was a military funeral with airforce cadets carrying the coffin (young skinny little cadets who were really struggling... I felt bad for them... but honored that they were there), folding the flag, doing the 21 gun salute (or in actuality, seven people firing three times directly at us with blanks), and playing Taps. Last time I saw a Mason's funeral, now I've seen a military funeral. For some reason it's the rituals of a funeral that get to me and make me cry... seeing the cops stopped on the corner to let the procession pass through a light... the cadets saluting the coffin... handing the flag to the widow... At my grandpa's funeral it was passing over the railroad tracks and seeing the railmen with their hats over their hearts and the lights flashing that did it (he worked for the railroad).

The whole time I kept thinking, 'I'm the only one with a dad that's still living.' My first uncle was only 55. This uncle was only 62. My dad is almost 65... he's older than both of them. It just hit me that my mom is almost 70. It wasn't just the death of my uncle, it was my parent's mortality staring me in the face. I hope they live another 20-30 years... but even though as I grow older, 50 and 60 don't sound as old as they used to... 70 still sounds old... Grandma is 84 now. I think she's only two years younger than my great-grandmother was when she passed on. It was all staring me in the face.

There were good moments though. Grandpa, when he knew he was dying, put together a photo album that chronicled his life and detailed some of our family tree. I decided to take pictures of the pictures because I want to know about my past. You want irony? The hero of the novel I wrote was named Hagan. My great-great-great grandmother's last name was Hagan. I didn't know it at the time... I picked that name out about seven years ago when I used it in a screenplay I still haven't finished. Spooky, huh? Anyway, I videotaped mom and grandma flipping through the album and talking about it... it's good stuff. Now I know something about our past. I'm more Cherokee than I thought. Let's see... if my great-grandfather's father was half Cherokee, then I'm... carry the one... hmmm... not much of a Cherokee.


I also got to see my little cousin Eli. He is such a cute kid. He drug a huge photo album over and sat next to me on the couch, then for about an hour we looked at the album and he told me what he did and didn't like (Likes: little slides, trampolines, being called 'little Eli', toys... Dislikes: swings, water, long hair (on him), being big, big slides, merry-go-rounds, being in his momma's belly, and my nose piercing). He's three'ish, and hyper, so mom was astounded that he focused on something for that long. I was just astounded that I haven't seem him since he was two, and he likes me!


Random thought: If someone (I'm thinking Native American Indian way back when) kills a wolf, skins it, and wears the hide... and then he encounters a pack of wolves... would he be better off or worse off because he's wearing the hide?


And here are some random pics I snapped:


This is the loooooooooooooooooooooong bridge over the Atchafalaya swamp (pronounced chuf-uh-lie-uh... it doesn't have to make sense). That water just goes on and on and on... I wonder how long (and how much money) it took them to build the bridge, and why they didn't just find an easier spot.




I should also remark that in Lousiana there is a decided lack of roadkill... every other road in America has roadkill. Hmmm.


Tupelo, Mississippi is where Elvis was born. Tiny little shotgun shack. Didn't go there this time, we were on our way to the mall (Barnes & Noble!), but here's a sign for you... ooh... aah...:





My grandma has always washed plastic dishes and cutlery. We blame it on the fact that she lived through The Great Depression. It irritates the peeyoodle out of mom (yes, peeyoodle) because it misses the whole point of using disposable dinnerware. But now, it seems she's going one step further and now she's starting to wash styrofoam cups, tops, and straws as well. I offer you photographic evidence that I don't make this shit up.


Sigh.



This is boudin (boo-dan). I know it looks like a turd, but it's boudin. Trust me. I ate it. It's boudin. I'm not exactly sure what's in it, but I think it's where Louisiana roadkill goes to die. It reminds me of haggis, actually, but spicy, and mushy. I think it's chicken, rice, spices, and... um... secret ingredients... Not sure it's the best travel food, but it's what mom wanted, so we stopped in Breau Bridge, where (incidentally) one of my best friends grew up, and bought some at Rees Market... Maybe that's what's upsetting my stomach today...





A dirigible.

Or a giant bomb.



Pretty.



Storm clouds a brewin'. (stop looking at the sun... you'll burn your retinas!)





Sometimes... when you're in a car for an extended period of time... 'you' meaning 'me'... you find things amusing that ordinarily would not amuse you... This is one such thing...




video

This is a small sampling of the view from the Atchafalaya bridge, but you won't get the full effect unless you loop it for about 45 minutes... then you'll start to see what I mean when I say the bridge seems like the complicated way to do it...

video

9 comments:

  1. It is so good to have you back, Kristy. Lots of things for you to think about, I know. I thought a lot about mortality when my dad died. My mom is going to be 80 this year, we just got back from visiting her.
    No roadkill in Louisiana, because, as you implied...the locals think of the highways as the meat section of a supermarket, maybe???
    I don't know where you get these random thoughts of yours!

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  2. Realizing we are all mortal is a tough thing to think about. Losing the ones we love... even tougher. Learning your roots is amazing. Being able to remember it... something I can't do, for the life of me! Not nearly enough brain cells left with the memories etched firmly enough. Everything is just bits and pieces, papers, photos and computer records. Thank goodness for those.

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  3. Random answer, speaking as a quarter Chickasaw, I don't want to wear a wolf hide. Although I don't think it would matter because the wolves would still smell human.

    Love the pictures of the clouds, very bright and pretty.

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  4. Joe - I am speshul... and immortal. =)

    Ms. A - I can't remember it all either... that's why I take so many pictures.

    TS - I wouldn't want to wear a wolf's hide either, but I figure back then it was live off what the land provides and don't waste anything.

    What I was thinking was if that particular wolf had some kind of odor or something that the other wolves didn't like, whoever was wearing the hide may be worse off than if he or she wasn't wearing the hide. Or maybe the faint odor of wolf would make the wolves curious and cautious and it would benefit the person.

    I don't know what the hell I was thinking when it popped into my head... my brain hasn't really been functioning lately...

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  5. Glad to have you back, and that post was a nice tribute to an even better man.

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  6. Awesome post. Glad to hear you are back.

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  7. I am really sorry Kristy. But I understand completely about your own parents mortality staring you in the face. It's funny (well, not really) that the same thing happened to me when my uncle died. For some reason it made me think long and hard about things.

    I am here for you if you need me!
    xoxox

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  8. Military funerals....I have been involved in more than a few..they are actually one of the most touching tributes somebody could offer in my opinion. I'm sorry for all that you have had to deal with...

    You know if a wolf has been around people, then the man smell is a good thing. Wolves don't like people generally (they mean danger). If the wolf had never been around a man, they wouldn't know the smell anyway. I wouldn't mind the wolf skin as long as I had the rifle along with me :)

    Lovin the pics.......

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  9. It's good to have you back Kristy! My grandfather had a military service (proud WWII Marine)....

    I tried not to cry, I really did, but there were two times, when I saw his picture on the service pamphlet and when they played taps and presented the flag....

    But, overall I knew that the thing that made my grandfather the happiest was having the family together, and even though it took the unfortunate circumstance to get us there, we knew he was smiling down on us....

    I'm glad you were able to go....

    One more thing.... How do you resist the urge to say 'Bless You' every time somebody says Atchafalaya?

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