“I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it.”
Happy Sunday My Loves!
I ran across this quote and decided to share it with you. Many of you may remember Jonathan Winters as an improvisational genius, observational humorist, actor and artist. If you are not familiar with his work, I encourage you to peruse his repertoire 🙂
Now, with Mr. Winters as my inspiration, I want to encourage you to start doing whatever it is that you dream of doing. Feel free to keep today’s quote nearby and allow it to energize you to move forward and refuse to be bothered with whether or not your actions will lead to “success.” Verily I say unto you, if you are doing what you love, by default, you are already succeeding!
So, as you continue with your day, make a vow to begin moving your dreams and goals out of the abstract into the actual.
In the meantime, cultivate loving relationships (pets count too!) and admire the beauty around you. Always seek advice from your higher power; I call this power God. If that doesn’t resonate with you, consider finding and making a connection with something that you can believe in. Resist any temptation to be unkind; promise yourself that you will do better if you slip.
After you accomplish these tasks…do them again every day! Expect insights and revelations! Your intuition will lead you to the next step; just keep moving!
Surely by now you are wondering, “What gives this chick the right to tell me what I should be doing?” Well, I really can’t give you an adequate answer to that question; however, I do know that you and I are more alike than we are different and just like you, I have dreams and goals that I would like to see come to fruition. That said, by encouraging you, I am encouraging me!
Okay, my loves, it’s time for us to go ahead! Who has time to wait for ‘success?’
Dr. Samuel Johnson, an English writer born in 1709, once said, “Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”. Proverbs 17:28 reads, “even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent”. However, one of the many peculiarities of a fool is unpredictability. This quality was never more evident than in the following link in an ever growing and seemingly endless—in the words of the “Queen of Soul”—“Chain of Fools”. So it goes in Gramp’s story about “Man”. But first, let me tell you what I personally know about Man; a fisherman, he was not!
Once while fishing down on Carter Creek, my father, brother and I had the distinct pleasure of being present when Man and his mother came ambling down the hill towards the creek; cane poles on shoulders, and 5 gallon buckets in hand. Those buckets were multipurpose tools. In them, one could carry; a lunch, bait, drinks and tackle. Once at the desired fishing hole, one could flip the bucket over, and use it as a stool. If by chance, fish were caught, the bucket could be used to hold the fish. Man and his mom had two buckets.
We had been fishing for a couple of hours by the time Man and his mom showed up. Fishing is one of those activities that you either love or hate. Patience is definitely a virtue when fishing. Anyway, man’s mom quickly got herself situated. She, “unwound” her poles (unwinding being the process of freeing the fishing line from around the pole, to which it is attached). Man on the other hand, seemed to be struggling mightily with his one pole. Finally, he freed the line from the pole and was ready to fish.
Man whipped his bait and bobber towards the creek like an Egyptian taskmaster driving stubborn charges. The rig landed with a loud “Kersplat!” upon the surface of the creek, sending ripples spiraling out as if they were trying their best to escape the unheralded intruders of line, cork, weight and bobber-and Man. Five minutes rolled by; then ten minutes. Man wasn’t even getting a nibble. He whipped his line into the air above; the willowy tip of the pole whistling as it went. He then lashed it back onto the water; crossing several of our lines in the process. When no nibble was to be had in the new location, Man exclaimed, “Ma, it’s time to rind up! Let’s go, it’s time to rind up”. With that declarative, Man “rind” his line around his pole and trudged off up the hill. Man’s fishing day was thus, concluded.
Gramp shared the following nugget from the “life of Man.”
Once, Man and his mother went to town to pick up some, much needed, items. Outside the store was a bench where old men who hated shopping, as well as those with nothing else to do, would sit and watch the cars pass. “Sit on that bench Man, and don’t say a word to nobody, ‘lessen they think you’re some kind of fool!” she stated emphatically. “Bible says, ‘a foolish son brings grief ta his Pappy and bitterness to the Mammy that birthed him’, now sit there and be quiet.
By-and-by, as people passed the boy sitting on the bench, some extended sundry salutations to him. Of course, in single-minded obedience to his mother, Man said nothing. No matter what was said to him, he broke not-his silence. Finally, a large, imposing gentleman sauntered past the boy and boomed, “Hello there young man!” Man, of course, said nothing. The big man stopped in his tracks and wheeled about, casting a steely-eyed glare upon the boys flushed face. “Hello Boy!” he bellowed, but still, Man maintained his stalwart silence. “What’s wrong boy, cat got your tongue?” the man queried harshly. But still, nothing from the boy but complete silence. Finally, exasperated, the man declared, “Son, you must be some kinda fool!” and with that, he strode angrily away.
Eventually Man’s mother exited the store, groceries in hand. “Well son”, she said somewhat proudly, “I see you managed to stay outta trouble whilst I was gone”. “Not really Ma”, replied Man, “I did jes lak you said and the peoples found out I was a fool anyhow!” he finished shamefully.
They say, “Silence is Golden”, but in this case, the gold must have been “Fool’s Gold.” Perhaps a better position to take, when it comes to silence and foolishness, is reflected in this quote by an unknown author, “Wise people are not always silent, but they know when to be”.
In conclusion: I’ll leave you with this thought; “Never approach a goat from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any side”.
But enough about fools. Did you know that chewing gum is re-usable? Gramp found this out on one of her visits to the home of some of her students. The story is called, THERE’S NO JUICE IN JUICY FRUIT. (Next week)
***Note: This post is based on last week’s post “That’s My Jam!”
Okay, let me be frank. It’s not really fair for me to say that any song from 1966 or 1967 is my ‘jam.’ I say this because I don’t have first-hand experiences to associate with them. Truthfully speaking, I learned these songs from my mother, her friends and my aunts–holler back Jet and Bobbie Sue! By the way, I’ll tell you more about my Aunt Bobbie Sue another time- she is a fan favorite of “The Good Doctor,” a well-known DJ in LA (Lower Alabama).
Moving on! When I was a kid, most old ‘jams’ typically stayed in radio rotation via ‘flash-backs.’ The term ‘flashback’ refers to songs from the past. Generally speaking, whenever the DJ was about to play a ‘flashback,’ he would use his best Casey Kasem style DJ voice to say something like “Flashback-1966!” By the way, if you don’t know Casey Kasem as a DJ then by God you have to know him as the voice of ‘Shaggy’ from “Scooby Doo.”
Anyway, apparently, ‘flashbacks’ became popular enough for some stations to develop programs that exclusively featured older songs; you know, “oldies but goodies.” I remember ‘flashbacks’ and ‘oldies but goodies’ because my mom and I would listen to the radio every day. Even now, I can still hear the call letters of mom’s favorite station because they were sung in beautiful harmony: “W-T-H-B…Au-GUS-ta.” Sorry to digress, but that 40-something year old soundbite is now cemented into my DNA!
Now, as promised, I will share with you some of my favorite songs from 1966-1967. Please bear in mind that these are all soul songs (they didn’t really use the term ‘R&B’ back then). It is also important to note that while I do have just as many ‘rock and roll’ favorites from that time frame they are not the focus of this series. Don’t worry; I will probably do something with that genre at a later date.
Now let’s go!
“You Keep me Hangin on” by The Supremes
As a teen and young adult, this was my ‘go to’ song when I felt like I was being played in a relationship! I love the fact that Diana called her dude’s ass out! This Diva said, “Why don’t you be a man about it and set me free! You don’t care a thing about me, you just using me! Go on get out of my life and let me sleep at night…”
Yass! Take that!
“Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett
This used to be one of my Aunt Nell’s favorites!
If you don’t know the “Wicked Pickett” then my heart goes out to you! That joker right there screamed all over this track! Ms. Eva, my dear mother and guardian angel, used to play this song while she was cooking collard greens and chitterlings! Oh grow up! It was what it was! We’re from the deep South!
Anyway, this song tells the tale of a man who bought his lady a 1965 Mustang. Sadly, ole girl ‘ran around town’ with other guys in the car that he bought! Yes, I am clutching my pearls too! Anyway, Wicked Pickett calls her out by saying “I guess I have to put your flat feet on the ground!” Translation: Give me back my car and start footin’ it!
“Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville
Having been done wrong, our hero decides to let his woman know that he is not “a little boy!”
It’s funny to me how Aaron Neville’s look doesn’t really match his voice. Homeboy looks like a buff gang-banger but his voice is as sweet as a baby’s coo! Still, he is quite handsome in his own way.
“Cold Sweat” by James Brown
Old school rappers used to sample the hell out of this track! For readers of my post, “That’s My Jam,” I submit this song as your first lesson on ‘the one.’ Now, there really is nothing else that I can say about “Cold Sweat” except, as the title implies, it’s COLD!
“Soul Finger” by the BarKays
This one is a real groove! I dare you to listen to it and NOT pop your fingers! Go ahead, try!
On a different note, the story didn’t end well for most of the original members of the BarKays and I WILL cry if I keep thinking about it. Much respect.
“Make Me Yours” by Bettye Swann
“I never had a love to call my own. I was about to give up and then you came along!” Yass! This lady was in LOVE! Do you hear me? You know how it is when you fall so HARD for someone! Well, in my mind, Bettye nailed the emotions that come with a blossoming love affair.
Aw….I hate to end it here but I have to!
Having said that, please realize that this list is by no means exhaustive! I wish that I had time and space to include all of my favorites. I would love to hear your thoughts about my selections as well as a list of your soul favorites from 1966 and 1967.
I hate to admit it, but I love poking around on the internet. I usually like searching for ‘how to’ articles; best believe you can learn how to clone a wombat if you troll the interwebs long enough.
At any rate, every so often, while surfing the net, I’ll find myself landing on one of those ‘five facts’ articles. You know the ones where the writer reveals new and intriguing tidbits about someone famous. Well I don’t know about you, but whenever I read one of those things, I have to catch myself before I start following the article’s hyperlinks to virtual web hell.
Either way, ‘five facts’ articles are usually quite interesting; therefore, I have decided to post my own version here. As a bonus, I have also included a few applicable lessons with each fact. Rest assured my loves, you don’t need to worry about getting lost as there are no hyperlinks to maneuver–embedded or otherwise. I simply refuse to connect you to the history of all of my years, my tears and my fears (Nod to Jerome from Martin Lawrence). Trust me; you don’t want to go there! So, without further delay, I present:
Five Facts about Me
I used to date Ernie from Sesame Street
Okay, let me explain! When I was in second grade, Ernie and his friend Bert came to our school to perform. During the performance, Ernie revealed that his girlfriend, Gwin, was in the audience and he asked that I stand up. When I stood up you could hear all of the kids yell “Ooh-wee, Gwin goes with Ernie!” Yeah I was completely surprised myself. Suffice it to say I was the envy of the playground set! Sorry, but out of respect for Ernie I cannot comment any further on our relationship.
Lesson: Expect good things to catch you by surprise!
I once was a budding violinist
As a youngster, I took violin lessons for about two years and I briefly played in the All County Orchestra. However, being the wise young lady that I was, I quit playing violin so that I could be a majorette in the marching band. Who says that I didn’t have my priorities straight?
Friends, I know that there are thousands of professional violinists in this world but I got no idea how many professional majorettes there are. Imagine the doors that might have opened for me had I continued playing violin?
Lesson:Don’t quit shit so fast; you never know where it could lead. Other lesson, there are no mistakes- so let it go Gwin!
I am a 1st Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo
When I was in my early 30’s, my son and I became 1st Degree Black Belts in Taekwondo. Friends, from the moment that I put on the White Belt, I knew that I would become a Black Belt. You see, by now, I had learned my lesson on quitting and I was hell-bent on sticking with it! By the way, the 1st Degree Black Belt is really just the beginning of another longer journey. I didn’t quit, I simply opted not to continue 🙂
Lesson:Even you can break a board if you practice and do not QUIT!
I am addicted to 1960’s and 1970’s Sitcoms and Cartoons
I can spend hours on end watching “Bewitched,” “Twilight Zone,” “The Peanuts,” and “Sanford and Son.” Please don’t challenge my knowledge on any of these because it could get ugly! By the way, as a die-hard Bewitched fan, I must affirm my devotion to the original Darrin, Dick York!
In addition, please note that if it is Halloween, I AM watching Linus as he waits in vain for that damn Great Pumpkin! Like Sally, I plan to wait with him until one of us dies!
As for the Twilight Zone, Mr. Garrity and the Graves is a MUST!
Lesson: Fred G. Sanford is a freaking genius! Listen to him carefully and learn!
I make a mean chili!
There’s no way that I can convince you that this is true so you’ll just have to come to dinner and see for yourself. By the way, if you do come over, BRING COCKTAILS!
Lesson:Always bring something good to the table!
I hope that you have enjoyed reading five facts about me. Why don’t you tell me something interesting about you?
Hi! My name is Gwin and I am a writer, storyteller and photographer! There, I said it!
Yes, I am fully aware that this is a strong declaration. My friends, it HAS to be! Why? Because I have concluded that I don’t need anyone to tell me what I already know about myself! I am the one who defines who I am.
Do I sound radical? Well… er…um…for the sake of clarity let me rewind this story!
Right before my last birthday, I began to think about becoming a ‘writer,’ but I immediately dismissed that thought. Then, out of nowhere, I heard my inner voice say: “Gwin, what in the hell are you thinking? If you are a writer then write! If you are a storyteller then tell stories! If you are a photographer then take pictures! You don’t have to submit your stuff to anybody! You don’t need a formal title; you just need to go about the business of doing the damn thing! Do it for you!”
Oh yeah, me and I had a good long talk!
Anyway, during this conversation with myself, I realized that I had spent WAY too much time being afraid. You see, I had always dreamed of becoming a writer/storyteller/photographer, but I never seriously pursued doing those things because I was worried that my work wouldn’t be accepted. In my mind’s eye, I could just see all of my writings and pictures being thrown back at me in big golden envelopes –stamped with the word “REJECTION”—capitalized in bold red; and that, my friends, spooked the hell out of me!
Well now I’m over it! So I started a blog where I can post whatever I want! And you, my loves, are acting as witnesses to my dreams! I thank you so much for that!
OK, that’s enough about me and my wings! What about yours? Tell me what ‘opens your wings?’
One of the stories that Gramp used to tell was about a Man named, Boy. Boy was a full grown man, but he had the mind of a child. He was a tall, slender man with brown weather-worn skin, toughened from many days spent under the hot Georgia Sun. He could usually be seen wearing an old, soiled cap; the kind with the “ear flaps” which, by the way, he always wore pulled down over his ears; summer, winter, spring, or fall. That cap, a pair of “turned over” brogan boots, and bib overalls was, every day except Sunday, his “uniforme de la journée”.
Boy would probably have been termed a “simpleton”, in another day and time, or a “fool” by some of the less tactful members of society, for his behavior was indeed odd, to say the least. Of the most amusing, and thereby, conspicuous of Boy’s eccentricities was his “driving.” Now you might wonder, “Why would anyone allow this man a license to drive?” Well truth is, no-one did. Boy had neither license nor motor vehicle. “Well how did he drive?” one might ask. Boy’s driving was along a more, shall we say, “abstract” bent. To “drive”, all Boy needed was a wheel from an old, “little red wagon”, or some such object, as his “steering wheel” and “Vvrrooommm!” Off he went! On foot, in reality, but to Boy; he could have, just as well, ‘been driving a Lincoln Continental; “diamond in the back, sunroof top” et al.
Another of Boy’s idiosyncrasies was wearing all of his neckties at once, and he had a slew of neckties. Of course, he only wore them on Sunday, but on Sunday, he wore them all! One benefit of this habit was that Boy never had to waste any time on Sunday morning, figuring out what to wear–at least not when it came to ties!
Once, some Samaritan-minded individual asked of Boy, “Boy, why do you wear all of your ties at once?” Boy’s response left the Samaritan somewhat disarmed, for Boy began to cry. He cried a loud, ugly, grown man cry and replied pleadingly, “I love my ties!” The Samaritan, realizing his error, placed a comforting arm around Boy’s shoulders and in a reassuringly calm tone rejoined, “Go on son, wear your ties. Wear your ties”.
But hey! Last time, I was talking about “Educated fools” and “Strornado fools”, but Boy was neither! Merriam-Webster says a fool is:
A person lacking in judgment or intelligence.
A person retained by a king or sovereign as entertainment.
One who is victimized or made to appear foolish.
A harmlessly deranged person or one lacking in common powers of understanding.
Which one, pray tell, was Boy? I think that Boy was neither. He was perhaps, mentally challenged, but no fool. Now a fool, on the other hand; that’s a different animal all together!
Last week, I promised you a story about a man called “Boy”; I delivered. For a story about a boy called “Man”, check out seekthebestblog next week.
This morning, while taking my daughter to school, I got shook! I mean completely knocked the hell over! I was utterly caught off-guard! Do you want to know what did it? A song! Yes my loves, I was knocked off my ass by a song.
Here’s the interesting part, the song that initiated all of this madness was not well known by the masses. However, it held special significance for me because I listened to it over and over during my pre-teen years. I guess I was pining away over a fictitious relationship that I ‘had’ with this dude down the street. Anyway, when I heard the song today, I was immediately bum-rushed by every single image that I had ever seen or imagined from the year 1981.
Now that I have sufficiently tortured you with preliminaries, I guess I should name that tune! Are you ready? It was “Who’s Been Kissing You?” by: Hot Cuisine. Yeah…you probably don’t know it right off hand. However, you can go to You-tube and check it out, here’s the link.
Whoa! I think I hear the distant chattering of ‘old head’ music buffs questioning my song knowledge. Well let me explain…
You see, I was lucky enough to have been born into a magical time and place. In this place, there reigned a powerful Godfather, not the Italian mobster; I am talking about Soul Brother Number One! Anyway, our Godfather infused the city’s airwaves with esoteric knowledge on ‘the good foot’ and ‘the one.’
Here’s a quick primer: ‘The good foot’ refers to the dance and the ‘the one’ refers to the beat. Now, if you require more information on either of these concepts you might want to consult with world renowned Funk Bassist Bootsy Collins.
Anyhow, as a natural born student of soul music, I would spend any given day in 1981 taping songs. You see, back in those days, we didn’t buy songs; we taped them as they were being played on the radio. In order to do this, you had to place a cassette tape into a tape recorder, press play/record, and sit it right next to the radio. Some might call that piracy; I choose to call it creativity.
At any rate, I would sit for hours waiting for the DJ to play my favorite songs so that I could include them on my tape. Most times this strategy worked pretty well. Then other times, not so much! I remember getting pissed when the DJ played my jam just as I was going to the bathroom or just as I was coming back from making a peanut butter sandwich. In cases like these, I either stopped in my tracks in order to try to record as much of the song as I could or I had to wait until the joker played it again. Damn! Kids today don’t know anything about that!
Now on days when I was particularly bored or had a bunch of cassettes, I would simply record everything that the DJ played-at least until I ran out of tapes.
Suffice it to say, I had collected a massive hodge-podge of songs from 1981 (and years prior). Some songs were popular and some were not. But once I had captured them onto my cassettes I learned them all! Hence, the reason that I know songs like “Gigolette” by Ozone-featuring Teena Marie or the song that tipped me over this morning! I hope you’re smiling!
What’s the point of all of this? Hell I don’t know! Just kidding! No, here’s the point, I have decided to post some of my favorite songs from the past along with a little commentary every Thursday. I would love to hear your feedback on my selections as well as your suggestions of other songs from that week’s time period. Just so you know, you can shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss!
In the meantime, if you think you know a little sumthin’ about old school soul, funk and R&B GET AT ME!
When I was a kid my friends and I loved going to the ‘rich neighborhood’ to look at beautiful houses with large picture windows. I recall peering through those windows and imagining cheerful wives preparing world class dinners for their handsome husbands.
In my mind, the families who lived there had no troubles or worries; just pounds and pounds of pleasure!
After admiring the houses in the ‘rich neighborhood,’ my friends and I would sometimes take a short-cut through ‘the hood’ to get home.
If you don’t know what ‘the hood’ is, go google ‘hood’ images and rejoin me after you have had time to review the results.
At any rate, ‘the hood’ that I am speaking of was exactly two left turns from the tony neighborhood with the big picture windows.
Uh oh, you seem surprised by the proximity of these two polar opposite realms? Don’t be! Believe it or not, my friend Gloria swears that you can always find ‘the hood’ by taking two right turns from any wealthy district.
While I have no way of verifying that this is always the case, it was certainly the case in this story.
Anyway, let’s just say that ‘the hood’ was—DIFFERENT. There I saw frazzled wives asking their dog-tired husbands for a dollar or two. Clearly, this scene was not at all like the one I imagined as I walked through the ‘rich neighborhood.’
Sorry, friends, it had not yet occurred to me that I was comparing real situations to imaginary scenarios. At any rate, in my childish mind, it was clear that in ‘the hood’ there was mostly trouble, big worries and nothing much to be pleased about.
Sadly, after years of conducting this side by side comparison of rich and not so rich, I had come to the misguided conclusion that if you wanted to be happy, ALL you needed was a lot of money and that was all there was to that!
Yeah, like many Americans, I bought into THAT delusion.
Anyhow, as fate would have it, several years later, I ended up attending a high school that had a very diverse socioeconomic population.
If you had surveyed our school’s student parking lot you would have found Jaguars, Mercedes, Buicks, Nissans, Hoopties and everything in between.
Of course, there were also students who came from families who had no car at all.
I used to joke that some of my friend’s parents owned the factory, some managed the factory, some worked at the factory and some couldn’t get hired at the factory!
Laugh if you want to, I am being very serious!
Getting back to the point, as a popular cheerleader, I easily made friends with folks from every economic class and, as a result, I soon learned that many of my ‘rich’ friend’s parents were drunk and fighting and my ‘poor’ friend’s parents were truly enjoying each other’s company (and vice versa).
In short, I learned that you cannot calculate the happiness factor of a family by looking at their bank statement (that’s if they have a bank) or by any other outward measure.
In addition, it finally dawned on me that the ‘cheerful wives’ that I imagined as a child in the rich neighborhood could have been dealing with bankruptcy and physical abuse while the ‘frazzled wives’ that I saw in the hood could have been enjoying relatively happy marital relationships.
So here is the takeaway: Do not make judgments based on exteriors; people are much too complex for that.
Also, do not attach peace, happiness, joy, anger, sadness and pain to financial status. If you do, you will end up leading a very confused life.
Be aware that these feelings are always in a state of flux- and they will take turns grabbing hold of you from time to time regardless of your socioeconomic, ethnic, or educational background.
Your job is to enjoy the good times and find a healthy way to manage the hard times.
Now, detach thyself from all of that mess and go get thine life!
My Great Aunt Vulla was an interesting character. She was a midwife who’d assisted hundreds, maybe even thousands of babies; black, white, and so forth, into this world. She assisted my mother in bringing me here. Aunt Vulla “midwifed” me into the world right there in Gramp’s house on a “miraculous” summer day in 1961. I’m told that when I came into the world, I didn’t cry. They wrapped me in a blanket and laid me in front of the fireplace. I lay there peacefully, growling instead of crying. I don’t remember when I first cried, but immediately succeeding my birth was not that time.
Gramp and Aunt Vulla used to get together at Gramps house from time-to-time. Aunt Vulla would bring her quilting materials. She was a master maker of beautiful, heavy, warm quilts. Her “materials” consisted of needles, thread, thimble, and an immense bag full of cloth scraps of all shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. I don’t think she ever passed by a swatch of cloth that she didn’t save to be used in one of her many and variably wonderful quilts. Over time, she had managed to accumulate a mountain of scraps that would one day become parts of exquisite quilts. Just like she put that rainbow colored, jigsaw puzzle of cloth together into a beautiful quilt, she and Gramp would weave tales from their past; wonderful little anecdotes full of colorful characters, as varied and as interesting as the colors and shapes of the scraps which lay at Aunt Vulla’s feet.
In their telling, they introduced me to a word they often used when describing people of less than stellar mental acumen. That word was “Stornado”. A “Stornado Fool” was a distinct and separate class of fool. A “Stornado fool” was a fool above and beyond any foolishness you might imagine. One of the sisters might say, “Child John is a straight fool.”, then the other would dovetail onto that statement with, “Honey, yes! A Stornado fool!” then they’d whoop with laughter. Man, you could bet that fellow didn’t have sense enough to pour pee out of a boot if it had a sign on it that said “turn upside down” (this, by the way, was another of their sayings). I never knew the origins of “Stornado”. It seemed to be a combination of storm and tornado.
Another type of fool that Gramp used to mention a lot was the “Educated Fool”. This type of fool was not quite as bad as a “Stornado”, but was a disgrace in his or her own right. She seemed to have a particular disdain for an “Educated Fool”. To her, it was especially shameful to waste such a prized and expensive gift on someone who was determined to remain a fool despite being educated; for you see, Gramp had been a teacher for some 30 plus years and knew intimately, the value of an education. She didn’t feel that such a valued gift should be taken lightly.
Thanks to Gramp and Aunt Vulla I learned that: not everyone thought to be a fool is a fool; I learned that some so-called intelligent people can also be fools; I learned that, by any means necessary, avoid “Stornado Fools”; and if I’m ever called a “Stornado Fool”, it is time to take a serious look in the mirror; a penny for your thoughts?
There are a couple of good stories about some “foolish” people that I heard while sitting at Gramp’s and Aunt Vulla’s feet. In honor of Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is today, and who once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt,”let me tell you about a boy named “Man” and a man named “Boy!” –Next week!
Tennessee Williams said it, I didn’t! However, I will say, after having been to New Orleans several times, Mr. Williams was definitely on to something! No shade to Cleveland. Really, I have family there. Hell, I’ve even partied there; the Flats were swinging! But with that said, New Orleans has a special quality that is very hard to express in words. To me, it is a place that you just have to experience. Once you do, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
As I’ve said, I have been to New Orleans multiple times. My most recent trip was in 2013. As soon as I arrived, I remember experiencing a distinct feeling of contented familiarity that had nothing to do with the fact that I had been there before. I mean, it wasn’t because the food was so freaking good or because the people were so friendly; although both of those things were true. It was something altogether different. I just couldn’t call it.
One night while I was attending, of all things, a haunted tour of the French Quarter, I got the solution! It literally walked right up to me in the form of a guide who asked the group to raise their hand if this was their first visit to New Orleans. Everybody raised his hand -except for me. In response to the raised hands, the guide said, “Welcome to New Orleans!” He then looked squarely at me, knowing that I was the only person who had not already raised his hand, and said, “Is there anybody here who has been to New Orleans before?” Of course, I raised my hand high! He then said, “Welcome home!” Boom! That was it! The feeling that I couldn’t identify was the feeling of being at home!
So, today’s post is a pictorial of some of my favorite places in New Orleans! But, before we start, I must offer a caveat: Some of the restaurants that I am going to highlight will likely be considered pedestrian to the average native New Orleanian. However, let me assure you that even the most pedestrian restaurant in New Orleans is light years better than many dining establishments! Yeah, I said it! Also, I didn’t include many pictures of the French Quarter because it’s a given.
Muriel’s is in Jackson Square. If you like creole cooking, you’ll love this place. By the way, Muriel’s has a resident ghost! That fact alone tickles the shit out of me! Anyway, the food there, like the ghost, is out of this world! Damned Cliches! PS: Ladies and Gentlemen, make sure you got yourself some money before you go!
This is another jewel! There is an older lady there that is world renowned for her bread pudding. I got a picture of her but I can’t locate it.
If you ever get a chance to eat Shrimp Etouffee here… Do it!!!
A must for beignets and coffee! However, Cafe Beignet, which is within the French Quarter, is also an excellent choice, and it’s not quite as busy as Cafe Du Monde.
What the hell else can I say about Brennan’s! It gets no better!
*Warning: Finger alert! Anyway, when we ate crawfish at Deanies my NOLA friends told me not to forget to suck the head! Sorry kids!
OK…Let’s talk about places!
You gotta go to Audubon Park! The trees, the duck pond, the surrounding homes and the zoo are breathtaking! Hell, you can get a cheap tour of beautiful homes simply by taking the trolley car up there!
My Dad and Brother would love golfing there!
I don’t know what I did with my shot of Andrew Jackson reared back on his horse! He’s something to see if you are fan. Me, not so much!
Can’t remember where I took this shot! Maybe because I was probably on cocktail #2 Maybe it was also at Audubon Park.
Another must see! Why? Because at this point, ‘Old Man River’ is getting ready to disappear into the Gulf of Mexico!
Sadly, Katrina was still very ‘present’ in NOLA, even in 2013. I just can’t help wondering what happened to all of those people who survived but were displaced from their lifelong homes.
Since I am not a New Orleans native, I can’t accurately identify this site but I can tell you that it was either near or in the lower ninth ward. NOLA fans help me out!
Much respect to those who lost their lives, family and homes during Katrina.
With that said, I’d like to pay homage to them with this final shot: