March 9, 2018
I remember Dad calling Papa in 2005. Papa informed him that he was not leaving Gretna because the storm wouldn’t hit him.
I remember the silent dark drive after waking up from a long car ride. North Louisiana gas stations with moving copper walls. June Bugs. 3 A.M. The world became another place that late, a world asleep with night sweats from the humidity that made road signs blur. My little head against my bunched up animal cover just so that I could watch out the window, trying to get a glimpse of the bayous so ominous at night. Roof tiles on dead grass, blades on the surviving weeds coated in dew to wet my socks. I was the last of three very tired, uncharacteristically quiet children to step into the house. Mama and Dad had argued in Tulsa, in Texas, no one was happy. I wasn’t either, I spent my childhood being numb.
A great foyer, living room and house inside with the decade of the 70’s vomit inside. Papa was a renaissance man, a futurist back then. Now he was better described as an alcoholic sun spot with piercing, glacial eyes. Rising from a black leather chair, a hug to each of us, a kiss, a scent of Crown Royal that I thought was cologne until I smelt a whiskey bottle years later. A vague Scottish Brogue drunkenly relaxed on an old tongue. When it was this late, we didn’t mind his slow shuffling to the kitchen. We’d been here before. We knew Honey Buns would come to us warm at the kitchen table on paper plates. I’d look at the Japanese painting on the white wall as I ate the disgustingly sweet bread, pulling back sticky clear wrapper to chew on sugar-slimed golden bread that was so weak it melted. I felt the same way, allowing myself to melt into the bed as the sun rose over a Katrina-hit Louisiana.
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