A Weekend In New Orleans

A Weekend In New Orleans

Friends rang us from the West Indies. Their vacation was coming to a close, but they could spend the weekend with us in New Orleans if we would meet them there. It was a deal. Our meeting was still a week away when Barb and I loaded our pickup camper and rolled out of Dallas.

There was a time when we immediately went from job mode to that of truck driver, covering as many miles as we could in the shortest possible time. But that was then. These days we travel more slowly, halting for the slightest reason and tarrying there for as long as possible. Such was the case during this trek.

The first day we actually traveled a bit further than one hundred miles. Perhaps we would have traveled further had it not been for a few thousand pecans lying about where we paused for lunch. I gathered a few pounds while Barb prepared a meal. Then we both gathered nuts in earnest. In all, we colledted some forty pounds.

Having a camper enabled us to spend our nights on WalMart property. The next morning, after replenishing our groceries, we continued out sojourn. Steady by jerks, we traveled the five hundred miles to New Orleans, consuming the entire five days. The following morning I waited until their scheduled arrival and I calculated adding additional time for baggage claim, taxi and such before issuing Dale’s amateur radio call sign on two-meters (we are both licensed hams). He answered promptly.

Did you you leave Dallas early this morning?” he asked.

No. Actually, we left five days ago,” I said, then adding, “we travel rather slowly.

After a brief pause we learned where they would be staying and headed in that direction.

The days that followed were the most enjoyable in recent times. Together, we sailed the Mississippi on the Riverboat Natchez, visited a world famous World War Two Museum, and rode a streetcar.

It was the morning of Mother’s Day when we paused at the corner where we assumed the streetcar would stop, and met a short blind man in a pink suit. Mason was his name. Directly, folks began to gather. Soon, there were more than twenty of us. Dale having just finished telling me how he attracted people shouted “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY”.

Blind Mason wove his way through the crowd. Stopping directly in front of Dale, he cast those empty eye sockets toward Dale’s face and said: “You don’t look like a mother to me,” he said.

What did I just tell you,” said Dale.

That evening, as we strolled along Bourbon Street a group burst from a club. A tall black man with a trombone lead the way marching in half-step. Bringing up the rear, a short woman in pink worked a matching parasol up and down in time with the beat. A half-block down they doubled back and returned to the club. What they did was called the “second line”, the first line being that which follows a funeral.

Before we were ready, it was time for them to continue their trek home to the Pacific Northwest.

Together, we had made a memory.

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