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Old Man River
5:56 p.m. - 2003-07-10

Jason continues his "adventures". He went to catch crawdads the other day. I think he uses them for bait. Much fun has been had with the grandchildren, dangling a piece of bacon from a string, catching the crawdads and throwing them into a bucket, then watching the kiddies squeal when the creatures tried to crawl out. Crawdads look like little lobsters. Last night Jane asked me if I had ever eaten one, and I told her that yes, I had some breaded and fried in Louisiana last year. Jason said that when he was in the Navy, he went to a seafood shack across the river (or bayou or bay) from New Orleans and watched people eat huge platters of crawdads that had been boiled in a spicy solution. He says they didn't even shell them or take the (ugh) legs off, but just chomped them down, breaking off the head and sucking out the contents. I like my food disguised, meat only, breaded and fried preferably. Anyway....Jason went to the canal down the street, but slipped on the bank and fell, hurting his tailbone a bit and wrenching his back a bit. Then, a few days later, he tried again, but slipped again, but on the way down, not wanting to reinjure the same spot, he twisted and landed on his elbow, and now his shoulder is sore and he can't lift his arm much. So he was complaining about that in a humorous way. I told him that it is the week for male injury, since the spousal unit fried his back working in the yard on Sunday. Usually I am able to catch him in time and put sunscreen on him, which he whines about in a manly way. Abby and I had been watching Trading Spaces, the one where Doug paints the dining room a deep bubblegum pink, and I couldn't help but notice that my husband was now the same color as that room.

This talk of crawdads puts me in mind (a little Southern lingo there) of our trip last fall to Natchez. Natchez is one of the most pleasant memories of my life. He had made reservations for us in a renovated Victorian cottage on The Bluff overlooking the Mississippi. The bridge was visible off to the left, Louisiana visible across the river, and the great flowing river off to the right. It is one of those towns that seems to turn golden as the sun is setting. The B&B was owned by a single guy, late 30's or early 40"s, who told us how the street of lovely old homes on The Bluff had gone through hard times but was now being renovated. There used to be a street in front of the homes, but when they built a support wall for the bluff, they took out the street and put in a landscaped walk along the cliff. Most beautiful; restored victorians to your right, river view to your left, lovely evening to walk along, holding hands.

That evening we had dinner a short walk away in a really nice BBQ place called the Pig Out. We walked around a lot and looked at the homes. Natchez has more antebellum homes than just about anyplace, and because they take great pride in their city, most have been fixed up and preserved. Every year or so they have the Pilgrimage, a home tour, that raises money for beautification and preservation, and they have been doing that since the 30's. We had never heard of it before, but as luck would have it, we happened to be there during the Pilgimage, so we signed up for the tour the next day, my birthday. I enjoyed that very much, the homes were gorgeous.

The B&B guy served us breakfast the next morning, and it was the best meal of the trip. He even made biscuits in a star shape that were his specialty, very flaky and buttery, and he sat with us on the porch overlooking the river and told us about the town. He also told us that there was once a town photographer who had passed along the business to his son, and the whole collection of photographic plates, spanning a period from the mid 1800's to about the 20's had been saved and some of the prints made from them were on exhibit in the church a few blocks away. We made sure to go see them the morning we left, one of the highlights of the whole trip.

I would love to go back there someday, maybe in the spring when the dogwoods are in bloom.

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