Archive for October 2010
Outside of his wife Joyce, Bob’s favorite things in life could be summed up in two words: food and the music they call doo-wop (because so many of the songs have backup repeating over and over “doo-wop, doo-wop”). And the twain met last Thursday at the Two Rivers Restaurant in the General Butler Kentucky State Park in Carrollton: The Lunchbunch meets The Aquatones.
And the winner is….
Okay, me, too!
I paid. Bob tipped. Willie should return next week; it’s her turn to choose. CB’s turn to pay. Willie’s turn to tip.
Some of us were home from the hinterland (fle and cb from a blues jaunt through Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana) and one of us was not home (willie is still beating the bushes of New England looking for the mother lode of scrabble (copyright til you die) ratings. The three remaining of us repasted, rejoiced and riposted our elderly hearts out as we gathered around a table at Lake Manor Restaurant on Route 68.
Bob arrived bearing gifts of vine-ripened Tennessee tomatoes (They are delicious)! I arrived having forgotten to bring Bob back some barbecued ribs from my Louisiana trip (sorry, Bob).
It was third time around for the Lunchbunch. I promised to steer clear of the catfish (which I had eschewed on our previous visit). I did. I’m glad I did.
The salad bar is delectable, filled with my favorite goodies like chicken salad, ham salad, green pea salad and just all kinds of fattening-gunk. The food is just okay, a real surprise since everything else is receptive, warm and accommodating.
9 for the experience. 9 for the salad bar. 5.1 for the food (hamburger steak, fried chicken, pork chops).
And then, sadly, the sun set.
Bob paid. CB tipped. Bob chose. Next week is also Bob’s for an encounter with a musician friend of his: Bob and I will drive to General Butler State Park in Carrollton, Kentucky, to lunch with Dave Goddard, one of the original members of the doo-wop group, The Aquatones (from NYC, of course).
Problem with good times is the bluesy mood that follows them. And so it is on this Monday, a kind of wistfulness as we pack Tranq and head back to Cincinnati and Lathrup Village.
Yesterday’s Crescent City music was as good as it gets. Mem Shannon, Shannon McNally and Jon Cleary – three superb musicians/entertainers held me in their thrall easy as pie. I wuz mesmerized, hynotized and baptized in the beauty of their musical manipulations.
The day ended with an hourlong search all over hell and gone for some genuine Louisiana food nd when we found it (but none of us can remember the name of the restaurant) we scored a 9.5! Shrimp fried. Shrimp in sauce (roumelade?). Shrimp in gumbo. And enough for breakfast today, too. Food heaven’s entrance is Louisiana.
While CB and I rollicked and rolled to the tunes in Lafayette Park Square, Don caught a taxi and discovered wonders – music and otherwise – in other parts of the city, making me a tad envious, although he did bring me a pin for my hate, one of a fleur-de-lis, symbol of New Orleans, especially the New Orleans Saints football team.
Physically, I think this oxygen made it possible for me to manage the trip. Although it’s been unbelievably exhausting, the sights and music and sense of adventure and discovery have masked my own physical shortcomings, for the most part. I did have one fall, in Tranq, which created some hysteria (in me) and resulted in some bruised ribs. I feel this trip has been a marvelous gift to me and I can’t thank CB & Don enough for their help, encouragement and forbearance.
I gotta get off this computer and get myself showered and girded for the trip home.
Thousands of us jammed ourselves belly-to-belly in New Orleans’ Lafayette Square Park yesterday for the first day of the Crescent City Blues and Barbecue Festival. Little Freddie King ruled the day musically (my opinion); he can go both ways. Other music was wonderful, although I wondered who ever fit it into the blues category and why. Still, while the bass players were doing their damnedest to blow the speakers, I found myself doing a solo boogie on Junior, Jr. You should have seen Don! The music, the setting, the city, the day lighted a match under his tailfeathers. He had more fun yesterday than is allotted for a week for most of us; a sight to see!
Got a taste of Louisiana food from some of the vendors. CB got a po’ boy of some kind from Cochon (well known New Orleans restaurant, apparently) that was kick-ass. I got a plate of fried chicken wings, crowder peas with okra and rice. The chicken was okay, but the peas and okra were most excellent. A creme brulee gelato satisfied my ice cream jones. And for dinner I brought home to the Motel 6 barbecued lamb ribs, coleslaw (tiny cup for $3) and a genuine praline (Wow! I didn’t WANT a V-8).
Prices of arts and crafts were outrageous: a mask maker told me her cheapest was $50 and her most expensive $1500. I just looked. Senior citizens from Tutwiler, Mississippi, were there! I saw their van parked near Tranq and got nosy. They make all sorts of items out of patchwork quilt-like material (where small triangles of differing designs are sewn together in different but definite patterns), although the only actual quilts they had were baby-size. Still I donated to the cause and got some beautiful bags for $25 apiece. Tutwiler, you might remember, is where blues harmonica player extraordinaire Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) II is buried. It is also where W C Handy saw a man playing a guitar with a knife for a slide and “discovered” the blues for which Handy became famous. Tutwiler is also home of the Avent Funeral Home where the body of Emmett Till was embalmed (Till was a 14 year old Chicagoan brutally killed in 1955 in nearby Money, MS, for speaking to a white woman).
Bob says I’ve been too gloomy lately. I will approach myself henceforth with renewed efforts to re-instill joy and giggles into the land of blogggg.
Friday was a day for traveling, lying back (well, we did make an exception for Driver Don, suggesting he merely “sit” back) and enjoying all the bountiful beauty of Louisiana’s Interstate 10 from Rayne to New Orleans. We started the day by exploring the city of Rayne which also calls itself the City of Murals, in addition to The World’s Frog Capitol. Murals there were by the dozens. Old and new. On the town watertower. On the front wall of the Rayne Tribune. And everyone of them about FROGS! Including a lot of statuary.
The gremlin (GPS) caused us to chase out tails for ten or fifteen miles looking for a Cajun restaurant that was not, although we did hit the Boucherie Festival in Sorrento, mouths watering for Cajun lunch only to find we had to wait until 6pm for the food. (Boucherie, btw, means “butcher shop”). No Cajun for us yesterday. Perhaps today at the Crescent City Blues Festival.
The ride to New Orleans was bright and sunny and we savored it all, including the music supplied by Tranq the Van. We crossed Lake Ponchartrain (not over the middle) and fought rush hour traffic to Motel 6 on Gentilly Street. And saw a Motel 6 physically connected to a Subway shop! Another wonder to ponder.
McComb, Mississippi’s past is not the stuff to print on a big placard and wave it lustily over its collective head. It was among the most virulent segregationist communities in the South during the sixties.
It also is a major to music, blues and more. Bo Didley made his first guitar with his own hands in shop class in high school in McComb.
We left McComb for the Pelican State 25 miles or so down I-55.
Finding a handicapper motel room with a high toilet and two beds! There seem to be more hens’ teeth. For two nights we CGPed and phoned and sought and sought and sought, finally “settling” for no handicapper toilet. Such is life if your legs are a three wheeled electric cart named Junior, Jr.
Our “making do” last night (Thursday) is Best Western in the “Frog Capitol of the World,” Rayne, Louisiana. Still haven’t seen a frog here; I suppose they’re all captured and being held incommunicado until the Frog Festival next month.
And the reason for our sojourn on this side of the state: The International Rice Festival in Crowley, Louisiana! World’s Rice Capitol! My gosh! Unbelievable that two.. two.. count ’em.. two world’s capitols are located within 20 minutes of each other in the same United State.
Off to New Orleans today.