Thursday, August 03, 2006

I Suddenly Remembered Something

It's really weird how a memory can just pop into your head. Something you haven't thought of in years.

It has been pretty hot down hyar in Florida. I know, just like everywhere else. But that's what makes this memory so weird.

For several years when I was a kid, we lived in an east central Louisiana town called Vidalia. It's on the Mississippi River across from Natchez, Mississippi. It has about 4,000 souls.

The house my parents rented at the time had a shed in the back yard that had a water line to it and that's where our washing machine resided. Some previous owner of the home had added a den and second bathroom to the house, and in that bathroom was a place for a dryer. (Here's a pic of that house taken many years after we left, I don't have one of the shed out back.)

So, washer out in back yard shed. Dryer in the house.

The image that popped into my head was of going outside with this porcelain coated 'tub' that Mama had, and getting clothes out of the washer to bring inside to the dryer. AND THE WEATHER WAS FREEZING AND I REMEMBER THE CLOTHES WERE WET AND COLD TOO. I REMEMBERED MY HANDS GETTING COLD LIKE ICE. I REMEMBER HURRYING AND SHIVERING.

If you had walked up to me before I remembered this, put a gun to my head and asked me to describe the inside of this shed or die, I would have just said to go ahead and pull the trigger, because I can't. Now I can picture three inside corners of it, but not the fourth.

The mind is a terrible thing sometimes.

This house was, as were most houses in the area, built up off the ground about 2 or 3 feet. And I never played under there because, hey, it's Louisiana and that kind of place is prime real estate for snakes.

We only went far enough under there to retrieve errant balls and such, and that was done with a stick or something to extend your reach. I still remember how creepy it was to do that. Every time, I was sure there was going to be a snake right in my way. But thankfully that never happened.

And this house being off the ground like that, and only having space heaters, meant some seriously cold floors in the winter. It gets cold in Louisiana at times, and I remember the smell and sound of the gas heaters as Daddy or Mama would crank them up in the morning.

But those cold two steps of putting both feet on that cold, cold floor first thing in the morning, OUCH! Especially since they were so toasty from being under cover.

And I guess it was a good thing the house was built up off the ground like that, because in the early seventies, there was a lot of flooding and the Mississippi River was really high. The levees in the area held back the water but the ground was so saturated that even miles inland from the river, your yard would be totally soggy and have water puddles and water in the ditch, simply from seeping that far inland underground.

And the grade school I went to at that time was right next to the levee, so the entire school yard was useless to play on; it was always wet. I remember at recess everyone would just stand around outside on the concrete and talk, because we couldn't go out there and run or play any games.

I'm not exactly sure what got me thinking about all of that.

But I just thought I would share.


Good news for the East Coast of Florida, bad news for Cuba and the Gulf States. This is the projected path of Chris as of this morning.

1 comment:

Pattie Big Sis's Friend said...

John,

Your blogs are alway interesting and often funny, but I see one common thread lately.....you are homesick...you need to visit Lousiana...hear some southern accents...eat some crawfish...be with your family!! Just a thought!!