Then I told Victor, I thought we were all riding heavy with illusions. – Thomas Builds-the-Fire, “Smoke Signals.”

I used to carry around an 1863 half dime in my wallet.

It was my grandfather’s. He carried it, too. A wafer-thin, diminutive little coin, with a draped and seated Liberty and beautiful corn stalks in a wreath on the back, it was a bit worn and slightly bent.

For most of my life from about 1982 on I carried it in my wallet. He died in 1977, and my grandmother gave it to me when I graduated from Franklin High School.

At first it was a token of him, and later, it became a symbol, even more, a talisman. I often thought it had his magic in it, that maybe it might have been the focal point of his magic, that his soul itself was the chamber from which it sprang. Later, I told myself that should I ever need to pay Charon, the Boatman, I’d always have his magical silver half-dime for my toll across the river Styx. I feared that my meandering and my restless wanderlust would do me in, and I’d have to wait on the shore . . . → Read More: Faith

An Act of Small Rebellion

It is SO time for a fishing column. Problem is, there ain’t been no fishing. Not for me, anyway. This winter has all the inhaling properties of a Hoover vacuum cleaner. Cold, rain, misery…sound like a Hee-Haw skit or something, don’t I? I’m so ready to be out there. I’m building a boat. I have all my rods ready, my lines ready, my flies ready. I got some new gear this winter that I’m just dying to try out. While I am eager to get into Grand Avoille Cove and the lake and basin, I’m especially anxious to get into those hills to the north. In short, I am going stark raving mad over here. What you see is a crazy man, slowly slipping away into the dark, dank depths of insanity. I am as close to a straight jacket as I am a fishing vest, and like the proverbial man on the fence, can fall either way at this point. Yeah, I know it’s hard for some of you kind folks to understand, so I once again resort to borrowing from one of my literary heroes, Robert Traver, who penned one of the finest explanations of my plight: . . . → Read More: An Act of Small Rebellion

Can I See Your ID?

So Monday night, I’m sitting in the living room watching Bill O’Reilly and a very strange thing happened.

I’m there with my head cold getting a little better, though I’m still weak and sleeping a lot. I’m trying to recuperate and doing so slowly.

All of a sudden, while Bill’s interviewing a guest I don’t even remember, a little gray bar pops up at the bottom of my television screen.

Now, one of the worst things that ever happened to television is these stupid banner things they put on the bottom of everything. All right, so it’s fine to identify the person talking on a news show, and some credentials, but the dang things are starting to take up a third of the screen, and often all you get is a chin up view, and with some guests, like for instance Dick Cheney, that big bald evil head is just plain scary. For guests like Sarah Palin, it’s a crime to not giver her a full screen. They also put these stupid promo bars at the bottom of regular programming, some animated, and all highly irritating.

But I’m suddenly sitting there looking at this gray bar on my screen . . . → Read More: Can I See Your ID?

Kudos, Truces and Playing Nice With Others

First off, I want to thank St. Mary Parish government for putting the ‘S’ back in ‘St’ on the sign for the St. Mary Parish Courthouse. We are no longer ‘T Mary’, in Cajun that being “little Mary” and it feels good, don’t it? (Thought I forgot, didn’t you, Paul?) —— My admonishment of the chamber last week seems to have raised a few eyebrows, on both sides of the issue, and the parish. I’d strongly suggest a dialogue. A contingency of west end chamber members or citizens in general, should go to a chamber meeting – held on the east end, by the way – and make your case. —— Did you know that demographers will soon begin the process of redrawing Louisiana’s senatorial district lines using data from the census? Yes, they are. And by all information we’re getting here, it appears that the senatorial district for St. Mary Parish will be redrawn…right across the Calumet Cut, lumping us here in the west with Iberia Parish, and the east end of course gets lumped the other direction. You know, that ain’t so bad, when you think about it. Maybe we’ve got more in common with Iberia Parish . . . → Read More: Kudos, Truces and Playing Nice With Others


I woke up about 2 a.m. Thursday morning and felt like someone had put a tomahawk vertically into the middle of my face.

It had been coming on for a few days. You know how you can feel like you’re about to get sick. I was eating tangerines like they were going out of style and lots of whisky. Just kidding about the whisky, or at least, I’ll never admit to it.

At 2 a.m. I got up and took a sinus pill and a shot of nose spray because I couldn’t breathe. I managed to get back to sleep, but when the alarm went off at 5:30, I was surprised to find someone had pulled the tomahawk out of my face and kindly hit me with it again, even harder.

So here it is, before noon Thursday, and I’m getting ready to get out of here and go wallow in a sick pool of self-pity and misery for the rest of the day before I have to go to a Baldwin council meeting tonight. Don’t you admire the celebrity life of a local journalist?

I don’t get sick often, thank goodness, but when I do, the little critters . . . → Read More: Ugh

Two Chambers?

It was with great anguish that I attended this year’s St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet.

I usually look forward to it, but this year, I was both surprised and saddened that, out of six prestigious awards, not a single one recognized a resident of western St. Mary Parish.

In 2009, recipients of four awards were Didi Battle, Oceaneering, Jacki Ackel and the Boy Scouts of America, Chitimacha District; in 2008, recipients were Marshall Guidry, Catalene Theriot, St. Mary Center of Hope and Cathy Tedder. A pretty fair balance of east-west awards.

This year, chamber-chosen winners were Parker Conrad, east; Chabill’s Tire, east; James Breaker east; Rose Favors, east and St. Mary AARP, east.

Certainly Chabill’s has a location here, and the AARP in theory covers the entire parish…but neither are based on this end of the parish. Unforgivable.

When the east and west chambers were merged, it was under the promise of unity. There was an agreement that the board of directors would be equally split between the east and west, and the chairmanship would also rotate annually, east and west.

The latter no longer appears to be the case, and the former may be on . . . → Read More: Two Chambers?

Kill Phil Vol. II

Punxsutawney Phil, that nefarious, evil, smelly, mangy, disease-ridden, skuzzy varmint in Pennsylvania has once again gotten on my last nerve.

“Punx” could conceivably be pronounced “punks” and that’s what the rodent is: A punk, a lower-life form, something akin to a glob of primordial goo.

Six more weeks of winter. OK, so it’s the first week of February. We all know winter’s not going to end mid-March. Do we really need that trampy little refugee from a bad Bill Murray movie to come out of his burrow and tell us so? Down here, Punx would have been looking down the business end of a twelve-gauge and a camouflaged Cajun with a bottle of hot sauce in his pocket.

Punx. Gimme a break. Flea-bitten tramp.

I am slowly, but surely, losing my pea-brained mind. If it ain’t cold it’s raining, if it ain’t cold or raining I gotta be doing something else. I am making all the usual mistakes of mid-winter. Accumulating hiking and fishing gear; oiling reels and cleaning rods; changing fly lines that are over three years old; squinting over maps and foolishly, vainly, insanely hoping, “Maybe this weekend…”

And in the middle of all that, Punx crawls . . . → Read More: Kill Phil Vol. II