THE LAWSON’S PEAK BOOKS

No-Account

I was logging into my online e-mail one morning and I happened to notice, below the spot where you type your user name and password, there was a link that asked, “No account?”

I thought, “Well, I guess I am, come to think of it!”

Probably no better way to describe myself: No-account. I can hear my father saying many years ago, “That fella’s about as no-account as they get.” I have grown into my father’s analogy, I’m afraid.

Ah, what grand schemes I made for my future! There were hundreds of them. Even in grade school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I remember mentioning to my sophomore year ag teacher, Mr. Pat McKoin, that I intended to be a writer.

He said, “That’s fine, if you don’t mind starving to death.”

Wise words, there. My father took a dim view of crafting the written word as well. He was a man who, at various times in his life, earned his keep by carpentry, cutting and inscribing marble tombstones and such, and working at the carbon black plant. The notion, to him, of writing for a living was about the same as being a philosopher. As . . . → Read More: No-Account

Solastalgia

Solastalgia. It’s been defined as something you feel when, instead of leaving home, home leaves you.

Hurricane victims after Katrina and other storms understand this; the people of Bayou Chene understood this, and I understand it all too well.

“Home” has been leaving, vanishing, for a long, long time now. The basin is drying up; Grand Avoille Cove and Lake Fausse Pointe are slowly diminishing from siltation. The woods and fields and landscapes of home are being altered and swept away.

Perhaps that’s what may explain my need to make journeys. I think about home, the home of my childhood, and waves of depression sweep over me. When I could stand on Charenton Beach and not see across Grand Lake. When the cove ran four or five feet deep, and Fausse Point much more than that. When there were places to walk in the woods or along a cornfield, with quail thick as mosquitoes, and we didn’t have to lock our doors at night.

I am rooted to this land not in terms of years or decades, but of millennia. But it is no longer the “home” it was. It gives me less and less each year of the . . . → Read More: Solastalgia

Happy Things

As I anxiously await Saturday morning, when I’ll pack the truck and point it north where the creeks are, errant thoughts roam through my befuddled noggin.

I think about the things that make me happy. There’s lots of them besides creeks, believe it or not! Top of the list is Suzie, of course, for how could I not love a girl who, among her many charms, loves creeks and hills and fly rods and puppy dogs?

The other things that make me happy are decidedly varied. The album (yes, I said album, because I am a throwback from vinyl) “Carolina Dreams” by the Marshall Tucker Band makes me happy. If you’re a MTB fan, or just a southern rock nut like me and don’t own “Carolina Dreams” you don’t know what you’re missing. Every track is a winner, and I can listen to it over and over again. Same for Boston’s debut album, the Best of the Allman Brothers and “Prime Prine,” the best of John Prine.

What? You never heard of John Prine? Not surprising, really. John has sort of a cult following, couldn’t sing his way out of a wet paper bag, but the man is pure-dee . . . → Read More: Happy Things

Going

I sneezed. “Okay, but what about my obsession with mountains and mountain streams and trout?” I asked, trying to dry out my hankerchief by holding it near the woodstove.

This is what Erskine Lightman, fifth-generation master of Smoky Mountain folk medicine and trout fishing said, “Only one thing to do: shoot yourself.”

– Harry Middleton, On the Spine of Time

It’s only mid February. Unthinkable that a man would want to go to a creek that has been shivering in low-slung, defrocked hills, slowed by winter’s crippling freezes. It’s just plain silly and perhaps even a little nuts.

Nonetheless, I am going.

I said here not long ago, moaning about the fish not biting while on the creek is stil far, far better than moaning about the fish not biting while lying on the sofa at home. There’s a fisherman’s wisdom for you.

Too long have I been sheltered from the cold by the vigilant and comforting walls of my old house. I crave its warmth, cherish its nurture, but the winter has been far too long, and though it is likely not over, this brief spell of what used to be called “Indian summer” has my neck hairs . . . → Read More: Going

Strange Happenings

Harry Middleton once mentioned “the strange goings-on inside my sock drawer late at night” to describe some of the weird things that happen around us.

Certainly, socks are a prime example of how the so-called physical laws of the universe are merely desperate attempts by the human psyche to dismiss the things that don’t make sense or explain those that give us the willies.

Socks, for example, tend to either decrease in population overall, or suffer divorce wherein one part of the pair apparently moves to a different household, leaving a stranded mate in the drawer, all alone. This happens repeatedly to socks, I suspect it is because of some sort of sock domestic abuse, but often enough we find solitary socks living lives of hermits.

The same is, apparently, true of clothes hangers. You never, ever have just the right amount of clothes hangers, somehow. You either are two or three short or two or three in excess. Sometimes, these little creatures, which I am sure, are alien beings, embark on an extreme rampage of propagation. One day there’s a couple extra on the bar, the next there are dozens of empty ones jammed together between the pants . . . → Read More: Strange Happenings

Staying Sane

When I get to feeling sorry for myself, cooped up in the house and cursing mightily at winter, all I have to do is watch the news.

I mean, them folks north of I-10 got it bad, folks.

Interstate No. 10, effectively the Mason-Dixon line insofar as we are concerned in deep south Louisiana, seems to be the line of demarcation between “us” and “them” lots of times.

But last week’s weather, hereafter to be known as the “Great Blizzard of 2011” even as far south as New Iberia, seemed to have shifted the playing field closer to home.

Lemme tell you something, folks, when you have to shut down U.S. 90 from Baldwin to Centerville because of ice, and local authorities worked nearabouts two dozen wrecks, the world has done turned topsy-turvy.

Sure, they’re used to things like that in Monroe. Maybe even Alexandria sometimes. But here? We know about as much about driving on ice as desert people do driving in rain.

Then, the stinking rodent comes out, Phil himself, and tells us we’ll have an early spring.

It’s a funny thing, really, how when the groundhog predicts six more weeks of winter, we soundly belittle his . . . → Read More: Staying Sane

Brain Freeze

Brutal. Absolutely brutal.

In many ways, this winter is worse than last. Or maybe, the winter I’m in always seems worse than the last one. Regardless, this puppy has been pure dee nasty.

And that’s the call from south Louisiana…imagine those poor folks up north.

Wave after wave of wind and rain and cold, oh, my. Warm then cold, cold then warm, dry then wet, wet then dry.

This morning, that danged Yankee groundhog predicted an early spring. Well, for once I am willing to spare the little rodent from a snare, and pray he’s right this time.

They’re talking freezing rain here in the next day or two. Oh, joy.

What the devil is the use of living in the deep south? Might as well head to some equatorial region.

Everything is brown, but that’s normal for this time of year. The bayou keeps coming up with hard south winds, back down with strong north winds. I think I saw a frozen egret this morning. It might have been a clump of Styrofoam, though.

If Phil is right, and we have an early spring, I’m hoping for “early” being defined as next week. I am certainly deluding myself, . . . → Read More: Brain Freeze