Tuesday, February 1, 2011

On Bayou Bleu

A Big Chief Tablet Tale
By The Legendary Jim Parks

We had just then finished shoveling out the last boat and loading the last trailer with ice and shrimp and ice and shrimp and ice and shrimp and ice and shrimp and cracked open the first brew from the tub of suds on the dock under the shed when Mr. Blanchard said, "Oh, lord, y'all, look'a yonder."

He pointed across the bay where seven water spouts melded into the deep delft of the blue blackened sky over the swamps and the cold breeze wafted toward us leaving white caps on the surface.

You could see LaFitte's dirty red brick fort standing out across the harbor like some kind of afterthought in a watery impressionist painting from another century.

Across the oyster shell lot at the beer joint they call The Hideaway you could hear the juke box swing into Fats hammering the piano and crooning about the shame - bomp, bomp - of the way - bomp, bomp - he cried - bomp, bomp - when she said - bomp, bomp - goodbye - bomp, bomp.

And, then, he hammer hammer hammer some more with that left hand. And the the horns say, again, "Bomp - Bomp" in that yellow sky where you just heard the last bird tweet and twitter and caw caw caw.

Pierre Broussard crossed his chest and said something in Cajun dialect about all the bateau on the Gulf and a merciful God and the souls of all those who are in peril when the patter of rain gave way to sheets of the mercurial stuff raking everything in sight and bolts of lightning forked down all across the world while the Gods thundered their angry approval and the electric lights came on and flickered and went off and came back on again.

We all stared and tried to keep from looking at each other and tipped back our brew and pulled our slicker suits close around us and prayed silently because the island there is only a yard, maybe less, above sea level and we were all miles from our homes.

Many, many miles from our homes.

- Jim Parks

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