A Lazy Day on Rotten Bayou

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Me and Mariya hiking in the creek.

I left this morning to visit my brother Terry’s family in Diamondhead. Diamondhead is one of those communities that I remember hearing about when I was in high school. At the time it was being built, I remember adults talking about it as a fancy resort sort of destination, but I never went to Diamondhead until after my first marriage ended. In fact, my family rented a condo there the week after I left my first husband. I was in a daze and very confused and hurt, and I don’t remember that trip very fondly. In fact, I was so overwhelmed with the separation that I couldn’t handle the interpersonal interactions of my family that week. About Wednesday I decided I had to leave … and leave right then … at 8 PM at night. I lived in Knoxville, and I drove all night to get home. I had to be by myself. I was so raw that I couldn’t think straight.

But, that’s a long time ago, and today’s trip is much more pleasant. I left home this morning early and made the two hour trek with very little difficulty. Laura fixed us an amazing ham and cheese sandwich with ham right off the bone, and I set out on an adventure with my niece, Mariya. They discovered a little creek down the road, and they assured me I’d love it. From the road it looked like a ditch, but just beyond the piled up concrete at the beginning was the prettiest little sandy creek you’ve ever seen. The water was clear, and it was really cool. We hiked it for awhile. There was no trail beside it, so we hiked right in the creek. The sandy bottom made a perfect hiking trail. The deeper areas were populated with minnows, and raccoon tracks lined the sandy banks. There were even a couple of little miniature sand beaches that made a nice place to sit if you wanted to rest.

The Creek

We turned around after about 1/2 mile or so and headed back the same way we came in. It started to sprinkle, and, by the time we made it back to the road, it was raining pretty hard. Along the way, we saw lots of wildflowers, the prettiest of which I failed to capture in a clear picture. Mariya went on home in the rain while I walked in it and looked at the wildflowers. I was soaking wet when I got back, but it felt good to be cooled off from the heat. Right before it started raining, I mentioned how hot it was. Mariya said that if it starts to get hotter when it rains down here, there is more rain to come. Furthermore, if it gets cool, the rain is about to end. I asked her if that was her own experience or something she learned, and she assured me it was her own experience. She’s a smart little gal.

The Wildflowers and a Very Large Grasshopper

When I got back, we all put on swimsuits and headed out to their backyard which is Rotten Bayou. We hopped in the water and floated on some chairs in the water. Laura and I talked about all kinds of things including my love life or the lack thereof and our experiences moving here from afar. We watched her dog Sunny swim to the other side of the bayou and jump out of the water like something was after her. We couldn’t see what was going on, but she kept jumping around and lunging at something. We finally decided it must be a snake, and about that time she darted back into the water and came back across. Whatever it was, it spoiled her grand time.

Me and Mariya chillin'

Me and Mariya chillin’

After our swim, I decided to treat everybody to ice cream at Dairy Queen, and we headed over for a cool, creamy treat. I got the hot fudge sundae, and Laura and Mariya shared the Peanut Buster Parfait. It was yummy. I stopped to look at some old photos of vintage Dairy Queens up front while I waited for my sundae. I remember my favorite Dairy Queen of all time was the one in Destin FL. We’d go on long vacations to Destin when I was a girl because Daddy would finally be able to take vacation after all of the LSU sport seasons were over. On most days – after we’d spent all morning body-surfing waves in the Gulf of Mexico – we’d head over to the Dairy Queen for a treat. I know I loved banana splits, but I don’t imagine I got those very often. As a little girl, that would have been a lot of ice cream in my tummy. I probably opted for the hot fudge sundae if it was in Daddy’s budget. I love those things, and they will always be one of my favorite ice cream treats. Today’s was no exception.

Now, it’s quiet. Mariya is at a friend’s house, Terry and Sasha just came home from working on their 1965 pickup truck, and Laura is having a cool drink to relax. I’m feeling the breeze off the bayou. It’s really quiet out here. I can hear Laura greeting Terry and catching up on the day. I see the current in the bayou floating leaves and other green matter out to wherever the tide ends up. The beach across the way is visible now. Earlier in the day, the tide was up, and we could barely see it. Ashok is laying at my feet just like she does at home. I can’t imagine that this peaceful bayou can be as ferocious as it was during Katrina. That’s how they bought the house. They repaired it from the extensive flooding after the hurricane and have made a beautiful home. I asked my brother why they call it Rotten Bayou, and he thinks people around here may have called it Rattan Bayou after the reeds that grow along the banks, and over the years it became Rotten Bayou because of the inflections of southern pronunciation. Their friends are gathering here for dinner, and we’re having grilled steak with the squash that I brought from the Red Stick Market in Baton Rouge. It’s been a really nice lazy day on the banks of a Mississippi bayou.

My Brother’s Place

 

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