The Land of Make-Believe: Breaux Bridge

IMG_0998During the holidays I happened to go back and look at some old pics from last year and remembered my trip to brunch at the Cafe des Amis in Breaux Bridge with my friend Tricia. You can read last year’s blog here. It was such a blast, but it had been my first time there and I didn’t know what to expect. I had promised myself that I would go back with a group of friends so we could enjoy the dancing even more. I thought I would make a trip in January, and then I remembered that my birthday was in January! So, I invited a group of friends to come along.

I’ve learned in this life that it is best to send out an invitation and let whoever shows up, show up. The right people always come. Everything happens perfectly as it should. This morning was no exception. We ended up with a group of 10 that had agreed to make the trip across the Atchafalaya Basin for morning dancing. I know there were a few grumbles about the early morning hour, but I promised a good time would be had by all. Everybody had to travel, so arriving at 8 AM on a Saturday morning felt pretty weird. I left Baton Rouge about 7 AM dressed in my party clothes.

The fog was still sitting on Bayou Teche when I arrived. I was the first one there but was joined fairly shortly by Jo Ann, Robbie, Jeff, Billy and Christy. We sat in a display window with slip-covered antique furniture. It was a cool little sitting area, but they wouldn’t serve us breakfast there. The gang drank Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s until we got our table. We were totally amazed at the party going on this early in the morning. By 9 AM the dance floor was packed, and the bar was shoulder to shoulder revelers.

We were seated at a long table with a couple from Lake Charles LA with their friends from Seattle WA. We ate breakfast with interruptions of dancing and picture-taking. The woman from Seattle remarked that she couldn’t seem to stop smiling in there. My face hurt from smiling so much. Jo Ann came by and reminded me that her birthday was in March. “I’m just sayin’,” she said with a grin. I have a feeling we’ll be going back. There’s something about that place. The energy is lively, and it is laced with light and joyfulness. Children dance among couples. Many danced every dance, and I recognized several from the year before. We noticed one guy changed shirts midway through the morning because he was so wet with sweat. Big windows funneled sunlight into the restored building while the Zydeco band perched in the storefront window. They took only one break, and it was late in the morning. I didn’t know any of the music, but it didn’t matter. The beat made me feel like dancing all morning long .. and I did. Everybody danced with strangers like we were all old friends.

Robbie’s Amazing Pics

My sister and my niece came in after we finished breakfast closely followed by my high school friends Lisa and Jean Ann. The dancing and picture-taking continued, and about noon, the band said they were playing their last song. We packed up and made our way to Monroe’s next door. I had tried on some dresses there last year, and they still had my favorite one. We couldn’t resist playing dress-up for a picture. I tried on a two-piece red number but opted for a green and brown strapless gown. Somebody joked that it looked like dressed-up camouflage, and I had to admit that it did. But it was pretty dressed-up.

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Kennedy, the store dog we met last year, was there on his little chair. They said he was depressed because they had just thrown his girlfriend away. At first I thought they’d thrown a dog away, but then the shopkeeper said it was a stuffed animal. They kept remarking how depressed he was, and he did seem down in the dumps. I hope they find another girlfriend for him. That’s a happy place, and he looked out of place without his royal perkiness.

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I glanced up at the wall and noticed a quote by Marilyn Monroe on a piece of art. “It’s all make-believe, isn’t it?” she apparently said. I’ve always been crazy about her. Of course I think she was beautiful and sexy. But her tragic life is as interesting to me as her beauty. The most profound contradictions is that she was so troubled and insecure on the inside but on the outside appeared to be fantastic, bubbly and amazing. Her life was all make-believe. I wish that she would not have died young. I would have loved to have seen her overcome her demons … or not. I would have loved to have seen how she would approach the loss of her youth and the inevitability of aging. The longer I live the more I realize how young she was at the time of her death. It was truly a loss. Did she really believe it was all make-believe? Would she have always thought so?

It’s All Make-Believe, Isn’t It?

IMG_1034This morning seemed magical to me. I remember my surprise last year at seeing flowers blooming in January. Camellias are blooming now while my friends up north are shoveling snow. We were making plans for Mardi Gras this morning – a bejeweled spectacular festival in February. Ball gowns, beads, ladders and King Cakes hang poised in the near future. I downloaded my parade tracker last week. I love magic but you can’t plan it. Magic – like make-believe – only happens in the moment. The only thing we can do to bring it on is to be open … and to show up. The right people … the right place … the right energy … the magic ….. happens because we are willing to believe in its possibility. I am grateful to have been in its presence this morning among my amis. It was truly a Cafe of friends ……. even if we only make-believe.

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