Merry Christmas to all my Word Press friends and followers!
On a recent trip to New Orleans I came upon this scene.
This is a shot of the Hard Rock Hotel building which collapsed while under construction in New Orleans on October 12, 2019. Three dead and dozens injured. We stayed just two blocks away but the streets were blocked off for three blocks north and south which required a walk around making a five block walk to Bourbon Street an eight block walk.
Canal Street, a major thoroughfare in New Orleans, was blocked off creating a transportation nightmare. The streetcars were not running for fear of vibrating loose the already unstable building. Authorities sill haven’t recovered the bodies of the dead.
On the Road to Cumberland Falls, in Kentucky
Cards Against Humanity is a party game for horrible people.
Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends.
The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a Black Card, and everyone else answers with their funniest White Card.
Here are the players:
Now, I guess you are wondering how this old dog got mixed up with this bunch of 20 year old somethings playing a wild game of Cards Against Humanity. I dunno….just lucky I guess.
So I went to the bus station to pick up my young friend Victoria who was travelling from Nashville back to Louisville. It was about 8:00 in the evening on a cool spring night. It wasn’t quite dark yet.
Since we were downtown we thought it would be a good idea to have drinks at the 21C Hotel bar.
I drove the six blocks or so to the the hotel and parked out on the street. 21C was a favorite of ours. We really weren’t dressed for the place but in Louisville that didn’t really matter.
We entered through the restaurant and made our way to the bar and sat on a couch on the rear wall.
“Just like being in our own living room,” I remarked.
“Yeah, but better because of the people watching,” she said.
I ordered a Jack and soda and she had a Rum Coco. Something she had started drinking since she came back from Cuba a couple of months ago.
We had our drinks and some nice conversation about her latest trip to Missouri. She went there with her mother and grandmother to visit her uncle who was doing eleven years in the federal penitentiary in Springfield.
We looked the menu over but we didn’t see anything we wanted to eat so we decide to go the the Tavern in old Louisville to round out the night and get a late night snack.
We finished our drinks and walked out through the bar to the restaurant exit out onto the street. To our surprise it had started raining. It was really coming down and it was a cold rain. We ran the two blocks to car and got soaked. Once we were safely ensconced inside I was huffing and puffing from the exertion.
Victoria ventured, “I’ve never seen you run before.” And she let out a little laugh.
“Well it is is pretty unusual,” I said. “It doesn’t happen very often.” And I laughed too.
I caught my breath and drove to the Tavern where we had more drinks and shared an order of wings.
On the way there I was put in mind of a song I like by Beth Hart: Caught Out in the Rain.
Here it is. Hope you enjoy it.
A few months ago, I had the good fortune to move to Old Louisville. As fate would have it, I moved into an apartment on Third Street just four houses down from a house I used to live as a young man during the turbulent 70’s. As a matter of fact, my family actually owned that house and sold it in 1993. Fast forward to 2018.
My friend Victoria was looking for an apartment and I have long been encouraging her look in Old Louisville as it was a very interesting place to live with a lot of old Victorian Mansions which have been subdivided into apartments. And there was Central Park nearby.
One day she was over at my place and we went out apartment hunting together. She had several picked out over on Fourth Street to look at. It was raining that day so we took our umbrellas.
We walked down Hill Street to Fourth and as we were about to round the corner, I noticed a For Rent sign in the yard of a house that I had long admired. I called it the House of Lions and Pineapples. It was a beautiful three-story red brick Victorian home with two lions and pineapples outside in front and a black wrought iron gated entrance. I said, “Why don’t you give them call?”
She did and we were able to see it right then. They had just put it on the market and were in the process of cleaning and painting it when we went in. Victoria fell in love with it immediately and I did too.
After looking at a couple of other places in the area Victoria decided that the house of pineapples and lions was the one for her, so we called the owner and asked for a meeting. Sure, come on over they said. They told us their address and we headed over.
They lived on Third Street, just a few doors down from where I am currently living. What was that address again, I asked Victoria? 1461? Why I used to live in that house back in the 70’s. As a matter of fact, my family owned that very building back then!
When we got there and knocked on the door a little old lady round and short answered the door. She had a big smile on her face. I introduced myself and told her I used to live this building back in the 70’s and wasn’t it ironic that we were here? Oh, did you know Dr. Bell? Why yes! I am his son!
We sat down and had a nice talk. Joe and his wife Arden bought the house in 1993 from my parents. At that time, I was part owner of the house myself and received some of the proceeds from the sale. Arden gave us a tour of the house. I bet it looks a lot different now than it did then, she said. Yep It sure did!
So, there we were. My friend Victoria was about to rent an apartment from the couple who own the house I used to live in but was sold to them in 1993 the same year Victoria was born. What kind of alignment of the planets was necessary to bring us to this point? By what chance occurrences was Victoria destined to cross my path and rent the apartment in the building of the lions and pineapples?
It put me in mind of a story I once heard when I was living in Philadelphia.
It seems there was this college professor living in my building who sent his servant to the Italian Market one day for supplies. In a very little while the servant came back, shaking and trembling. It was clear he had been greatly disturbed by something that had happened at the market.
He said, “Mister Coffer, sir, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd. I turned to look to see who it was and I saw it was Death staring me in the face. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. I ran from the market and came back here. Mister Coffer, will you please lend me your car so that I can ride away from this city and avoid my fate? I will go to Salem and there Death will not find me.”
The college professor gave him the keys to his Mustang, and the servant got in and rode away as fast as the car could drive not first without leaving a stretch of burning black rubber behind him as he pulled out of the parking garage. Later that day the professor went down to the Italian Market and he saw Death standing in the crowd and he went over, not afraid, and asked her, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant this morning when you saw him?”
“That was not a threatening gesture,” Death said, “I was just surprised to see him here in Philly, as I had an appointment with him tonight in Salem.”
Thomas Wolfe wrote in his book, Look Homeward Angel, “The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern because a London cut-purse went unhung. Through chance, we are each a ghost to all the others, and our only reality; through, chance, the huge hinge of the world, and a grain of dust; the stone that starts an avalanche, the pebble whose concentric circle widen across the seas.”
And although chance may have something to do with our lives and though we make a move this way or that we are still bound like an ant on a leaf rushing down a river to the sea. And there is precious little we can do about it but enjoy the ride.
Victoria rented the apartment and she is living there now just one block away in the building of the lions and pineapples. And if you squint your eyes and hold your mouth in a certain way you can almost see the flapping wings of the butterfly in the rain forest that made it all possible.
Last night I went to a party put on by the Third Street Association here in Louisville, Kentucky. It was in a beautiful old Victorian home. For while I thought I was lost in the Ingmar Bergman film, Fanny and Alexander or the Short Story The Dead, by James Joyce. Such was the beauty of the home I went to and the magical quality of the experience.
Both the stories were about a Christmas celebration among family and friends in spacious beautiful old homes decorated for the occasion. Both stories were a celebration of the love of family and friends and the human nature we are all heir too.
The House on Third was full of great Christmas cheer, fun, and laughter.
“His soul swooned softly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
-James Joyce from his short story, The Dead
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.