I just flew in from Winterfell…and boy are my arms tired! (rim shot)

A great old line from the Vaudeville days. The funniest thing is – in this world, that line is not a joke!

I am in the study of my home in Jardin parish in New Toulouse. It has taken quite some time but I have begun to settle in here after moving from my old spot in NT prime last spring. Oh the top floor still looks like a yard sale with furniture, books, artwork, lamps and half-empty boxes and crates all about as I search through my belongings looking for items to use in this house. And I have yet to even think about tending to the grounds…flowers, plants and some outdoor seating are needed. But progress is being made. Just today I have – finally – arranged this study and the living room on the ground floor. Yes it still needs the finishing touches but I can now live here and offer others a place to sit when they visit. And I can now take my place at my desk and write in this journal.

Until now the only chance I’ve had to spend serious time in this house was one weekend last month – and it was not by choice, mind you. A hurricane came through – Hurricane Bernadette they called it – and I came here to watch over the house and check regularly on the Winterfell Embassy in Bourbon to see how each weathered the storm.

The only furniture I had available in this house at the time was a couple of chairs, a table and a cot. One bookcase was in place and my wireless set sat on one of its shelves. The storm came in on a Friday and I spent the time reading and following the weather and news reports on the radio.

On that Saturday I tuned in to the “Revelry in Reverie” broadcast. It was odd listening to a program coming live from Winterfell while I was here in New Toulouse. Miz Gabi was up there in Winterfell, spinning the tunes while I – a Winterfallen – was here in New Toulouse, watching the storm. At one point Miz Gabi announced “over the air” that the eye of the storm was over NT while she was away in Winterfell. What an amazing coincidence!

In the afternoon my brother Levon was due to come in to experience the hurricane first hand. He arrived just as I returned from one of my trips to Bourbon to check on the embassy. “I am drenched to the bone, brother. If you want to venture out, you are on your own. You may have my rowboat. It did me well in last year’s hurricane…until the altercation with the Zombies, the streetcar and the tornado, that is. But that was a triple whammy. What are the chances of it happening again?” He looked out the window and considered the odds. “It looks quite nasty, Danko,” he said as the rain fell and the wind howled. “Zombies, you say?” He moved from the window and took the other chair by the table. Levon seemed to be having second thoughts about braving the storm.

I offered my brother some tea and turned up the volume on the radio. A local talk show called “Group Chat” was on. A gallery
owner had called in to complain about the hurricane ruining an opening. Levon and I laughed. There’s always one who doesn’t get the message. “Maybe next time you’d want to check the local calendar or the weather forecast before scheduling an event?” I said aloud to the radio as Levon laughed away. The gallery owner continued to complain. I addressed the radio again, “Maybe in your home world the weather revolves around you and your own personal convenience. Well not here, sister!” Levon guffawed so hard he almost fell off his chair. It was clearly time to break out the hard stuff. We kept listening and commenting, sipping our bourbon, as the gallery owner whined on.

That lady wanted a place where nothing happens. A quiet, static place. Unfortunately for her she picked New Toulouse. Her bad.

New Toulouse is not quiet nor static nor boring, not at all. It is a place where lively events take place, where creative people work on interesting projects, where the community comes together to share their talents, where one never quite knows what might happen next or what might come around the corner. Like those Zombies I ran into last year.

Levon stayed into the evening. After he left I dozed off for a bit. Then it was down to Bourbon to check on the embassy again. I stopped by the Hurricane Dance at the Edison Ballroom just to say hello. Miz Gabi was hosting and providing great music. I ended up staying quite a while. I danced a while, played the clarinet for a bit and danced some more. Outside the streets were filled with water but we were on high ground and in high spirits, telling our storm stories and laughing and enjoying each other, the music and the moment. At one point the gallery owner and her complaint became the topic of conversation…and the butt of our jokes.

That lady had located her gallery in a place full of character and characters. A place one would think would appeal to the type of person who would visit and appreciate an art gallery. But from what I heard, the lady packed up her gallery and moved out that very night.

After all, who wants to have an art gallery in an interesting place?