The Pigeon and The Frog

I have perfected a homemade anchovy/garlic salad dressing. The recipe is really quite simple. Slowly stir olive oil into a mixture of minced anchovy fillets, microplaned garlic, red pepper flakes, fresh squeezed lemon juice and Kosher salt. The notable ingredient is the anchovy fillets. I selected a can of “flat” anchovies for my first attempt at my friend’s recipe. As I drained the little fish, I noticed bones in my strainer, akin to slivers of glass. These were not the soft bones found in canned salmon. These were choke-at-the-dining-room-table fish bones. And then there was the indescribable aroma of the tiny canned fish. I was convinced the anchovies had spoiled. While sharing my disappointing anchovy experience with friends, I was informed that anchovies could, indeed, have an unpleasant aroma. Between the bones and the smell, these little fish were deemed an unworthy ingredient and thrown into the trash. Even without the anchovies, the lemon/garlic salad dressing was quite tasty. I have now discovered that packed in glass “fillet” anchovies is the better choice for a crowd pleasing salad dressing.

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Kick the Can

Kicking a can down the road is a mindless act. The only requirement is a can – usually empty. I never kicked a can barefooted. Reckon you could tear off a piece of your foot or shear off a toenail if you weren’t careful. So, a sturdy or at least closed toe shoe is suggested. I haven’t kicked a can down the road in a very long time. I’ve got more free time of late. Perhaps I will dig through the recycle bin and pick out an appropriate sized can to kick. My sister and I in our younger days would crush aluminum cans with our hard sole shoes and clunk and dance down the sidewalk as long as the cans held tight. But that’s another story.

There’s an asphalt path that runs along the right-of-way for the electric transmission lines at the end of my street. It might be the perfect avenue to refresh my can kicking skills. I can’t say for sure who decided to kick a can down a road. Maybe a worn down, bone weary grandma, watching kids in the summer, having answered the question “what can we do?” for the last time, offered up the activity. Can’t you hear it? “Why don’t you kick that can down the road? Make a game of it. See who can kick it the farthest, the highest. See who can make it spin. Take turns. And don’t kick it at each other.”

Kicking a can accomplishes one thing. It gets you down the road. That’s it. I’ve watched social injustice, bigotry, prejudice, hate and all kinds of ugly kicked down the road during my life. While it appears that some progress has been made, I have witnessed in recent weeks that many of these same issues were only pushed down the road.

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Hail, High Water and One LONG Hot Summer

This about sums up Houston weather from May to October. Hail exploded in the Spring Branch area on May 9th. As we drove home from a theatre fundraiser, the skies darkened the further west we traveled. Pea size hail began to fall after we turned north. In another block, the pea size turned into marble size and then golf ball size hail. There was no running from the icy onslaught. It felt and sounded like we were in a rock storm. The windshield cracked before I  could pull into the driveway. The roof on the house didn’t fare any better. A new windshield and body work repair fixed up the car. A new roof took care of the hail damaged shingles.
September 19th brought flooding to my subdivision. Streets became impassable. The rain was eerily unrelenting.  The water rose quickly. There was nothing to do and no place to go. Within an hour water had reached the middle of the front yard. Neighbors on the low side of the street held their breath as the water climbed into their driveways and, in some cases, flooded their homes. I watched the lightning explode and felt the thunder rattle the house. Once again, Houston “flooding” made the news and once again, lives were up ended by the uncertainty of tropical Texas weather.

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Hand Signals

I drove a tractor in January while visiting dear friends in Palacios, dumping buckets full of sand/gravel/rock to spread in the low spots washed out by too much rain. This small tractor had a front loader on it. I have driven a Mack truck and a Pontiac GTO, but never a tractor. Chuck, my tractor instructor, told me there were standard hand signals for tractors and other construction equipment. Who knew? I did a little research and, sure enough, “[h]and signals have been used by the military, construction workers and factory laborers as a means of communication when voice communication is not possible. Consistent hand signals are essential when people must work together in noisy, hazardous work environments. Hand signals can also make work safer in the agriculture industry.”* The hand signals I am most familiar with are those used on Houston freeways. For example, the Yukon salute is a favorite along I-10. Perhaps you know it as the one finger wave.

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Eatin’ at Edna’s

On the set of Shakin' the Blue Flamingo

On the set of Shakin’ the Blue Flamingo, (from left to right) Allison Smith, Stage Manager, Gwen Flager, Playwright, and director Claire Hart-Palumbo.

I’ve been eatin’ at Edna’s for the last couple of months. I can recommend the fried pickles and meatloaf sandwich. But, I’d steer clear of her egg salad. Memories wash over me as decades old songs play on Edna’s jukebox. Feelings long forgotten surface. My emotions are pulled into unfamiliar, yet intoxicating places.

I’m nineteen again, whistling down the Alabama coast roads, daring to be braver than I am. I boil the fresh blue crabs I pulled from the trap this morning. Got company coming for breakfast.

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The Recital

A man I had known for 40 years was buried on Saturday. Our last contact was by email when Hurricane Harvey flooded the Houston area. This man offered sanctuary at his modest apartment in Shreveport to me and Ruthann should we need to evacuate our home. Most of Alan’s life was violent and explosive. A life ravaged by addiction – alcohol and drugs. A life that flirted with death and threaded its way through prison and recovery.

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