Well, we did have lasagna. Actually, we had two versions of the dish for dinner. Miya’s desire was for traditional marinara with Italian sausage. Michelle much prefers Alfredo with all manner of vegetables. Miya and I made both, the consumption of which put great pressure on my pyloric valve.
Anyone seeking to understand the mentality of their New Orleans neighbors really must read the only classic reference to one’s pyloric valve in Confederacy of Dunces. This will give you some insight into the gluttony and group dynamics that prevail in this peculiar place. Here, we gladly gorge ourselves like fois gras geese, and then empathize excessively with each other’s alimentary agony.
In addition to the lasagnas, Miya and I made her Aunt Rachel’s recipe chocolate cake, and Sam baked a perfect pecan pie. This was after it took us three hours of shopping for ingredients. We hit a clearance sale in the toy aisle, and I was able to do a lot of gift shopping for birthdays and our ever-increasing number of Christmas boxes.
Melanie made the decision to delay her day of organizing her closets and cupboards and join us for some family fun. I reminded her that this is consistent with her Uncle Richard’s philosophy that our homes exist for us; we don’t exist to take care of our houses. Even her husband James was able to have a piece of lasagna before heading off to his job as a casino cook.
Buffy and Scott took advantage of the absolutely gorgeous sunny day to clean the pool and, quite literally, mend fences with their neighbors. Buffy wore her bathing suit, even though it was still too cold to swim. I think she believes that this will help to hurry the summer swimming weather. Nick and his best friend Clayton practiced Nick’s present passion of lacrosse, giving a much-needed respite to his ruining of fences.
This is the good life on the Gulf Coast, which is almost considered a suburb of New Orleans by friends and family who live here. Everyone who comes to visit twice is blended into the extended family. Aunts and uncles abound, even when there is no blood relationship. Friendships are forever, even when your best buddies are thousands of miles away serving a military stint in Italy. Scott and Buffy have a “Flat Stanley” cut out of their military friend, Dave, that appears in all photos taken of parties and other family functions. Flat Dave goes to Saints games and crawfish boils, and never misses a back yard barbecue.
If it takes a village to raise children, these kids are certainly surrounded by enough protective parents to provide a safety net all the way to adulthood, and beyond. Scott’s house is even on a dead-end street, the perfect playground. He has a sign that reads, “If you’re lucky enough to live on a dead-end street, you’re lucky enough.” I sure feel lucky to be included.