How’d y’all do?

“How’d y’all do?”

It’s a query I hear (and use) often.  I ask my husband that when he calls from the boat landing after a day of fishing.  He’ll ask a friend that about their hunting.  Someone played football/softball whatever? Had a garage sale? Got through a hurricane, flood, tornado, storm?

How’d y’all do?

No one in Louisiana has had to ask what that question’s been about this past week Everyone around here knows about the insane amount of rainfall this past weekend.

Breaux Bridge

Aug. 13, 2016 in Breaux Bridge, La.  This was high ground.

A shrug, a slow head nod. “Did ok.  Lotta water in the yard/garage/shop/street but the house is OK.”

A shrug, a sigh, a slow head shake.  “Well, not so hot.  Everything flooded. House, cars.”

Then, there are the stories about someone waking up in the night, getting out of bed and realizing they’re in water up to there.  Or the folks who had to climb into the attic and out of a window, or hack a hole in the roof.  It’s a sickening feeling, watching the water rise and knowing there’s not a blasted thing you can do about it.  Been there, done that, no fun.

water dave rita

We’ve had high water before…

On the other hand, there are the stories of kindness.  Travelers stranded on the highways for hours were cared for by people living nearby.  Not just water and snacks, but home cooked jambalaya, red beans, etc.  When in doubt, bring food.  People helping neighbors and strangers.  Perhaps that’s why there hasn’t been a lot of national news on this story; Cajuns (and “adopted Cajuns”) know how to fend for themselves and each other.  Just do a quick search for “Cajun Navy” and you’ll see what I mean.

Yes, there is a certain amount of “self determination” and self-sufficiency in that, and this isn’t always seen as politically correct.  Too bad.  It’s what we do, it’s what many people do in Louisiana and beyond. It’s common human decency, although if you watch the news too much you may become convinced that this no longer exists.  It does, though, and is out in full force this week as everyone does whatever they can to help someone else who’s dealing with the flood aftermath. Self sufficiency doesn’t mean all alone; it means that there are people around you who will help – just as you help them when the need arises.

We did OK.  Family, house, business, staff, all ok.  Too many other folks we know – not all so good.  We’re on high ground (relatively speaking in south Louisiana) but a lot of folks live in new subdivisions that were “not in a flood zone” – and therefore don’t have flood insurance because no one ever dreamed they’d flood.

water in the cane

Cane fields don’t usually look like rice fields…

I read today that the equivalent of one and a half Lake Ponchartrains fell on Louisiana within a few days. That’s a lot of water.

So what are we doing?  What we always do.  Back to work, do what you can to help wherever you can, swat the mosquitos, and be grateful.  Oh, and bring food.

How’d y’all do?

Shrug.  We’ll get there. We always do.

onward

Want to help Louisiana and show some love?  New Iberia artist Paul Schexnayder has designed a print that expresses the resilience of Louisiana, and ALL proceeds go to the Community Foundation of Louisiana Disaster Relief Fund.  The 11 x 14 print is $45 and the T-shirt is $20, and comes in adult and youth sizes.  I love how Paul’s work shows hope and joy in even the darkest of circumstances.  To order, or for more information, look up Paul on facebook or find him via his website.

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Dog is my Copilot

Dog is my copilot 1

Pilot and copilot.  Guess which is which…

Dog is my copilot.  For years, I was a “cat person.”  I still am.  I’ve had some wonderful companions of both feline and canine types over the years, but this particular dog is something else.

About 7 years ago, someone “dumped” a dog on us.  This has happened more often than I care to think about; we live in a rural setting, and I think sometimes there is a big invisible-to-us neon sign over the house saying “deposit strays here.”  That particular dog was a bit of a pest, had a death wish, and was also – oh yippee – pregnant.  We named her “Dwish,” short for “Death Wish.” She was obviously part Blue Heeler and lived to try and herd cars. She also fixated on my husband, following him everywhere.

dwish

Dwish, a homeless, unwed mother.  Whatcha gonna do?

Dwish had her litter.  Eight puppies.  YIKES.  She had them under the steps to the laboratory where my husband spends much of his workdays. (We work close to home. Very close to home.)

Knowing (and hoping) the pups would soon outgrow that spot, we fixed up the “puppy yard,” which was a wire fence around the doghouse.  The doghouse is a bit over a hundred years old now; my great-grandfather built it for my grandfather’s dogs in the early 1900s.  It’s a small building that you can stand up in, and had been moved and rebuilt over the years.  My brother and I grew up playing in it, and it was the central command post for many strategic battles involving us, cousin and friends. Occasionally it’s been re-re-purposed back to its original purpose, and so we got Dwish and pups moved in.

puppies 1

SweetGirl (at far right) and pups in the doghouse.

As the pups were weaned, we would bring fresh food and water to the puppy yard and enjoyed seeing these little creatures explore, chew, yip, and play.  Eight tails would wag as we’d approach with food and water.  They were an assorted bunch, all right – some black and white, one fluffy brown and white one, some pure black, and a couple that were a mix of colors and features.

One such pup became the first at the fence on a regular basis.  She wasn’t so interested in eating, though, as she was in playing.  We’d decided to keep one of the pups.

“That one,” I told my husband.  “The one that always wants to play, with the cowlick.”

puppies yard

She’s the one who’s NOT looking at the food.

One by one, the rest of the litter had homes, and this SweetGirl stayed with us.  We eventually found a new home for Dwish on a less traveled road, as no electronic fence would keep her from chasing cars. Sweetgirl has a cowlick, all right.  When she’s en guard, her hair stands up even more. You might say she has a permanent bad hair day, but I think it’s cute.

IMG_0526

Baby, I was born this way.

SweetGirl still loves to play.  She’s not much at fetching, but likes to play hide and seek – she has quite the tracking nose.  She lives to chase squirrels.  When we’ve gone out of town, she stays at Camp Bow Wow. The first time she was there, they informed us that she’d jumped a 6 foot fence.  We found that hard to believe until I saw her leap at least 5 feet up a tree after a squirrel.

dog guitars

Don’t worry, mom, your guitars are safe with me.

She’s a great doorbell and watchdog, but with family, she can’t hold her likker.  When she decides it’s time for her humans to wake up, said humans get a slurp on the nose. Or two or three. Our children are out of the house and at college, but she is thrilled whenever they come home.  She’s thrilled whenever my husband or I come home, too – even if we’ve only been gone 10 minutes. We don’t like to leave her, and she comes along to the office (and occasionally on a route).  The FedEx guy brings her treats (and so does our staff)! From her spot at work, she can keep an eye on office, lab and house.  She takes her job seriously.

She decided early on that friend and music partner Bubba was a “brother of the fur” and
treats him accordingly.  The fact that he is also a very soft touch for handouts at the table probably has nothing to do with her adoration of him.

so spolied

Are you going to eat that?

She’s a companion, and yes, friend.  She will crawl up behind me on a chair when the weather is bad. She’s like other dogs I’ve met in that when her humans are sad, she somehow knows this and stays close to give comfort.  She makes us laugh by her sheer joy at simple things, and helps us to find the fun as well.

HAPPYDOG

At the camp, ears flapping in the wind, rolling with mom and dad!

Dog spelled backwards is god, and though this only works in English, I think it’s kinda fitting.  A beloved dog gives unconditional love, and always wants to be with their human.  Sometimes dog wants to show us something neat, or something cool, or warn us.  Sometimes dog wants to show us something that we don’t understand – like something dead and stinky they rolled in.  (I suppose we can take that as a lesson in patience.  Then again, God does have a sense of humor.)

whistlers dog

SweetGirl is fascinated by cats.  This particular cat tolerates her (as long as she knows her place)!

As I write this, SweetGirl is at my feet, where she’s been for a while.  If I get up, she follows me.  She just wants to stay close.  When my husband gets home today from fishing, she will greet him with frantic tail wagging and dog-kisses (probably more so because she misses him, but the smell of fish doesn’t hurt).

HAPPYDOG2

Whooooooo’s a happy doggie??

 

Dog is my copilot 3

The ultimate backseat driver.

So yes, while God is my copilot, dog is also my copilot.  One of the wonderful, simple, everyday miraculous gifts in life. We are grateful.