The groundhog saw his shadow and gave us six more weeks of winter. What happens when that other harbinger of spring, Jimmy Buffett, falls off a stage in Australia and cracks his skull?
Everybody knows it’s not spring without Jimmy. Here’s hoping he’s well from a fall that left him unconscious, in the hospital and with a few stitches.
By the look of things here in Lake Chuck, spring will never come, at least not while there’s a chance the weather will get cold enough for draft beer. My office closed Thursday and part of Friday in the week of the Blizzard of ‘11, and I have yet to see a snowflake anywhere. My brother Thomas lives in Chicago. He got two feet of snow and drifts up to six feet on his garage door, but he was up with his snowblower before you could say Rahm Emanuel.
When I was growing up, we had the occasional snowstorm, at least one a year, and when it happened, the schools were inevitably closed because of the street conditions. No real difference here, except there’s no snow. The most interesting thing to me, though, is that the threat of cold weather seems to affect lots of people—schools, daycare centers, the DMV, the Courts—but doesn’t seem to bother employees of, oh I don’t know, Wal-Mart. The stores are packed. I guess their workers and their customers have a force field or something that protects them from the cold weather, even though there’s an “official” warning in effect.
If I had to explain this to a foreigner, let’s say somebody from Missouri, I don’t think I could give them any better example of Louisiana’s unofficial motto, laissez les bon temps roulez! Hurricane? Party. Snow? Party!! Thirty percent forecast of snow? No work and BIG party!
We are fortunate to live in a state where fun is prized. Let’s face it. In Chicago, you have, maybe, two and a half months out of the year where you can go outside without a space suit. In those months, it’s fine. And when you go there, you can go on a cruise in Lake Michigan, drop off for some amusement at Navy Pier, see a couple of baseball games and, occasionally, listen to some good music. But Chicagoans are pikers compared to our state.
Take Mardi Gras, for example. Just in Lake Charles, there are over 50 krewes, each with a ball between Twelfth Night on January 6 and Fat Tuesday on March 8. Although I’ve never been a joiner, and thus successfully avoided membership in a krewe, I’ve been fortunate enough to have many friends over the years invite me to their festivities. Best parties I’ve been to since I was in a fraternity in college. Come to think of it, some of the same people seem to be involved in setting up those parties. I keep waiting for Otis Day and the Knights to come along.
Then there’s Contraband Day, with its pirate motif, boats along the lakefront, bands, enough different meats on a stick to rival a Beijing street market, and that inevitable fashion combination, tattoos and halter-tops. Even the Martin Luther King Day celebration, which was primarily a one-day affair, produced enough good music in the Civic Center lot that I could hear it in my 18th floor office.
I suppose you could make a case that our groups (and I include my loyal employees here) push the envelope a little bit when there’s a way to cut loose. But hey, where would you rather live?
Jimmy Buffett, by the way, my friend and classmate from the University of Southern Mississippi (I didn’t really know him, but we were there at the same time) is apparently okay. He got out of the hospital in Sydney shortly afterwards and came home, no doubt to write another song about the experience.
It’s just a guess on my part, but I believe spring will come this year after all. I guess the next time we won’t have to work will be a rainy day.
You guys enjoy your time off, and I’ll see you on the flip.