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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

OH LAWD chapter 27

Gulf Port Beach
We talked late into the night but Ma and Pa gave up around eleven and went to bed.

Finally at midnight I said, “I'm tired, we can pick this up tomorrow for I will be here for a few days before heading back to New Orleans.”

Linda decided to stay overnight instead of going home, and slept in Marley's room.  
She got up early enough to go home and change into fresh clothes before work.

The high humidity made it necessary to change clothes at least once every day. There wasn't too much difference between the weather in New York and Gulfport at this time of year, so I was dressed for it.

I had told Linda to come back by, and I would fix breakfast for us, and then I would walk her to work.

I wanted to look over the town some more, and visit the high school I had attended.  At about eleven thirty I was at the pier, and was ready for lunch.
Courtesy free clip art
Marly had just made it to work, for she had slept in.  She saw me rearranging the table where I was sitting, and she said, “What’s the matter with the way I set it?”

 I said, “Nothing really, but I have been trained to set tables a certain way, and I just automatically set them that way without thinking.”

She said, “Let me take your order,” so I went along with her, and ordered some Gumbo and cracklin corn bread and butter. When Marly brought me my meal I told her that I could have went and got it.

She laughed and said, “You are trying to beat me out of a big tip aren't you?”

Paddy came over and talked to me for a while and said that I was getting out of shape and needed to get back into the gym and toughen up.

I said, “You sure have that right for I haven't been working out for over a month.” As he left he said. “Don't you sluff off and not do it.”

I promised him I would just as soon as I returned to New Orleans.
I never knew how much I missed my friends until I came back and associated with them again.

Noonan wanted to know if I learned anything, and if I could remember what they taught me. I assured him I could remember everything, because I made myself notes on each dish they served, and then late at night I would write out the full recipe.

I had enough recipes to fill two or more books but since they were what you might call secret recipes, I would not share them without permission from the New York chefs.

I went home and visited with Ma while she fixed supper for us. She said that both Linda and Marly would be here for the evening meal so we would wait for them. The girls showed up and we enjoyed a fine meal before the questions began again.

This time it started with "How many girl friends did you have in New York?" I lied and said, “There were too many to count. I can't remember them all.” Then I made up some stories about several of them and how sophisticated they were.

They both frowned at what I was telling them but wanted to hear more. They were jealous of these girls that didn't exist, and saw them as their competition.

Marly said, “Let me tell you something right now, they don't have anything we don't have.”

I could see I was hitting a nerve and was tempted to lay it on heavier but decided against it.  I just said, “It’s true you do have everything they have, but what they have is different.”

They weren't going to let me get away with that, and for the next hour, they wouldn't stop until I agreed the girls in Gulfport, and them in particular, were better than those smarty New York ones.   

Oh Lawd           
To be Continued

Monday, April 29, 2013

OH LAWD chapter 26

When I arrived in Gulfport I immediately made my way home to see my folks.

Ma was there for she didn't work in the restaurant as much as she did before they hired some help.  Marly still worked there when she wasn't in school.

Linda got a job working in Woolworth to help with her expenses.

After spending some time with Ma I said I'm going down to the restaurant and get something to eat and visit with Noonan and the gang and of course I want to see Pa.

The food was still as good as I remembered it, and after eating nothing but French food for almost a year it was a welcome relief.  Marly showed up for work and she hugged me until I had to get my breath.

She wanted to talk about what had happened this last year, but I told her it could wait until tonight after she got off from work. I talked with Noonan, Abdul and Paddy for some time and then left.

I walked downtown and it hadn't changed much. I started to go into Woolworth's but changed my mind and went to the station house to see O'Malley for he was one of my favorite people.

We chatted for a while and I asked how things were going. He said the navy has brought in quite a large number of new navy men and that had caused him some trouble.

Paddy Wagon
courtesy free clip art
He went to the base and insisted that they increased the shore patrol presence and have a wagon standing by for transporting the guys that became unruly.

They agreed and since then the problem has become manageable.

I said goodbye to O'Malley and remembered there was a soda fountain in Woolworths and I decided to get a milkshake, and at the same time I hoped I would see Linda.

I asked the soda jerk if she was working, and he said “Yes she works in the dry goods section.”
As I was finishing my milkshake she spotted me and came quickly to where I was and hugged and kissed me in front of everybody.

When she realized what she had done she began to blush. She then said “Phooey with everyone, and kissed me again.”

After we chatted for a while she walked me to the door, and said she would be over tonight and wanted to hear all about my trip and time in New York.

The afternoon was wearing on so I went home and spent some time alone with Ma.  
Fried Chicken

She fried us some chicken, and the fixins for supper while the rest of the family would eat at the restaurant before coming home.

My Ma could really cook, it was what some would call plain but I called it "palate pleasing."

When Linda got off work, she came straight over to Ma's house to see me and there was plenty of chicken left over for a meal for her. She talked as she ate and had a lot of questions about what New York was like.

I said, “Let’s wait until Marly gets here for she wants to be in the discussion and it will save answering the same questions over and over again.”

A few minutes later Marly showed up and the questions began to fly.

I said, “First of all let me tell you about my trip there. The train first went to Chicago where I had to change to another train for New York. Not only did I have to change trains, I also had to change stations.

I took a train to New York named the "20th Century." When I arrived at the New York station I felt lost and although I couldn't afford it, I took a cab.

He dropped me off at the restaurant, and I went in and introduced my self. They said they had been expecting me, and had a place for me to stay.

I must say that their being friendly made me feel a lot better.”

Oh Lawd!     
To be Continued


This is a true story and is shared at "Tell Me a True Story."  Return soon for my continued Fictional Stories. 

Old Bike

It had to be somewhere around 1939 as best I can recollect.

School was out and we boys had been planning for weeks what we were going to do this summer.

It took three days to accomplish all of our big plans, and we were at a loss to come up with something new for the rest of the summer.

Of course it was the beginning of summer, and the weather was heating up and by eleven o'clock we had to find some shade.

A few miles away was a swimming pool where you could swim for a price but by the time we paid bus fare and paid for swimming it was more than we could afford so we scratched that off our list of things to do.

There was one other issue that caused us not to go to the pool and that was there were so many people who were in the pool side by side that it ran over.  

When everyone got out at closing time it was only a little over half full and they had to refill it. It was like taking a bath with half of the town.

Among our gang there was only one of us who owned a bicycle. It didn't have hand brakes, and I found out later that reversing the pedals didn't work the brakes either.

While he didn't like to let anyone ride it (actually his folks forbid it) he would relent and let a couple of us use it. He seemed to get around on it pretty good and I finally got him to let me try it out.

I had just started to move at a slow pace, when I back pedaled to put the brakes on, and it didn't stop. I wasn't moving very fast so I just slid my feet on the ground to get it stopped.

I asked my friend, “Where are the brakes?” and he replied, “They don't work!”

“How do you stop it?” I asked.
With great aplomb he said, “If you put your foot between the frame and the front wheel it will rub the tire and stop it.”

I looked and saw that he had removed the front fender and exposed the tire.

I climbed a nearby hill and down I came.  When I approached an intersection where a lot of cross traffic was going by, I did as instructed and it worked beautifully.  The bike came to a slow, smooth stop just as if it had regular brakes.

I rode it that day all over town, using the method prescribed by my friend.

After I finished my riding all day, I returned the bike and I noticed the bottom of my right shoe had a hole in it. If I had continued riding I would have been stopping the bike with the bottom of my foot.

Being very resourceful I immediately cut some cardboard and put it in my shoe for my sox was about worn out.

Here it was June and I wouldn't get new shoes until school started in September.  
I must say I wore out a lot of card board that summer of '39.

Had I been out on the farm I would have gone barefooted but in the city where I was living they were more civilized or so they thought.

I didn't ride the bicycle much after that for it was harder to use my left foot to stop it and my cardboard in the right shoe didn't work very well.

There were some other boys who rode the bike that summer, for I can still remember their screams when they went through the stop sign on the boulevard and missed the on-coming cars.

I guess they didn't master the foot braking technique, but at least they didn't have a hole in their shoe.

This post is shared at: Tell Me a Story


Sunday, April 28, 2013

OH LAWD chapter 25

A French Chef
courtesy photobucket

After I got through talking to the girls about the car, I told them, “I need to head back to New Orleans, and get ready for the coming week. I won't be back for maybe a month because of some things I have to do.

They both were quiet, saying nothing so I went to my car and headed home.

I was glad we got by this so things could get healed and back to some state of normalcy.  

Something I didn't tell my folk was the owner of the restaurant wanted me to go to Paris for several months and work with some of the top chefs there.

I was excited about the trip but as the time came near, the war was getting closer to France and the owner changed his mind. He said he wanted me to go to New York for they had some chefs that were about as good as those in France.

He planned for me to stay there six months and learn some of the enhanced points of preparing the finest French cuisine. The arrangements were made and I prepared to leave.

I wrote Pa and told him what I was doing and wouldn't see them until I returned. I promised to write them regularly and let them know how I was doing.

I cleaned my car and covered it after disconnecting the battery.

The train ride seemed long and I did a lot of thinking without coming to any conclusion on anything except I was going to have a good time while I was there.

After arriving in New York the next two days was spent getting settled. The owner of the first restaurant where I was to intern, was both nice and helpful to me.
While in school, I had studied some French, and was exposed to many French phrases while working in New Orleans, but this was different for almost everything was spoken about in French.

The chefs were marvelous, and I was amazed at how precise and fast they were. The meals were far above in quality and taste than I had been preparing in New Orleans.

After three months I had learned more about preparing food than I had in all the time before, and here I thought I was a real good cook. The very idea of me thinking I was that good - - now embarrassed me.

After the first three months I went to work in a different restaurant. There they prepared some of the same dishes, but they were somewhat different.

It was then I saw the wisdom of having me work at different cafes. I learned in order to be a true French Cafe everything must exude French cuisine from the motif to the atmosphere, and especially the food; while the name sets the mood and expectations.

While some may not know the difference, your main cliental will expect authenticity. I spent most of my days off, learning about wines and how they complement each of the dishes.

When I finished my tenure in New York I felt like an expert while knowing I wasn't, because it is a lifetime quest to totally grasp the French cuisine.

I had kept in contact with Ma by letter, and told her to tell everyone who mattered what I was doing. Marly and Linda were in their second year of college and soon would have to decide where to enroll after they had finished junior college.

I came directly home from New York, for I knew if I went to New Orleans it would be weeks before I could get away, and I had been missing my family and all my friends in Gulfport.

Oh Lawd           
To be Continued

Saturday, April 27, 2013

OH LAWD chapter 24

I've Been Saving My Money
After I had my talk with Linda, I cautioned her not to tell Marly that she had given me the whole story.

I said, “Marly deserves to tell me her version without being influenced by what you have said.  

Even though both of you experienced the same thing you each will have reacted to it differently.”

She agreed and said she wouldn't say anything about our conversation.

As the day went on Marly never mentioned the car or what happened to them.

I waited for her to bring it up but she never did. After she and Linda went to the movies I left with my car, and neither Marly nor Linda knew I had got it back from O'Malley.

It seemed he was always getting that car from the bad guys and giving it to me. I drove it to New Orleans and got a garage to keep it in. I kept it polished up where it would brightly shine in the New Orleans sunshine.

I enjoyed taking the car for a drive and sometimes I would take one of the local gals with me. Although I wasn't interested in any of them as a girl friend, they were just good friends, and we enjoyed each others company.

New Orleans was a town that was wide open in parts and if you were going to survive working in the French quarter you had to keep yourself separate from the riotousness of it.
They would celebrate everything and Mardi Gras was the liveliest of all. It was three months since the girls lost my car and Marly still hadn't said anything about it. I knew sooner of later she would have to confess so I waited.

When I drove over to home I kept the car at O'Malley's so it wasn't seen by the girls.

On a rare occasion I got both Sunday and Monday off. This week was due to a local holiday so I came home and found Marly working and Linda just hanging out.

Linda and I were having a soda, when Marly came over and started confessing to me about their misadventure, and losing my car.
She told me every detail, punctuated every so often with, "I'm so sorry."

I didn't interrupt her, and let her get it all out and then she surprised me.

She reached in her apron and pulled out sixty dollars. She said this was all she had earned during the summer plus ten dollars Linda gave her and she wanted me to put it toward a new car.  

I said, “Thank you, but keep it for me until I get ready to leave.”

Since both girls had confessed, I decided it was time to bring the car out and get all this behind us. I met the girls as Marly was getting off work and told them I would give them a ride home.
freee clipart
They both looked at me suspiciously and thought I must have bought a bicycle.

When they saw the car they both started to speak at once.

They asked every question imaginable, and finally I had to stop them long enough to tell them what had happened.

This took me about a half an hour for they kept interrupting with questions.
They finally got the picture and then began to get angry with me.

They flung several insults at me for putting them through these months of thinking the car was lost and the guilt of losing it.
I reminded Marly that she had kept this from me about what happened - - until today.

She still was angry with me for my part in the deception, and even said some unkind things about O'Malley.
I told them, "I didn't tell you because I was mad.  I was mad at myself for allowing you have the car knowing that you couldn't be trusted with it.

I was mad because you had been placed in a dangerous position, because of me loaning you the car.
I was mad because I found out something about myself that I didn't like; which was, if either of you had been harmed in any way, I would have found a way to kill those who did it.  

Knowing that I was able to get that furious about something, made me angry at myself.
I was mad to think that I could care for you so much that I would be willing to do such a thing.  That was why I didn't tell you until you were honest with me."    
Oh Lawd!         
To be Continued  

Friday, April 26, 2013

OH LAWD chapter 23

We Didn't Mean for it to Happen !!
As O'Malley sat in his office he wondered, “What was Robert thinking, letting those girls have his car?”

It had been easy to spot when it was parked at the restaurant for it was the only one like it in the entire State.

Having retrieved it from the thieves, he took the car over to Robert's house, locked it up in the barn, and to make sure it stayed there he disabled it so it wouldn't run.

After some time the girls arrived on the bus, and tried to avoid talking to O'Malley. He cornered them and asked where they had been since it was getting late.

They tried to lie about their whereabouts but O'Malley wouldn't let them off the hook that easy. He said he had a lie detector, and it would get the truth out of them.

He took them down to the station house and called Rhino out from the back. He said, “These girls are having trouble telling me the truth.”

Rhino smiled and in the baddest sounding voice they ever heard he said, “Do you want that I should break their fingers Boss?” as he cracked his fingers.

As soon as they heard the noise his fingers made when he bent them backwards they told O'Malley the whole truth.

They began to cry as they told him their story, and finished by saying they didn't know how to tell brother what happened since he warned them to go straight home.

O'Malley didn't change his facial expression at all, and looked very grim as they told him their story.

He finally said, “Come on I'll take you home.”  However he never mentioned to them, that he had taken care of the whole problem.

When they arrived home he said, “Get some sleep, and I’ll see what I can do about this problem tomorrow.”

O’Malley then went to the restaurant, and filled Pa in on what had happened, and asked him not to let on that he had taken care of the situation.

Linda lay in bed trying to think of a way to explain to her parents what she had done. and even worse how to tell Robert about sitting in the rumble seat with a man she had never met.

She really felt guilty about that for the rumble seat is small, and the man kept rubbing against her.

Marly felt bad, but for a different reason. She wondered how she was going to get the money to buy Robert a new car to replace the one she let get stolen.   Neither girl got much sleep that night.

It was three weeks before I got a day off so I could come home.  When I got off the bus, O'Malley saw me, and we had a cup of coffee while he explained the entire situation.

At first I was stunned and then infuriated.  O'Malley settled me down, and told me the girls didn't know he had recovered the car and put it in the barn.

He said, “Don't mention that I have told you anything, and make the girls sweat it out, until they confess; that is punishment enough.”

I went down to the restaurant at the pier and Marly was waiting tables. She just waved at me, and continued to serve the customers.
I said hello to Ma and Pa and told Pa I had talked to O'Malley and he had filled me in on what happened. I asked him not to say anything, and I would act as if I didn't know about the circumstances

I wanted to see if Marly would tell me about it on her own, and what she would say.

I found Linda at home and when she saw me she got busy folding the laundry and ironing. It was mostly small talk until I asked how their trip home was.  
She fumbled for words and finally started to cry, and then poured out the whole story, and how she was sorry about her part in the whole mess.
I acted quite angry and left in a huff.   
Oh Lawd!
To be Continued

Thursday, April 25, 2013

OH LAWD chapter 22

Not a Good Idea!!
courtesy free clip art

After my High School Graduation, I made preparations to go to New Orleans and start to work; first I loaded the rumble seat with my goods.

Marly and Linda were going with me, and would drive my car back home to be stored in the barn. The restaurant provided me with a room in the back courtyard of the restaurant.
It was different being able to be right at work when I got up, and the street mall had all the shopping for things I needed.

After getting settled the girls were on their way home. I gave them specific instructions about going straight there without any side trips.
Of course they agreed and they said it would only take them a little over two hours to make the trip.

As they were sailing along there were two men hitchhiking along the road, and even with my warnings they pulled over and gave them a ride.

The one said he got road sick if he didn't sit in the front so Linda sat in the rumble seat with the other man.
After a few minutes the one said he was going to throw up and to pull over. When the car stopped they all got out and the girls walked away from the car so they could talk about the men they had picked up.

They walked and giggled about what they had done, and said, “Wouldn't Robert be mad if he knew about this?” They both said, “He will never hear it from me.”

They talked about how easy it was to pick up men when you have a car, and about that time, the car went flying by them leaving them standing on the side of the road.

As they looked at each other, fear and disbelief came over them and at first they ran after the car that quickly disappeared out of view.
While catching their breath they realized their purses with all their money was still in the car and another wave of distress went over them.

Oh NO - What to Do?
courtesy free clip art
There were very few cars traveling on the road to Gulfport and most of them were only going a couple of miles to some friend's house.

Marly said, "It will take us until tomorrow before we can walk home and how will we explain this to Pa and Robert."

After four hours the bus from New Orleans came by, and they flagged it down explaining to the driver what had happened.

Then they told him they didn't have any money to pay the fare. The bus driver only believed part of their story, and felt there was a lot more to it.
Because this was his regular route, and he had seen the girls before in town so lies or not, he let them get on board and ride to Gulfport.  

Some hours before the men that stole the car stopped at a restaurant to eat, and O'Malley happened by and saw the car. 
Thinking he would see Robert, he went inside the restaurant.  When he realized Robert wasn’t there he knew something was fishy, so he asked who was driving the red car because someone had run into it.

The two men stood up and said it was theirs.

O'Malley said , "I think you had better come down to the station, and we can straighten this out."
About this time they both tried to run by O'Malley, which was a mistake, for he grabbed the two of them, slammed them to the floor while several other patrons started pounding them.

When they arrived at the station house O'Malley asked them what they were doing with his car.  When he said it was “His car,” the blood drained from their faces, and they started telling lies about how they came to have the car.

After a few minutes he said, “Stop.  I have a lie detector which will find out the truth very quickly.”  

The men looked at each other and grinned thinking there wasn't any such machine.

Officer O’Malley called for deputy Rhino to come to the front desk, and this monster of a man ambled out and said, “Yea boss.”  

O'Malley said, “These boys are having trouble telling the truth. Do you think you can help them remember?”  

Rhino said, “I'm sure I can,” as he grabbed the one closest to him and with one hand picked him up and disappeared into the back room.
After two minutes and three broken fingers the man remembered everything and wanted to tell all.

Then it was the other thief’s turn to remember, and again after two minutes and two broken fingers he remembered every detail.

Their stories matched and O'Malley was sure they were telling the truth, so he put them in a cell and waited for the judge to come down.
Based on their confessions the judge gave them eight years of hard labor.      

Oh Lawd!    
To be Continued

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

OH LAWD chapter 21

courtesy free clip art
Having received my 1936 Chevy Roaster, I carefully drove it home and cleaned out enough room for it in the small barn on the property.

I felt like sleeping in it the first night, but finally came into the house and stayed awake most of the night in my bed.

Officer O'Malley told me that he felt I have should have the car rather than the bootlegger.

The next day Marly found out about the car, and I couldn't keep her out of it.
She would pet my car like a kitten and kept saying, “Teach me to drive.”

I was thinking, “Not in my car; that will never happen.”  Even as I wrestled with these thoughts, I knew she would eventually get her way with me; but I was resolved to put her off as long as I could.

Ever since she was small she knew how to manipulate me and get her way.

For the next month I kept my car in the barn, and would only start it up, let it run for awhile, and then polish it. 

Finally the time came when I took Linda and Marly for a trip in the country, and we looked at some of the old country mansions. With the top down the air caused the girls to have to hang on to their hats and the wind made their hair a mess.

All at once we had a freedom we never experienced before.
The day after O'Malley gave me the car, Pa reminded me that I still had the same responsibilities that I had before. That was a sobering thought, but I had to agree with Pa and get back to my duties.

When school started Marly wanted to take the car to school, but I told her to either walk with me or ride her bike. 

I didn't want anyone messing with my car when I wasn't around, which I knew would happen if it was parked in the open.

In order to stop her complaining I began to teach her how to drive. I thought she was going to tear the clutch out of it before she learned to shift properly.

Eventually she got the hang of it, and now whenever we went anywhere Marly wanted to drive.  However I still wasn't comfortable with it.

The local college had some culinary classes on Saturday morning for two hours. I enrolled, and learned a lot about how to cook special dishes although at our restaurant, we didn't do much of that fancy kind of cooking.

Still knowing how to prepare dishes, and make them more appetizing was a big plus.
On the final day we all loaded up on a bus early that morning and went to New Orleans to one of the finer restaurant.  It was interesting as we watched the Chefs prepare dishes I had never heard of before.

Those meals for four persons cost more than I could make in a month.  I decided that as much as I loved my Pa's cafĂ©; I wanted to move up a few notches to become a Chef with benefits.

After finishing the first series of classes, I enrolled in the second semester and it was there that I got to actually prepare meals suitable for those who supposed their palate's were superior to the common folks, and were willing to pay a premium price for food.

The teacher was impressed by my progress, and allowed me to continue honing my culinary skills until I graduated from high school. Meanwhile Pa decided it was time for Marly to settle down and start earning some money.

She did some chores around the dock but Pa wanted her to start waitressing and allow her Ma to have some time off.  
While she wasn't too excited about doing this, but after she started getting some tips and her wages, her attitude changed completely.

At first she spent it all on clothes and things like makeup, and perfume but after a while she began to save part of it.

With my teacher's help I was offered a position in a New Orleans French restaurant, and I headed there as soon as I graduated.        

 OH Lawd!    
to be Continued

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

OH LAWD chapter 20

O'Malley drove up in this car!
Courtesy Google search

The cooking experience was getting more interesting each day.  

After I made my first Potato soup Noonan, Abdul and Paddy all bragged on it.  They kept saying it was as good as Noonan's, maybe even better for it wasn't as hot as his.

All this encouragement made me feel good, but the opinion I was interested in was Ma's appraisal, for she would tell me the truth.

I fixed her and Pa a bowl with some cornbread with onions in it and waited. Ma said the soup is delicious but the cornbread has too much soda in it.  In fact she said, “Just use baking power without the soda.”
I didn't care about the cornbread as long as she liked to soup.

My next lesson was on making Gumbo. We were back to boiling the chicken for broth, and then Noonan's secret ingredients including a lot of Okra.

And so it went through the summer, and by the time school started I had mastered the whole menu at the restaurant along with many dishes that weren't on the menu.

I couldn't believe I was in the eleventh grade and Linda and Marly were in high school with me.  As expected some of the older guys were checking out Linda and Marly. Marly had begun to get interested in boys again after swearing off of them for the last year.

Guys were always asking her and Linda to go out with them, and because I was so busy with cooking and studying I didn't have too much time to spend with Linda. They went out on some double dates, and while it irked me I couldn't complain.

We still managed to go to the movie once a week and spend some time together on Sunday but during the week I was busy. I was saving for every boys dream which was to own a car of my own.   
Pa didn't own a car but Paddy did and he taught me to drive. Being able to drive just made me want one of my own even worse.

Just before school started Officer O'Malley came by to get a bowl of Gumbo, and he said, “How would you like to buy that car I am driving?”

I took one look at the car, and it was love at first sight. It was a 1936 Chevy Roaster with a rumble seat.
Anyone would look good riding in that with the top down and the radio playing some Cajun music.

After fifteen minutes I came back and told O'Malley that it was a little out of my price range.
I told him I was looking for something that was ready to be junked that I could fix up and just so it would run.
He asked me how much I had saved so far and I said, “I have twenty five dollars saved.”
O’Malley said he would sell that car for twenty five dollars right now but the buyer would have to buy it today.

I sat stunned for I knew O'Malley didn't kid around, but that car was worth many hundreds of dollars and I sat there with my mouth open.
He said, “Okay last offer - -after this the deal will be off.”

I said, “I'll take it,” still not believing he would take that little for the car, and he said "Sold."  
I always carried my cash with me so I gave him my money and he gave me the keys.
He said he would give me the ownership papers later.

I just couldn't believe that I had a car, especially that one. I went up and sat in it and all the restaurant people came up, and looked it over and were all smiles.

I asked O'Malley how he could he sell me this car for so little. and he said, “I had discovered where a bootlegger's still was, and was going to arrest him, but the fellow took off. 
He left everything including some money, and the car which I confiscated after destroying the still.

The chief inspector left it up to me as to what to do with the car while the inspector kept the money.  
Paddy and the restaurant crew convinced me that I should let you have the car, and here is your twenty five dollars for some gas and stuff.  Now if you don't mind where is my Gumbo?”

I quickly served him and told him, “You will get free Gumbo here for life from now on.”       

Oh Lawd!        
To be Continued

Monday, April 22, 2013


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Free Chicken's if you Buy some Feed
As a kid I was fascinated by the chickens for their world was fairly complex.

If you only gave them a casually look you might miss many of the nuances that goes into being a chicken. They have gotten a lot of negative press and made fun of, but they have a peculiar life style.

The rooster is an amorous creature and starts early each day trying to arouse the object of his affection. The pursuit of the opposite sex is almost human like, so much so I don’t know who learned what from whom. Anyway in case you didn’t know what all the crowing early in the morning was all about, now you know.

I was warned not to get personal with the chickens when I was little and I tried to follow that advice, but to know them is to love them.

My mother had a Rhode Island Red hen that was her pet. She would bring her into the house for awhile each day, and she thought my mother was her mama.  I would chase it through the house and it would flee to the safety of my mother’s lap that was her safe house.  That is about as close, as a chicken could get to loving a human.

There was always a little trauma on Sunday dinner when one of the recognizable birds ended up on the dinner table but was mediated by the first bite of that fried chicken, especially with my appetite.

Then one day my uncle got a free box of baby chickens. They were free if you bought some chicken feed.  These chickens were white leghorns and they all looked alike.
They were better layers but I couldn’t tell one from another.  It was like they were all clones.  Anyway I felt better because when they graced the dinner table I didn’t know which one they were.

Other that Sunday dinner the great nemesis of the chicken was; the chicken hawk.  It seemed the chicken hawk liked chicken as well as I did.
My uncle solved this problem by putting up bird boxes so that the martins would nest in during a part of the year. When a hawk showed up those little martins were all over them, and kept the airways clear of those predators.

Having said too much I can only further say; if it wasn’t for the chicken I would be a lesser man for I got my education down on the farm. What has the chicken added to your life, this noble bird has done more for me than the bald eagle has or ever will?

There are many old sayings using the chicken as a vehicle like;

You can get this for chicken feed,
I go to bed with the chickens,
Nest egg - to save a little money each week
Scratching out a living - to earn enough to get by in life.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch

Don't put all your eggs in one basket –

And how about these sayings and their meanings
Feather your nest - saving for the future
Hen house - large number of females living in the same house
Mother hen - very protective
Madder than a wet settin' hen - very angry
Fussing like an old hen – angry

Hen cackle – to laugh
Laid an egg – failed
Feeling like Henny Penny – one person doing all the work
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
Scarce as hen's teeth - extremely hard to find
Chick - young girl or teenager

Hen-pecked – nagged
The rooster may crow, but this hen lays the egg!
Flew the coop - gone
Up with the chickens - waking early with the sunrise.
Walking on eggshells- treading softly and trying not to upset someone
Like a chicken with it's head cut off - running around with no direction
Like a head with it's chicken cut off - depressed
Shake a tail feather - get moving
Strutting' your stuff - Showing off
Strutting around like a banty rooster - showing off
Bird brain - senseless
Dumb cluck - senseless
You're chicken! - Being afraid
Sunny side up - cheerful attitude
Hard-boiled - tough attitude
Over easy - soft inside
Chicken out - not follow through
Ruffle your feathers - something annoys you
Chicken hearted - Not brave
Chickens have come home to roost - the past is catching up with you
No spring chicken - you're old. Plain and simple.
Like a Banty on a June bug - all over you
Hatch an idea - put a plan into motion
Egg on your face - caught in an untruth
Squawking - putting up a fuss
Rule the Roost - to be the boss
Pecking order - finding your place
Cock of the walk - to be the boss
Play Chicken - a stand off, who will give up first
Something to crow about - exciting news to tell
Brood over it - to worry; to hover over a problem
Chicken scratch - poor handwriting
Stick your neck out - go to bat for someone else
Stuck in your craw - upset about something and won't verbalize what's going on inside you; carrying a grudge.
Cock sure - to brag
Bad egg - less than honest person; poor moral standards
In a stew - got yourself in trouble
Raise your hackle feathers - visibly annoyed
Cock and bull story - tall tails and elaborate lies
Hen Party – Ladies meeting

Empty nest syndrome - depression and loneliness when children leave home
Made from scratch - made from raw materials by hand
Chicken hawks - politicians who are pro-war but declined to participate themselves
Tastes like Chicken - to describe the taste for any number of other meats
Use everything but the crow - use it up and wear it out; made due with what you have.
The rooster makes all the noise, but the hen rules the roost!

What has the chicken added to your life?  This noble bird has done more for me than the bald eagle has or ever will do.


OH LAWD chapter 19

Learning to cook with Abdul and Noonan
courtesy free clip art
After the Golden Glove bouts and the incident at the restaurant I had enough fighting for a while; in fact I had enough for a lifetime.

I needed to apply myself to my studies for this extra curricular action had caused my grades to slip.  I explained to Pa what was going on and I needed just a little time to catch up.
I told him that I knew a boy who could do some of my chores and free me up for study and he could take his wages out of my paycheck to which he agreed.

I was back to getting good grades even though Marly and Linda were constantly distracting me.  I told them I might as well go back to work for they were too much of a disturbance.

Marly said, “I know what your trouble is, and it is being this close to Linda.”

I told her she was one hundred percent wrong about that, but she just laughed at me and said, “Who do you think you are you kidding?”

Actually I was just trying to kid myself for I knew she was right about that.

In any case I told dad I was ready to take over my chores again and he said, “This boy is working out alright and he needs the money so I will keep him on, and you can work in the kitchen, for it is time for you to learn to cook.”

This was something I had never gave any thought to, but I agreed that it wouldn't hurt me to learn how cook.

I started out by getting up early and helping Abdul cook breakfast for the early risers.
After being around the restaurant all this while there was something I had never thought of; how much work it is to get things ready to cook.

Peeling onions and potatoes and all the preparation was a large part of cooking that I learned about first hand.  

Being around the bacon frying, and the other foods caused me to be teased a lot. Linda said I smelled good enough to eat.

After a couple of months Noonan said I was ready to move to the evening menu and learn how to cook Cajun style.  
Noonan said, “Boy, wash yo hands and get ready for your first lesson. You have eat a lot of this first dish which is Cajun potato soup. We gonna make this cause it’s so simple.
He told me to get some potatoes, sausage, onion, butter, garlic, milk, spinach and Parmesan cheese and one more thing; Throw that chicken in the pot with a gallon of water and turn the heat up.”

As we went along he added a few other things like Cajun seasoning. While that chicken was boiling we cooked all the other ingredients.
After an hour Noonan said take that chicken out and let it cool.

Then he said, “Strain that broth and pour it into the pot with the potatoes in it.  Now we cook that for half an hour and it will be ready to serve.”

I asked him, “What do we do with the chicken?” 

Noonan replied, “We take out them bones, and I will make some chicken pot pies later.”

I thought to myself, “We don't waste anything.”

Then he said, "Now I'm a gonna teach you the secret to all cooking, and that is to talk to yo food.  

If it is Cajun you speak some Cajun words to it. If it is Mexican then say some words in Spanish, and the same for French, Chinese and so forth. As you talk to your cooking you become one with it and that is the secret to cooking good food; becoming one with the food.”

I didn't know how to speak a lot of Cajun, because my teachers always got on us for not speaking good English but what few words I knew I used over and over again. 
Noonan said the food understood what we were saying and became friendlier with the cook because of it.  

He said. “One other thing to know is the after taste. As you eat you get the first taste of the food but then there is an after taste which is just as important.”

The way you bring that alive in many foods like Cajun is to throw in some hot peppers.
How many you use depends on how hot you like it. Make sure you take them out before you are finished with the dish.

I figured that I was a one pepper kind of a guy, so I stuck with that.

Oh Lawd  
To be Continued