Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't Get Around Much Anymore

It's true, I've pretty much become a stay-at-homer. Sure, I might leave the building once or twice a week, but I don't go any further than a couple of blocks. There are people around who are starting to call me the Beau of Amherst South.

I don't know why it is I've developed this geographical comfort zone - except that it really is comfortable. I'd think something might be wrong with me except for the visit this past Monday from my big brother Russ.

Russell was coming into town to watch his youngest granddaughter play volleyball at "the McGehee School", which he pronounced as "ma-GEE'-hee". Of course, he's probably right outside the four walls surrounding our city, but you know how we are. We work hard at being colorful in our language. Truth be told, we only say "BurGUNdy" in front of tourists and never say "how's ya mominem" to one another. No, within the confines of our private conclaves we're quite Cowardian in our communications. But you never heard that from me.

I digress.

Russell was coming into town and wanted to visit with me before the game and take me with him afterward. I could show him where this "McGehee School" was.

Well, okay. Sure.

Monday morning, I made Bob swear to support me when I would tell Russell I was sick and couldn't go with him to the game - or that Bob was sick so I couldn't leave him to go to the game. But it never happened that way. Once Russell got into town and made it inside the apartment, he and Bobby talked nonstop all afternoon - thereby proving that Bob was in fine fettle; and Bobby made me get him this and get him that so much throughout the afternoon that I could never pass as someone with an affliction.

I would have to go. With one stipulation, however. I would take our car. I even explained to Russ my reasoning that if the games (it was a tournament) went on too long, I could leave and get back home. To look in on Bobby, mind you, not out of boredom. I would drive. He could follow me to the school.

No problem.

McGehee School is a tiny school for privileged little girls in the heart of the Garden District. It is housed in a lovely set of buildings surrounded by stately Victorian homes. It is the kind of school that has off-duty(?) officers of the NOPD serving as crossing guards. It is the kind of school whose parents walk their daughters hand-in-hand to the gate every morning and return to fetch them there (by hand) each afternoon. McGehee School posses a tiny gymnasium that does not smell of sweat. This gymnasium provides its visitors tiny little-girl bleachers which nearly caused me tibia breakage when my brother decided we should sit in the upper tiers and not on the lower rungs.

I'm probably being too mean and classless in my description of the mean, class-conscious McGehee School girls. But my brother's granddaughter lives in a little country town in Southwest Louisiana called Iota, and she plays on the Iota High School Lady Dogs (Dawgs?) team. (I know what's clattering across the ticker-tape of your mind. I don't intend to go there. She's my brother's granddaughter, for Christ's sake.) Iota has a population composed of seven Cajun cousins and their kids. These people are generally sweet and good, god-fearing, with turnable cheeks. And those cheeks were spinning Monday night.

You see, two little McGehee School girls (no more than ten years old) chose to sit in the midst of the Iota fans and parents and mock the volleyball team, cruelly and mercilessly.This went on unceasingly until one Iota teenage boy, at his sweet and good, god-fearing mother's prompting, called them out as evil [dirty words].

Did they blanch? Did they speed-dial their mothers on their iPhones? Did they run off to order their personal off-duty(?) NOPD security details to take the Cajun family out? No. They moved. Tough? Don't make me laugh.

One Iota mother turned to me and asked if these children had ever been spanked.

"Oh, no," I said. "And it's a pity, too. Before you know it, daddy will be paying off the judges."

"Tsk-tsk," she said.

But we were there to see a game. Unfortunately, we didn't. The McGehee School team, the Hawks they call themselves, were far superior to the visiting team from the little particle-named country town. Those Hawks swooped down on our little Dogs (Dawgs?) and carried them off as carrion.

What's in a name indeed? Maybe those Iota cousins ought to consider a name change or at least an AKA. Back home in Acadiana, they can be the Lady Dogs (Dawgs?) but when they leave that territory and enter a pit of a place like New Orleans, they can refer to themselves as, say, the Battling Bitches, the She-Hounds from Hell, or the Rapacious Rottweilers.

All in all, I could find no reason to leave early, so I stayed till the almost-bitter end. The country girls lost every game, but when it was over and everyone had gathered on the court to comfort them, their coach came over to my brother's granddaughter to tell her she'd been awarded a spot on the All-District team back home. At that, she cried like a girl, but that's okay, cause she is. Did I mention she was good? She was. She is. Even I could see that. And she's only a Freshman, so she'll only get better.

Her name is Madison, and she's got what it takes. Of course, she does. She's my brother's granddaughter.
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