Monday, 4/23/01 - Ala Louisiana
The drive from Mississippi to Louisiana was easy and not too hot because of the early morning, pre-baking-sun hour. Pulled into the KOA Lafayette and asked for a lunch recommendation - something authentic.
Drove into Ducson, the next town over, to Thibodeaux's, about as authentic a Cajun joint as you can find. A few locals scattered around the place, conversing with the tourist couple from the Mid-West. Robert Thibodeaux, the owner, darting back and forth from dining room to kitchen. Red and white table cloths and matching curtains where the red design were crawfish close together like a checkerboard pattern.
I ordered the Crawfish Macshou prepared with corn. Mr. Thibodeaux rattled off the choice of beverages. "Root Beer?" "Ah, Yes! Root Beer!" I exclaimed. "I knew it," he said, "I don't know how I knew it, but I knew you'd like that. You get to know someone pretty quick." And he was off to the kitchen again.
People called out to me across the restaurant, asking if I was in town for the Festivale Internationale. No, I said, I was in town to promote my new book and was speaking that night at the Barnes and Noble.
"What is your book about?" asked one large man on the other side of the room.
"The Internet." I said and they all nodded, yes, the Internet.
"You could write one about Cajuns," said the big man, "But that would take you a lifetime," he laughed.
"I know she couldn't," said the older woman in the back, "You're a breed all on your own."
Lunch was beyond delicious. Spicy, tasty, sweet. I was in tastebud tingling heaven.
In the evening, I met up with Jenne Hamlin and Abigail Ransonet, two women involved with Webgrrls and the local tech organization, Zydetec. We had an early dinner (I had to get another Crawfish dish, this time in pasta) and then headed to the Barnes and Noble for my appearance.
After that, it was back to the KOA, in our site near the little lake in the middle of the campground.
Tuesday, 4/24/01 - Zydetec and More Cajun Cooking
Initially, I had planned to head to Houston on this day, but was invited by Abigail to speak to the Zydetec group in the evening so I decided to stay. Also, Jenne invited me to lunch at the Blue Dog Cafe - yes, the Blue Dog that I first discovered as a child in New Orleans. I was so excited! Of course, finding parking in the lot proved to be comical, as I was nearly stuck in a tight space until a nice man offered to help direct the RV back out. Finally, I asked the motel across the street if I could park in their large and empty lot. The manager agreed.
Lunch was so great, particularly because I could gaze upon a wide assortment of Blue Dog prints as I ate. I spent too much money on all things Blue Dog including hat, tshirt, several books and note cards. Also met Rodrigue's right hand man and his seriographer (Rodrigue is the Blue Dog creator and owner of the restaurant - and his seriographer makes the special silkscreens of his work).
From lunch, I decided to go straight to the Zydetec meeting place even though I was several hours early. The Berts and I took a nap, then I got ready for my little speaking gig. The room was mostly filled with men, but I was pleased to see some women there. I spoke briefly about the view of the Internet business from both my days in the middle of it to my recent days quite a distance away.
Gave away another Qualcomm/Kyocera phone and a copy of my book. Interestingly, a woman won the phone and a man won the book, but the woman told the man that she'd really like the book instead so they traded.
After the meeting, Jenne and a co-worker brought me downtown in search of the gala opening night event for the Festival International but we couldn't find it if it bit us on the nose. So instead, we had a tasty dinner in a converted gas station called DJ's.
Drove back to the KOA at night. Let the Berts out and plugged in electric at the campsite. Then I noticed that Ernie wasn't near the RV. It was already late and all the lights of the neighboring RVs were out. I called Ernie's name quietly, then a little more frantically. Nothing - not a sound. I put Chewie in the RV, got my flashlight, shut the door and walked around the RV, whistling softly, calling him in a high pitched voice, shining the flashlight beam along the roads, toward the lake. "Ernie! Ernie! Ernie!"
I didn't know what to do, who to call, where to go. I constantly have reoccuring fear that I've left Ernie behind at gas stations. Every time I fill the tank and pull away, I suddenly get the feeling that he's gone. So I call his name as I'm driving down the highway and call his name again and again until I see the huge white feather comforter start to move and his little face or butt pokes out.
Maybe he's on the RV after all, I reason, heading back to the RV. No, no movement under the feather comforter. I circled the RV again, calling his name, my throat clenched tightly with fear and tears.
Then Ernie came prancing down the street. My first reaction was to scold him and he cowered in anticipation, but then I just gushed love and kisses all over his skinny body and he kissed me in return. Home safe and sound.
I'm going to get a little bell to put around his neck.