…Politics and religion were a forbidden subject at a recent family get together. Two vegetarians, two liberals, four conservatives two of them deeply religious and a true neutral who doesn’t discuss politics got together to have dinner talk about old times. The following is a allegorical explanation of a simple family event . For the record we laughed, we joked, we feasted. Its what happens in real life when you don’t let BS get in the way.
Coincidental Serendipity or The Great Divide
by Royal Hopper
You land on the ground after an annoyingly long but relatively smooth flight and step out of the metal tube that has borne you through the air 1,500 miles from your adopted city in the desert to the land of your birth and the feeling of the thick moist air hits you in the face like a blast from the past.
It is the opposite of the dry sun baked sand and car exhaust smell of your adopted city in the desert. It smells like benzene, oil refineries and mold and tons of vegetation rotting in corners mixed with the usual sites and sounds of life usually inspired by humidity and an excess of water and warmth.
The people in the air terminal seem a bit unnerved by the crowd of strangers like intelligent cattle wandering through strange pastures occassionally mooing their unease. Others brashly confident stroll through the crowd of people seeming to paint a sign on their foreheads that read sucker in bright red letters. Mostly they are just walking straight ahead not making eye contact for fear of summoning some predator lurking around the corner.
To you it is all old hat. You are from the City of Sin…you are a Sinner and crowds like this are just another Sunday or Tuesday or Thursday and these guys aren’t even drunk.
As you may have guessed from the film Noir opening My wife and I flew to Texas to visit family and celebrate a belated Holiday season and reconnect with family members who still live far to the east.
After a long flight to Houston and retrieving we got out of the City in our rented Hyundai we stopped for supper/breakfast . I don’t remember what we ate but I do remember seeing flashing lights attached to a police cruiser of some type tearing down the interstate and shrugging my shoulders slightly. It was easy to tell the city dwellers from the tourists who looked out at the lights with concern. I shrugged and went back to eating. My wife who is much less cynical than I am didn’t seem to notice at all.
That is what happens when you live in the city especially in the City of Sin. It is hard to freak you and out as long as the lights are pointed at someone else you don’t sweat it. We headed out of the city across the East Texas countryside passing through Beaumont and then southern Jefferson County where I was born and through Orange County where my brief sojourn as a journalist took place and arrived at my sisters place in Louisiana.
I was very happy to see my sister and the house was a beauty well maintained and large enough for a family get together for a large family.
The air was thicker than I was used to and made breathing a chore sometimes and honestly when the wind blew from a certain direction it stank like smog and swamp grass and oil refinery smoke stacks….but the company made was wonderful. The jokes were corny and the stories were kind of true.
As you can probably tell I am a frustrated writer. So in the interest of equal treatment before I tell you about the ton of turkey and ham we consumed. Here is an allegorical explanation of the difference something I wrote about SE Texas on my less cynical days. This is SE Texas and SW Louisiana.
It a quiet night/dusk; “………………….. The man called Renegade said quickly losing himself in the memories he was invoking…….”It was sultry, warm and moist.
It was the kind of night you might expect to see in a Faulkner novel, warm and wet enough that you can feel it when you breath but not so much that it makes you sticky and uncomfortable. The kind of late spring night you can only find in Southeast Texas . The kind that comes between the cold snaps and the heat of summer when the weather is warm and the smell of dead grass mixes with the green resin of the pine trees and a bouquet of innumerable, indestructible and unidentifiable weeds that cover the East Texas countryside during numerous false springs. It was the kind of night that made you glad that large parts of Texas were still hopelessly rural.
Its the kind of night when in between whiffs of poison from the refineries the whole world smells and looks …well alive…….
That is the spring .. the moment of glory for that part of the country. The winter is wet cold and smells the same without benefit of the green growing plants to lessen the blow and the summer is humid furnace with swarms of mosquitoes and the occasional alligator.
I also once toyed with the idea of writing a post apocalyptic Las Vegas story. I described the Vegas of this dystopia as looking like a giant neon dragon had crashed to earth leaving its brightly colored scales scattered across the landscape with spots of decadence scattered amid the destruction..with some people still holding signs, some still spending way more than they should on things they don’t need. The city is the same ..It just changed outfits
Vegas is a huge machine covered with bright colors..each casino a small town with its own bureaucracy…its own order keepers, bars, theaters, stores and cafes.
The feast .. Back to the vacation….
We spent the week hugging people and eating lots of greasy southern food.. We had ham and turkey …two kinds of cabbage one vegetarian and one traditional and two kinds of corn bread one of them vegetarian. I was secretly glad when my vegetarian nephew and his girl showed up ..so there was some healthier food to dine on and managed to gracefully decline the donuts and Kolaches .. offered for breakfast the next day .. For those who don’t know what a Kolache is. It a half pound of white dough wrapped around a piece of southern sausage…..stop laughing …..no seriously stop laughing
The ban worked …No politics or religion was discussed and the week played out peacefully. We all gained two or three pounds from the southern cuisine we consumed and hugged each other as we left for our individual destinations.
Then it was time to go home and go back to work and pay the bills
That is life in the City of Sin
Love You Sinners