I live in a town in which the first subscription magazine of ours to make it through the snail mail morass here was the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The famous postal motto should now read, "Hell and high water will seriously impede mail delivery, but pictures of mostly naked women will make it through the appointed rounds."
I live in a city in which the artificial atmosphere of a local zoo exhibit was ripped to shreds by storm winds ... but you can still see the anteaters, macaws, and jaguars among the ruined bamboo remains. The howler monkey family even looked exhausted. Then again, maybe it was just their two young kids running and jumping all over the monkey parents and the exhibit.
And I now know that my son has absorbed the recovery efforts of this city into his imaginary play.
Okay, we don't live in a vacuum. My son is in preschool with children of families who are trying to rebuild, so I'm sure he's heard about those efforts. We unfortunately had to inform a parent of a child in his class that we could not attend the child's birthday party in Lakeview, since we would be out of town then. And of course there's that lovely levee breach tour we went on with Edie, and all the houses around with blue roofs and debris piles.
A mom we met who had relocated uptown after the destruction of her Lakeview home was grateful for the presence of Audubon Park, since the shotgun house she was in now didn't have much of a yard, and it was tough telling her two year old to wait for her at the debris pile in front of the house before moving down the street with her.
But what we do have here are wonderful restaurants, still, and my husband and I went out with our friends to a great one last night, and left our son with a sitter. When we left, the little guy and the sitter were playing some games with the empty boxes left over from unpacking. I kissed him good bye inbetween his escapes from the boxes and Dan and I headed out.
We were wined and dined at Restaurant August, and I haven't had a meal like that since our favorite Creole and Cajun restaurant in Donaldsonville, outside of Baton Rouge, closed up to all except those staying at the B & B in which the restaurant was located. Hard to say what the best part was - the crawfish appetizer? The duck main course? The chocolate cake and accompanying liqueur for dessert? The deep-fried bread pudding of Dan's I tasted? The true nightcap was waiting for us when we got home.
The sitter said he was his amiable self. He enjoyed playing with the boxes so much, she went ahead and made a larger one into a house with a doorway and windows. He played with it in another room for a while, and when she went in to check on him, the house was crushed in a bit. She asked him what had happened, and he said the house was flooded.
I was so stunned, I called Dan up from the foot of the stairs, where he still lingered, so that he could hear this. It's moments like these that make me glad I'm married. I can verify the insanity and share it at the same time.
Dan and I listened further, and not without some giggles, to the rest of the sitter's tale. She repeated to him what she told me about the flooded house, and then amended her story with the tidbit of information that he began to gut the house he had said was flooded. It was at this that Dan and I just laughed, loud and long. We'd been drinking a little, but not too much. The absurdity of how our son had absorbed the atmosphere of this place was frighteningly funny.
The frightening part, of course, is what else has he absorbed of the post-storm circumstances here? None of us may never fully know, including him.