Sitting in my living room, I can spot a small alligator in the river that flows past our little slice of Eden. We just returned from a stay in the stomping ground of our Yankee youth. Visiting with relatives both living and dead, we tramped through the cemetery and drove seventy-five miles both directions to hug the neck of my ninety-eight-yr.-old aunt. Life is good.
A dirt road provided exercise complete with blue sky and low humidity. A breeze under huge shade trees was the spot for lawn chairs and our cheering section, as children foot-raced with their grown cousins across the softest grass lawn.
I loved the visit, but my roots have grown deep into the Louisiana mud. A lifetime in this corner of the state has successfully grafted us "suthern." Cradled in hospitality and warm winters, we've been lulled into the slow lifestyle among the swamp grass and long-legged herons. Satiated with jambalaya, boudin, and pralines, we rocked willingly into a our pleasant lifestyle.
For thirty years we lived in the city, raised four children, and I used to get angry when ignorant Northerners queried about the alligators in our back yard. Now I sit on the wharf and smile sweetly, "Yes, Ma'am, his name is Gumbo."