I am sitting outside in a nameless* suburb of Baton Rouge just after midnight on New Year's Eve. Frankly, over the past six hours since the sun set I have been subjected to more ordinance than I have experienced since the Fall of Saigon. The air reeks of cordite; the smoke is as thick as the early morning fog along the Mississippi River this time of year. The denizens have fired off everything from M-80's, bottle rockets to some of the biggest mortar rounds one can purchase without a Federal ATF license. Literally, I haven't heard and felt this many shots since Viet Nam. I've dropped to the deck at least three times I can remember to hunker down through incoming. Scary folks ... these middle class dudes are armed to the teeth and aren't afraid to let you know it, while their richer counterparts, white and black, hide inside their gated communities, hoping the next off-color visitor to their door won't rob them blind or worse.
This isn't Maine anymore, Dorothy...
I am sated on hamburgers, hot dogs, smoked beef sausage, baked beans and cheese grits. The weather warns of a hard freeze tomorrow (Tuesday) night, although it's a balmy 54 degrees F. right now.
It's hard to comprehend that my friends in the North Country are shoveling out from under a 10" snowfall with another half a foot forecast for tomorrow night.
We sure picked a good winter to be stranded in the South.
I hope you all have a wonderful 2008. The year just past has been a rough one for us on many levels, so I'm hoping things change in the near future.
Love to you all.
(* "nameless" to protect the guilty -- this subdivision is full of Baton Rouge and other parish's cops, firefighters, paramedics and active duty military troops and their families)