Sorry for the long absence again. Things have been bust on many levels here, including trips out to the flooded areas to assess damage.
But yesterday was my day off, and because I was tired after a long week, I went to bed early, only to be woken up by a phone call from some friends who were down in the French Quarter.
"Come down!" they said.
"No, I'm asleep." I replied.
"We're buying!" they said.
I was there in twenty minutes.
Stayed out way too late, but screw it--I had Saturday off. Got to bed about 0400.
At 0800, my phone rang again. This time it was a neighbor down the block. "Hey, you're still going to help us with Tulane's volunteer day, right?"
This was a program in which Tulane University makes it's young charges "give back" by sending them out into impoverished communities like my neighborhood to work for elderly and disabled poor folks (my neighbors).
"Yeah. I said I would. When is it, again?"
"This morning. They'll be here in about an hour."
Not sure how I got up, got dressed and got down there, but I did. I didn't want to, but a promise is a promise and staying out too late isn't grounds for breaking one. You play, you pay.
I'd just gotten some donuts and three cups of coffee down my neck when the kids came, all bright-eyed and cheery. I hated them just for that.
Oh, and I was going to work them, too. "Why is your dirt in my hole?! Do you expect those storm drains to clean themselves out?! You've got five minutes to get that abandoned car off my street and out of my sight!! MOVE IT!!"
But alas, they were too damned nice and chipper. Now I know how Sergeant Carter felt when he had to deal with Private Pyle every damned day. (If you were born in the 80's or later, go ask your parents.)
So I took them down and set them up to mow lawns, pull weeds, clear out yards full of junk and take care of other business, all while staying hydrated, of course. Other kids got to paint houses, inside and out. In one morning, we dumped about 400 man hours of labor into the neighborhood. And to their credit, they worked their asses off. Even I was impressed.
And here are some of them. All told, there were 77 of them, plus their student chaperones.
They finally went away, neighborhood temporarily improved. And I went inside and passed out on the couch. But only for a few hours, because Saturday night and a steak fry at one of the local bars.
I'm not young like I used to be. But I ain't dead yet, either.