Somewhere in Charleston someone is thinking of a decadent Fat Tuesday night where our faces are now ghosts. Savannah weeps for want of Bernice the octogenarian Volvo. In Columbia, a high school girl is still amazed that someone came into her restaurant not knowing a thing about hushpuppies. The paella in Chattanooga is still only so-so.
And Natchitoches gleams on the banks of the Red River, bejeweled in antebellum bed and breakfasts, retirees and old headstones: "You may not believe it, but this is how it happened: One fine summer day, a little bug sneezed." The Pioneer Pub still has a deer glaring from its walls, disdainful because it has such tiny antlers. Birmingham riots quietly in its own way, because it knows no other.
And the Crescent City bends its back in ecstasy, constantly entwined in lust with the Mississippi River. It's reaching east, waiting for me to return. And next week I will. You know, you wait and wait for the miracle to happen, because you figure it just has to at some point. And just as you make different plans it comes as always in the form of a tall thin man with striking eyes, gazing lazily down the sidwalk from you like it's never been that big a thing. And he gets down on one knee and says, "It's about time that this happens."
Then the sun comes up on Decatur Street and the city is still for the only week in the year it ever is. Still and quiet. Hushed and spent, looking out from diaphanous curtains hung from floor-to-ceiling french doors, and just before it closes its eyes it smiles in satisfaction, and sleeps.
There is nothing wrong with gardens. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. WWOZ is on the stereo.
Well, it's on the stereo. Well, it's on.