Lake Fausse Point, Louisiana

March 14th, 2005

Aint' Worth Pecan

Loathe as I am to admit it, there just ain't pecan happening here.

Three - count 'em, three! - cool fronts moved through here since Saturday and one brought torrential rain. The fish that were peeking around the corner at the shallows high-tailed it back to deep water, and all that rain muddied the whole mess up yet again.

I'm started to feel like I'm living in Mudville. It's a mess, everywhere.

It's not been a good month. Just last week, I was approaching the ramp onto a bridge on my way home from work, a truck in the opposite lane was slowing to turn, and a car behind him slammed into his rear. So hard, in fact, that the car bounced off the truck and slammed into me. Wiped me out. After standing in the cold drizzle for two hours, I had my truck towed to the body shop, and the next day learned that the offending driver's insurance company wasn't going to lift a finger to get my repairs done until the accident report was available to prove guilt. This would take ten days. They also said, "No rental until we get the report," so I am now driving a very nice Toyota Tacoma that's owned by one of the owners of my newspaper, and I am a basket case due to terror of putting a scratch on it. It's a nice truck, full of bells and whistles and power everything, but I miss my regular cab, plain Jane Silverado. This loaner truck just ain't got no behind, if you get my drift. Too light for my tastes.

All this happened the day after my book became available through online retailers. Like Bogie said in "Casablanca" while drinking his sorrows away, "They grab Ugarde and then she walks in. Well, that's the way it goes...one in and one out."

Ah, but spring is making a half-appearance. The half that's appearing, however, is not the better half. Milkweed and clover have overrun my yard, and the red ants have decided that it's warm enough to start making hills again. Fighting red ants is perpetual. I sprinkle the mounds with chemicals that are supposed to kill the entire colony, but it doesn't. Instead they move to my neighbor's yard, who in turn sprinkles them with more chemicals, and runs them back over to my yard. We continue this way all summer and fall until first frost. We never kill any of them, but I guarantee my neighbor and I have the most well-exercised red ants in the south.

Clover arrives in large clumps that seem to sprout overnight like some sort of alien spores. You go to bed at night and there's nothing out there but brown grass, you wake up the next morning and there are mounds of clover everywhere. I don't venture too near them because I'm afraid I'll find humanoid-shaped seed pods in there like in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." You can't cut the clover down here with a mower, either. It's too tough. The best you can do is hope the blades of the mower beat it flat and that you don't hit any humanoid-shaped seed pods that look vaguely like you. It will stand back up in a day, but for a little while at least it's not as obnoxious. They should make armored vehicles out of clover.

Meanwhile, I'm keeping a close eye on my pecan trees. My fig tree is budding, but fig trees are the simpletons of the tree world and worthless as indicators of spring. My fig tree has budded eight times since the first of the year. Pecan trees are smart. They will not bud until winter is definitely over. So what I mean by "there just ain't pecan happening over here" is both an indication that my trees are not budding, and a decidedly Cajun expression meaning "things is so uneventful we're practically comatose." The phrase can also be used as in, "That just ain't worth pecan," which roughly translates into a "terrible situation."

The willow trees are budding, however. Willows are somewhere between figs and pecans, sort of an average C-grade student. Willow trees are a pretty good indicator for sac-au-lait time (as always I must clarify, that's crappie north of Interstate 10). However, willows only let you know when the time is right, not the water. Willows don't give a hoot nor a holler how muddy the water is, thus how bad the fishing will be, they'll bud on merrily, their duty in the natural balance of things fulfilled.

This is the precipice of spring, and it's how we all suffer it, especially in Louisiana. Today, as I'm writing this, the skies are clear and blue, and a couple days of temperatures at the seventy degree mark would wake up some of the shallow ponds I fish, so maybe - knock on wood! - I can get out to them this weekend. There's an old saying though, "If you don't like the weather in Louisiana, stick around a minute." I've heard it used in other states, but I can assure you, it originated here. ~ Roger

It's out! And available now! You can be one of the first to own a copy of Roger's book. Native Waters: A Few Moments in a Small Wooden Boat

Order it now from www.iuniverse.com, Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble.com. Roger will also be giving away three autographed copies to readers. Stay tuned, for an announcement on the Bulletin Board on that soon.


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