All her life, my daughter Gumdrop has lived in a normal house where the mail dropped through a slot in the door.
Not no more. Now her mailbox will set out by the road, and have one of them little red flags on it. Gumdrop is moving to the country.
This ain’t good news, being as she is taking along my grandbaby, Lollipop. But it ain’t entirely bad, being as she is also taking along her husband, Slime.
MODINE's NEW ORLEANS – “A Move to the Country for Gumdrop”The poor things couldn’t find nowhere to live in the Parish, or in New Orleans, or even out in Jefferson, and they never got no FEMA trailer. They been camping out with this one and that one, and finally when Slime’s parents Dr. and Dr. Slime (they are both dentists) offered them free rent on a log cabin in Folsom, way up on the Northshore, they took them up on it.
The senior Slimes were getting ready to retire there, out with the birds and the bees and the chickadees and such, which is evidently what they like after spending most of their lives with their hands down people’s throats.
I myself like a little human noise now and again, but I guess the Slimes have heard enough of that. Anyway, they had financial reverses because of Katrina, and they are going to put it off a few years.
So meanwhile, Gumdrop is going to live in their log cabin with her little family. Now this is a girl who always lived in a house where, even with the windows closed and the air conditioner going full blast, you could hear the neighborly sounds like somebody beating out the dents in a fender, or testing the speakers in their pickup, and where the McDonald’s was only five minutes away.
This is going to be a culture shock.
I try to warn her. I tell her everything I know about country life, which I have heard straight from the horse’s mouth of my cousin Luna from Denham Springs. They don’t got front lawns and back yards in the country. They got acres. In the country people don’t say “How ya’ doin’?” when they see each other because they ain’t close enough to talk.
People in the country spend a lot of time Yonder, wherever that is, so when they see someone Yonder, they wave. Cousin Luna is nearsighted, so she has been known to wave at her own mailbox, but she says a lot of people do that.
Gumdrop will have plenty to get used to. But first things first. We got to get her there.
Moving wasn’t no problem for most people in our family after Katrina, being as we didn’t have nothing left to move. We just walked right in our new apartment, or our FEMA trailer, and put our purse on the table and that was it.
Every disaster has a silver lining.
Gumdrop and Slime are an exception, because they have actual furniture. They was just in the process of moving back to New Orleans before Katrina, and most of their furniture was still in storage out in the part of Metairie that didn’t get no flood water.
They got an armoire, a china cabinet, a fake leather couch and a side-by-side Frigidaire and freezer. And that ain’t all. Slime – who probably weighs 130 pounds full of beer – secretly desires to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he got this weight lifting contraption which stands nine feet high and has a lot of cords and weights and pulleys on it. Anybody who lifts that thing got no more use for exercise equipment. They either got the strength of Goliath or they are dead.
They decide to rent a U-Haul, and on moving day, we send my brothers-in-law Lurch and Leech to the Home Depot to hire a couple of immigrant workers to help with the heavy lifting.
The rest of us meet at the storage place, and wait for Leech and Lurch to show up with the immigrants.
We wait, and then we wait some more. Finally my mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, notices two gentlemen working on a roof across the street. She goes over and stands at the bottom of their ladder until one of them comes down, and then she speaks very loud, since she assumes he don’t understand English. Turns out he does understand English, but he assumes she is deaf as a post, being as she is yelling, so he answers her very loud, so all of us and everybody else in two blocks, hear a play-by-play of the negotiating.
Anyway, they settle on $50, and the two of them, Diego and Pancho, come across the street and help Slime load the U-Haul. They are just finishing when Lurch and Leech come staggering up. They said they was standing in front the Home Depot looking for immigrants and some guy came up and offered them $50 to help move a grand piano, so they went off and did that. Now they are too tired to do anything else.
Well. Ms. Larda don’t have to speak loud to them. She don’t have to speak at all. She looks at them, and they look at her, and she puts out her hand and they hand over the $50, and she passes it to Diego and Pancho, who say THANK YOU very loud.
Then Gumdrop and Slime and the baby drive off to their new life way up Yonder, not in New Orleans.