NOLA. That’s N e w O r l e a n s L o u i s i a n a for you homebodies. Louisiana makes the 18th state visit for Fearless the limping, but amazing skoolie! Just so happens, too, that we will be here for Mardi Gras…full of King Cake, and adorned in beads.
I think we’re coming up on 7,000 miles on the bus already! It’s pretty nuts, how small the route traveled thus far looks, in comparison to what is ahead. It’s mind blowing to me to think it has been nearly a year since that fateful fast and hot bath led me to this concept for the 48 Beer Project. What has unfolded in this past year…all the hard work, the struggles and surviving a relationship with a psychopath. I’ve watched my oldest graduate high school. My mom endured and recovered from double knee replacements. I can’t help but feel like I’m at moving at full speed across that smelly rink, showing off all my best moves, faking confidence and crossing my fingers not to fall…and somehow continuing to, well, continue.
My partner in crime is jetting back to Maine next Wednesday, leaving me to my own shenanigans, back to babbling to myself (and Churro, the Mountain Cur) and abandoning the Chinese Checkers and Uno for Solitaire and possibly even reading….books.
Admittedly, I’m looking forward to getting a little more work done… hurtling into the project with all the momentum of a fat guy off the high dive. Parents, you know… the tug of war between work and entertaining the kids. I’ve enjoyed dedicating most of my time lately to playing games and marathoning the hit tv show “Supernatural”, eating way too much to keep that warm fat padding on…playing with the dog, and doing silly impromptu bus dance parties. Ashley has been incredibly welcomed company, and considering the circumstances in which she ended up coming along with me, I think things are pretty damned great.
I’ve skipped over so many stories and opportunities to share with you all my experiences with my collaborating breweries and beyond. But I will be circling back to all of this. The winter has hit with a heavy fist to the gut, and I’ve pretty much just been in a state of hibernation/survival these past two months. The light can be seen though… once I make it through MO, KS, and OK… should be relatively clear of the worst weather, and ready to spread my golden project love all over this country. (note, I said “spread”, not “spray” or “sprinkle”, which would infer a very different meaning).
For now, I will say this, of ALL my partners in this journey… They have all been nothing less than incredible hospitable, gracious, kind, and inspiring.
Last time I was in NOLA, was in 2010, five years post-Katrina, whose destruction was still very evident and quite haunting, in all the abandoned spaces that had been overtaken by the earth, marked with a BIG RED X and stapled notices. But you couldn’t see it on the faces of all the creative people who make up this one of a kind city.
I was with Justin, my boyfriend at the time, and we were on our way back to Maine after having driven across the northern part of the country, down into AZ and east. We were a musician and an artist, broke and trapped in the south with no gas money to return home. I can’t remember where we scrounged up the money to get back, but we first tried with a setup in Jackson Square…him on the accordion, me with a handful of mediocre paintings, busking.
As it turns out, street vendors are damned territorial, and we had encroached on the wrong corner.
Aside from that, I remember very little….starting with beignets and a gator po’boy, later a hurricane or hand grenade or both or more,….then it gets a bit hazy.
I do remember making eye contact with Jack White on Bourbon Street…which, while I’ve never been one to get starstruck, was kind of an amazing moment… not because it was Jack White.. but because it felt very supernatural.
I remember dipping our toes into the dirty Mississippi, and a man with a boa constrictor.
Bumpy, twisting roads, and, projectile vomiting suddenly and unexpectedly, while walking.
Wow. Detour. So, a week left with the teenager. I’m going to miss the hell out of her. I miss her sister too… they are so polar opposite each other, but each so fucking awesome and inspiring to me. Nothing like watching your kids become their own adults.. bittersweet.
Speaking of… I must get back to the next episode of Supernatural…