The other day we were relaxing and reading the paper when an ad just jumped right out at us. There was going to be a fund-raising dinner at the Elk’s Club that very night. Ordinarily, this would not have gotten our attention, but they were having Zydeco Night! Not only that, but they were serving real Cajun food! Zydeco is good for dancing and it’s the kind of music that just makes you happy deep inside your chest. It must rearrange your endorphins, stacking them high, one on top of the other because you can’t help but be transported to a happy place.

We adore Cajun food, but it is the one type of food that we simply cannot find anywhere in the Miami area.

We bought tickets over the phone and drove that night to the Elk’s Club. I took several pictures of the outside of the Elks Club, but the Neon on the sign was so splendiferous, all I could get was a bright green smudge, so you’ll just have to believe me on this one.

The people were very, um, festive. The women were wearing some exceedingly dazzling clothes. I have never seen as large a concentration of women anywhere sporting so many sequins and glistening dots that caught the light and reflected it out in all directions. The fabrics were all remarkably stretchy and formfitting and the theme seemed to be animal print, glittery animal print.

One woman, for instance, had on skintight snakeskin print sparkly pants with sparkly black high-heeled shoes and a sparkly leopard skin print blouse and a tight sparkly black vest.  I thought that a tiara would have finished off this outfit perfectly, but, alas, her head was utterly bare of ornamentation, a fashion faux-pas, in my book.

Most of the women were dressed in a similar manner, but in stunning variations. It really gave you the impression that you were in another country altogether, a culture where the women had super cool native costumes. I’ve never seen a cluster of women wearing such unusual finery anywhere else in Miami.

I became aware that Victor and I looked downright dowdy. Now, dowdy is nothing new for Victor, but dowdy is just not how I roll. I was definitely a tourist in the Fabulous Land of Sparkly Spandex.

(Note to self: when attending a fund-raiser at a club beginning with the name of a wild animal, dress your butt up. Get out that bedazzeler from the back of the closet and put those skin tight lycra jeans on that haven’t seen the light of day in years.)

Oddly, the Elks men did not appear to belong with these women. There was not a vaguely shiny thing among them. They looked humdrum; they looked like us. I resolved right then and there never to be caught anywhere looking humdrum again.

When the dinner was to begin, everyone was assigned a table. We were at 18. There were two other couples at the table that were quite friendly. They told us about all the good works that the Elks Club did. It was quite impressive.

We had some terrific gumbo to start. There was a lot of shouting in order to hear each other at the table because the room was enormous and packed with people. The hubbub was virtually throbbing. One nice man kept answering things that we didn’t ask, but sometimes this kind of conversation can be fascinating.

(Nice Man) Fourteen years!

(Me) My name’s Irene, what can I call you?

(Nice Man) We’re so glad you came to our fund-raiser!

(Me) Well, we love Zydeco music and Cajun food, so it sounded like a good time.

(Him) This here’s Paula, she’s my bride.

Paula was sitting right next to Victor and it looked like she had a lot to say to him. Her eyes were flashing and her hands never stopped moving and touching Victor here and there while speaking. Paula was animated. Victor looked totally passive, but ultra polite. Sometimes he can be awkward in social situations with strangers. I couldn’t hear anything they said over the clamor in the room, but there sure was a lot of liveliness occurring inside the Paula vortex, into which Victor appeared to have been sucked.  I figured the zydeco music and the Cajun food would loosen him up.

(Me) What do you do for a living?

(Nice Man) I’ve lived here all my life, but my bride is from up North.

(Me) Where up North?

(Nice Man) My family had a hardware store at first and then branched out into a chain. We had stores in three counties of South Florida.

(Me) Do you still work in hardware?

(Nice Man) She came down here in ‘86.

(Me) What made her move down here?

(Nice Man) Absolutely, my family has hardware in the blood.

(Me) Do you have any family still working in hardware?

(Nice Man) You bet I sail! In my opinion everyone in Miami should have some kind of boat. We’re right here by the warm, beautiful Atlantic Ocean, right? That right there is nothing to waste!

(Me) My husband, Victor,  always wanted a little boat, but I told him he really shouldn’t get one until he learns to swim. He thinks I’m over cautious.

(Nice Man) I only have the one son and he lives in the Keys. Great fishing there! Now, Paula, she’s got three girls, but none of them are in Florida.

(Me) Any grandchildren?

(Nice Man) Thanks! Here’s my card. Now you give us a call and we’ll all get together, hear?

(Me) You bet.

We had to file up when our table was called to pick up the rest of our meal. They had red beans and rice, which did not deserve the name since there was no discernible spice in the recipe, and a dish with chicken and shrimp in it that they called Jambalaya. I have made Jambalaya for my family for years. I’ve been to New Orleans many times and have had Official New Orleans Jambalaya and it has never been pink and creamy. The problem was that it tasted pink and creamy. You would think that the adjectives pink and creamy would be confined to dessert, but this was decidedly not dessert. People just don’t make dessert with chicken and shrimp in it, at least not where I come from, and I’m from all over.

Nice Man and Paula really seemed to enjoy their creamy pink “Jambalaya.” They had two or three helpings. Victor and I figured that this was Elks Club Jambalaya, a sub-category of the real thing.

There was some generic sheet cake for dessert, but I had really been jonesing for red velvet cake. Seriously, this was Zydeco Night with Cajun Food, wouldn’t you expect red velvet cake or piping hot beignets covered with powdered sugar?

Then the Zydeco band came on stage. They were from New Jersey. Now I understand that people can learn to play music that is not at all from their area, I mean just look at “The Commitments!” (I urge you to listen to the complete song in the latter link. It will knock your socks right off your feet! If it’s cold where you are, put on your sneakers first.) These people are from Ireland, for heaven sakes, but they sure sing rhythm and blues like Americans.

I understand from a trusted source that some of the greats in Zydeco are Wayne Toups, Zachary Richard, and Rockin’ Dopsie and that this is what Zydeco is supposed to sound like. (You should listen to this all the way through also. It’s fabulous! You should be aware that this in no way approximated what we heard that night.)

These New Jerseyans were playing their New Jersey Not-Zydeco Music so loud that the tables were bouncing a bit. I got out my box of earplugs and handed them around the table. My purse is prepared for anything.

We finally decided that we had had enough adventure for the night and when we got up to leave, Nice Man and Paula hugged us both as though we had been the best of friends forever. I thought that was awfully congenial of them.

When we got out to the parking lot, Victor shook his head and told me that Paula was rubbing his leg all night long. Whenever he moved his leg away, she would find it again with her leg and continue the rubbing. It was just exhausting for him to try to get away but not insult her. He kept jiggering his chair away, but she’d jigger hers right back over to his. Victor is so careful to be polite with strangers, sometimes it just wears him right out.

Well, my eyes were opened, I can tell you that! I suppose you have to peek under the table now and then to check what mischief might be going on, when you’re eating at an Elks Club Dinner. I shredded their card when we got home, (that hussy!)

TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,

IRENE ZION has been married to the same curmudgeon for 40 years. She has 5 children, none of whom sufficiently appreciates her. The one you probably know is Lenore, who frequently gives her mother hives. Irene paints oil portraits and makes her own frames. She has been described as an outsider artist. Most of her paintings creep people out, especially her family. She finds this to be greatly satisfying. She writes non-fiction for TNB and loves every minute of it. She is writing fiction now too, but is too chicken to show it to anyone. She has two golden retrievers who will inherit anything of worth she leaves behind. Her kids will delight in dividing up her famous cork collection and her notorious stockpile of bubble wrap.

147 responses to “La Dangereux Pouffiesse Redux Trompesues au Club de Elk”

  1. ksw says:

    i would expect a horny elk to be a male.

  2. Irene – Firstly I’m sorry for my recent absence from the website and from communication in general. My reasons are… well… if I posted them here today it would probably be mistaken for an April Fools Day gag.

    Anyway, now that I’m (momentarily) back on the scene, I want to say that this was a really great piece of writing.

    Especially this:

    “One woman, for instance, had on skintight snakeskin print sparkly pants with sparkly black high-heeled shoes and a sparkly leopard skin print blouse and a tight sparkly black vest. I thought that a tiara would have finished off this outfit perfectly, but, alas, her head was utterly bare of ornamentation, a fashion faux-pas, in my book.”

    I’m laughing for the first time in 10 days.

    • Irene Zion says:

      David,
      I hope things have settled down for you now and you’re okay again.
      (I don’t suppose I could help, what being four zillion miles away and all….)
      I live to make you laugh, David.
      So you made MY day!

      • Irene,

        These are dark days and they’re getting a whole lot darker.
        I’m just glad to have something good to read every once in a while. It makes a difference.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Okay,
          This is not good.
          I’m writing you under separate cover.
          If I don’t get an answer, I’ll be forced to write you here.
          (Muted threat.)

  3. Simon Smithson says:

    I’d never heard of Zydeco before – that’s another of many I owe you, Irene.

    “He kept jiggering his chair away, but she’d jigger hers right back over to his.”

    Bitch!

    • Irene Zion says:

      Oh goody, Simon!
      You have a treat ahead of you!

      (And thanks, to your last line, I say: Ya huh!!!)

      • Simon Smithson says:

        (we don’t have Cajun food over here either. I had jambalaya in SF. Is that Cajun?)

        • Irene Zion says:

          Simon,

          You’d have to ask someone familiar with Cajun food who lives in San Francisco. I’ve only been there once and all I remember is that I could not walk down those steep hills in high heels.

          Also, if you bought Paul Prudhomme’s books and studied them and cooked from them until you knew what you were doing, you could start a restaurant in Australia that would sell out every single night.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I can hardly imagine a world with no Cajun food. Growing up in Southeast Texas and having family extensively through Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Slidell, New Orleans) I can’t eat food without spice.

          And “pink and creamy” jumbalaya? That’s sacrilegious.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Slade, isn’t it true? Simon could make a fortune heading a Cajun restaurant in Australia. It could spread all over the country. Eating food with no spice is like sex without climaxing. Uh oh. Probably I should come up with a more palatable comparison, eh?

          I agree with you Slade. Sacrilegious is an apt description of that awful food we were offered that night. An insult to the laws of nature!

        • Simon Smithson says:

          It’d be a familiar meal for the ladies I go home with then!

          Zing! Ha ha ha – oh.

          Man.

          I made myself sad.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Simon,

          Concentrate on the first part and the ladies will be lining up around the block to service your every need.

        • Lenore says:

          this is creeping me out.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Lenore,
          If that is true, then I’ve done my job, sweetie.
          (Pats self on back.)

  4. OH this is hysterical Irene! Your conversation with the hussy’s husband is so funny! I don’t know, somehow I’d never imagine Elks plus Zydeco.

    I, too, LOVE cajun food and Zydeco music. One of my favorite restaurants in Toronto is called Southern Accent and they have the best Z. music and Cajun food. Good to go there in summer when you can sit outside under the glittery lights.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Thanks, Jessica Anya!

      Somehow we have never been to Toronto yet. When we go, you can be sure that we will look up that restaurant. Lordy, I love Cajun food, (GOOD Cajun food, that is.)

      The conversation was surreal. I don’t know what he thought he was hearing, but I just kept it up cause it was tickling me no end.

      And without it, I wouldn’t have had the card to shred!

  5. Amanda says:

    Note: this is the second TNB post in three days which mentions beignets. That, I believe, is a record.

    : )

    • Irene Zion says:

      Amanda,

      I’m surprised beignets are not mentioned more often, tasting as good as they do!

      • Amanda says:

        Confession: I have never seen or eaten a real one. I know about beignets purely in an academic way. Sigh. Tragic.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Oh Amanda,

          This must be remedied! It really is tragic!
          You will have to find a way to get to New Orleans and get some Beignets and coffee with chicory!
          Oh, and while you’re there, fill up your suitcase with honest-to-God-New Orleans Pralines! The best sweet in the world!

        • Christine W. says:

          Oooh!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Christine W.?

          Have you had GENUINE New Orleans Pralines?
          I hope not, because then you will have a wonderful experience ahead of you!

  6. Tweet says:

    Southeast Texas offers anything cajun you could want. So sorry that your attempt to enjoy authenticity was transformed to the lowest sense of mediocrity.

    Beware the sequin jig 🙂

    • Irene Zion says:

      Tweet,

      I love Texas, I loved Corpus Christie and the expanse of the ocean and, when we took the kids there, the lack of any other people on the beach. We had the whole ocean and beach to ourselves, well except for the men-‘o war. (Do you pluralize man ‘o war like that?) They were everywhere.

      “Beware the sequin jig.” I believe I will learn to cross-stitch so that I can put that on a pillow!

      • Richard Cox says:

        Corpus Christi means the body of Christ, not the body of an 18-year old blond cheerleader! Irene!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Wait!
          Richard,
          I know that.
          All I said about Corpus Christie is nice things except for the abundance of men-of wars.

          The cross-stitching is in response to tweet, who said something very funny about the post, which takes place in Miami, Florida, not Corpus Christie, Texas.

          So you either are not reading carefully, or, and I lean toward this one, you are trying to pick a fight with me. I can take you, Richard Cox. Bring it on!

        • Richard Cox says:

          Hahaha. No, I was poking fun at your spelling of “Christi.” Since it’s sort of my hometown and whatever.

          😛

        • Irene Zion says:

          Richard,

          I am obviously too tired to be typing now!
          I have a friend named Christie and I’m used to typing the “e” at the end.
          Not a good excuse, I know, but it’s all I’ve got.
          Simple idiocy brought on by being really tired
          and having to be without the computer all day tomorrow
          and maybe the next day
          and the next.
          Thank goodness for my phone!
          Apologies.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Are there ALWAYS so many men ‘o wars on the beach there, Richard? There were a startling number that week. I believe my children performed numerous experiments on the sand with the otherworldy, never-before-seen dead creatures. Remember, my kids were brought up smack in the middle of the Prairie. Seeing ocean creatures at all was amazing, but these weird boneless things, and so huge…they were delighted.

        • Richard Cox says:

          They’re always there, Irene, but not in overwhelming numbers, not in my experience. If you were taking a walk down the beach I would expect you’d see one every fifty yards, maybe? Every hundred yards?

          Men o’ war travel in large groups and can’t survive on their own. So when one gets detached he dies and ends up on shore. At least how I understand it. I suppose if an entire group encountered calamity, you’d end up with a high concentration of them in a stretch of beach.

          As kids we called them blue balloons. But my dad didn’t like us to pop them. Not because of the danger to us, but because seeing those balloons is an indication to steer clear. The tentacles are long and can be hard to see without a warning. And though I was never stung, I understand it hurts a lot more than a jellyfish sting.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Geez, Richard,
          I’m making all my typos & grammar mistakes whenever I talk to you!

          I’ve been writing ” men ‘o war” like an idiot. ( Men fo war?) I meant to write men o’ war, since the apostrophe makes it “men of war.”

          I was stung by jellyfish off long island for years growing up. It really hurts! I will surely avoid any situation where I am in any way close to a man o’ war.

          I thought you could die from its sting. Is this true or just an old wive’s tale?
          My iPhone is printing this comment in randomly large & small print for some reason, I wonder what wordpress will do with that!

        • Richard Cox says:

          I hear it’s possible to die from their stings but I don’t think it’s common. I don’t know how I lived in Corpus that long but managed to avoid being stung by a jellyfish or a man o’ war. I was bitten by a few crabs, but mainly the sea creatures kept their distance from me. I must not smell very good.

          One thing I liked to do as a kid is go out onto the first sandbar in the surf and dig for live sand dollars. Then we’d take them home and pour bleach on them and they looked liked washed up on shore in perfect condition.

          But then I realized I was digging up live animals out of their habitats and burning them with bleach and I figured I shouldn’t do that anymore. Besides, the whole point of finding an intact sand dollar on the beach is because of the relative scarcity. Going into the water to get them is like inflation. It’s not good to flood the market with sand dollars.

          Groan.

        • Anon says:

          Richard, I think the danger lies when encountering them while actually swimming “out yonder”. Individual sensitivities and reactions to the venom alone aside, multiple stings can cause enough pain to prevent you from being able to effectively swim, resulting in drowning. Granted, the stings themselves didn’t kill you directly but it doesn’t make you any less dead.

          Oh, and I applaud your childhood enlightenment and reform. Moreso your business sense. (:

        • Richard Cox says:

          Thanks, Anon. That joke was made possible by whoever decided to give those creatures their nickname. Hahaha.

        • Irene Zion says:

          @ Richard: Okay, here I”m going to show you how uneducated I am. I didn’t even know sand dollars were living creatures. I thought they were shells. Wait. I guess shells all used to be something, but I always figured they left their shell house when they grew too big and left the shell behind for people to collect. Sorry. Learning something new every day, even at my age.

          @Anon: Yyyuuuccckkk! They sting you so bad that you are in so much pain that you can’t even swim to shore to save your life? That is so nasty! I’m glad they don’t have them in Miami Beach. Well, I don’t THINK they have them here. They are certainly not in my pool.

          @ Richard again: That was a really good joke! I wouldn’t have gotten it, had you not explained it, so you get the credit. Thanks.

      • Tweet says:

        i appreciated the gulf as a child. i can’t look at it the same after visiting ruby beach a couple of years ago.

        cross-stitch a pillow that says ” i have 99 problems and a jig ain’t one”

        trust me.

        do it. 🙂

        • Irene Zion says:

          Tweet,

          I don’t know anything about Ruby Beach. What happened to it?

          Why is the jig no longer my problem?

          You mystified me here.
          I’m afraid you’ll need to explain this to me, because I don’t understand.
          (Although I trust you totally….)

        • Irene Zion says:

          Tweet,

          Thanks for explaining about the song. I don’t know a single rap song, so it went right over my head.
          As far as the attachment goes, we are traveling now and I do not have a good enough signal here to download that. As soon as I get home, or sooner if the next motel has a stronger signal, I will download it and see what there is to see.
          I am intrigued!

  7. Irene:

    Since reading your post, I’ve adopted two new life rules:

    1. Never trust a sparkly dressed, highly animated leg rubber; especially if they’re in an Elks Lodge: and
    2. Never, EVER trust a zydeco band from Jersey.

    Peace and piping hot beignets…

    R.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Oddly enough, Rich,
      I myself have adopted those two new life rules just a tad before you did.
      What a coincidence!

  8. Marcia (former next-door neighbor in Illinois and frequent visitor to Florida) says:

    I think you should try bingo next and report back to us.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Humn.
      Well, Marcia, I don’t even know where they play bingo in Miami Beach.
      How does one find a bingo game?
      If I find one, I’ll go and tell you all about it.
      Promise.

  9. Uche Ogbuji says:

    Zydeco!!!!!!! Et Toi!

    I love Zydeco. My wife has always been a big Zydeco fan, and introduced me to the genre. Buckwheat Zydeco is our favorite. We’ve gone to his concerts dozens of times. Wayne Toups is also fun. We caught both and some configuration of the Nevilles at Jazzfest in New Orleans a couple of times while I was living in Dallas.

    Watered down Zydeco? That should be a capital crime. S’ils ne peuvent pas rouler, qu’ils n’osent pas gerber. Sorry, that’s my probably silly attempt to mock up a Cajun folksy saying: “If they can’t roll with it, they’d better not dare puke it up”

    I’m sorry about the damp squib of an evening. “Zydeco Night!” should promise more than fake Zydeco, fake Cajun cooking, and unfortunately unfaked frottage. You’ll just have to make up for it with a trip to The Big Easy, won’t you? Au bayou! Allez-y! (/me starts whistling “Walking to New Orleans…”

    • Irene Zion says:

      Oh, Uche,

      I am committing to memory both the Cajun French version and the English version of “If they can’t roll with it, they’d better not dare puke it up,” and I plan to use it daily. I just know I can fit it in in my normal daytime activities.

      I have never heard the phrase “damp squib” used in such a manner, but since you are smarter than anyone else, and it really sounds so perfect, I will also adopt that and use it also.
      ( I have to get a little notebook so I can start making a list of new dialog….)

      Now, since Lenore is my daughter and she teaches me the meaning of all things sexually repulsive, I already knew “frottage.” I wish I had thought to use that word in my story. Oh well, if there’s a next time, I’ll be using frottage for sure. I’m so proud of how sexually-educated my daughter is.

      I develop ear worms easily, so now, thank you very much, but I have “Walking to New Orleans” playing non-stop in my head. Well, I guess at least it’s a good song.

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        If you do ever say that to a Cajun, just remember to tell them that was your crazy friend’s invented idea of what such a folksy Cajun saying might sound like. And I should warn you that “gerber” is informal for “puke” in France, but I don’t know whether it’s used in French Canada or The Bayou.

        I remember one of my Parisian friends once told me “Je suis crèvé du frottage.” And I thought she meant “I’m exhausted from rubbing/being rubbed on.” Turned out I knew the more wicked definition, but not that “frottage” also means housework (think “scrubbing”). Of course I teased her, for what sort of Parisienne doesn’t know the wicked definition?

        Indeed, frottage is well known as an offense by the lowest of the low in the jostling Paris Metro, but I figure it continues to write its own life. More than once, in an “urban” French dancehall, with sweaty guys up against their sweaty partners, I’ve heard the party chant: “frottez! frottez!”

        • Irene Zion says:

          Uche,

          Somehow your teaching me to say “puke” in any sort of French is just adorable. You truly have the image of a person who would never even THINK the word “puke” in any language. Good job on the image there!

          I grew up in Brooklyn, as did Victor. We took the subway to school. There was a lot of frottage we had to watch out for, as well as some genital flashing. Just how we got to school and back. We never thought anything of it. My daughter, mother of my measly two grandchildren out of five ungrateful children, would plotz today at the very idea and probably drive them both to school and pick them up.

  10. George says:

    I learned a new word, “jonesing”, and I learned that Irene can make any situation interesting.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Thanks, George,
      Since you are another of the smartest men in the world, being able to teach you something is extremely gratifying!
      Thanks for the compliment, I’m a sucker for compliments, you know.

  11. Adam says:

    The picture throughout the Commitments video is flipped across the Y-axis. I wonder what accounts for that.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Adam,
      How could you tell? Was there writing that was backwards or something?
      I’ll have to watch it again, I didn’t catch that.
      How come you always come up with weird things no one else sees?
      I think your brain is wired in a very interesting way!

  12. A complete hussy! You were polite not to go back in and go Zydeco on her ass (Is that even possible?) My favorite part is you passing out earplugs ’cause you have everything in your purse.

    Here, there are the Red Hat ladies. You ever hear of them? They have the biggest, craziest red hats you’ve ever seen. Sometimes over at Buck Owens Crystal Palace they’re taking up 2-3 tables. I always make a point to tell a few I love their hats.

    I do that while way out of leg-rubbing range. Just in case.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Nick,

      I really carry earplugs everywhere. For example, sometimes the movies are turned so loud as to be actually painful. I have trouble with my left ear and I do NOT want a third tympanoplasty! Also any place that plays music, usually does it at way too high a decibel for ear safety. I worry about all the kids running around with their ipods in their ears when you can clearly hear what they are listening to. It MUST be up to high, eh?

      I think you’ve partaken in a bit of frottage in your life, NL, you can’t tell me different!

      (Thanks, Uche, that was fun!)

  13. jmblaine says:

    Zydeco from New Jersey?

    Is this fiction?

    Are you making that up?

    That’s so absurd.

    I concur though
    you can make any situation
    interesting
    because your character is so
    lovable.

    If you want the real deal
    make a pass through
    Lafayette, Breaux Bridge
    Mamou – those towns.
    New Orleans might have some
    but NO is more creole & big brass
    Plus its way dangereaux.

  14. Irene Zion says:

    11,

    I SWEAR these zydeco musicians hailed from New Jersey. They announced it. It was my first hint that the music may not turn out to be what we were anticipating.

    I hope you aren’t referring to Paula being adorable there!
    I know SHE thought she was adorable, but I wanted to dip her head in ink!

    I have no idea where those places you mentioned are. You’re going to have to give me more information on that, since Victor’s almost favorite pastime is driving and driving and driving until I’m almost blue in the face!

    I actually do not like Jazz. Saxophone music actually makes me depressed. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true as true can be.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Lafayette is at the foot of the Atchafalaya River bridge (the 20 mile long bridge on I-10). Breaux Bridge and Mamou you have to work a little harder for. My friend’s mother was the mayor of Maurice, LA. I know that state far, far too well.

      • Richard Cox says:

        I remember passing through Lafayette when we moved from New Orleans to Corpus Christie. But that’s all I remember.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Where all have you lived in your life, Richard? Always in the Southern part of the country?

        • Richard Cox says:

          Mostly. I’ve lived in Odessa, TX, Monahans, TX, Williston, ND, New Orleans, Corpus Christi, Midland, TX, Wichita Falls, TX, Corpus again, College Station, TX, Bryan, TX, and now Tulsa, OK.

          How about you, Lorene?

        • Irene Zion says:

          Well, Ricky,
          I am going to have to ask how in heaven’s name, with that list, you landed for a time in North Dakota? It honestly is the glaring one that doesn’t fit.
          I lived in Baltimore, Trieste when it was a Free Territory, Venice, Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, Annapolis, Iowa City, Champaign, IL, and Miami Beach.

        • Richard Cox says:

          My dad was a new salesman at his company and had done really well in two different cities, but they were both in the Permian Basin, which is one of the biggest oil producing regions in the country. He drew a lot of attention for his performance, but one officer in the company wasn’t impressed. At a company party the officer cattily suggested that maybe my dad wouldn’t be selling so well if he was in a more challenging region. My dad took umbrage and told the guy he could do well anywhere.

          Six months later we lived fifty miles from the Canadian border. Hahaha.

        • Irene Zion says:

          OUCH!
          That was some nasty company officer!
          Good for your dad for standing up to him, though, regardless of the outcome.
          It didn’t hurt for you to get a taste of living in the far reaches of the North in the USA!
          (It would hurt ME, but I’m sure you were a way tougher kid than I was.)

        • Richard Cox says:

          Yes, he was a vindictive bastard. Although my dad probably smarted off to him. We have some funny stories from living there…that kind of cold causes all kinds of unforeseen problems when you’re not a local. And even if you are.

          I bet Iowa City was pretty cold.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Richard,

          I swear this to you!
          When I was in Iowa City it was an unusually cold winter. It got to 20 degrees below zero often.
          I was from New York.
          It snowed in New York and then the next day it was gone.
          Two days, tops.
          No one told us the snow doesn’t go away in Iowa City.
          It doesn’t.
          Our parking spot was about 8 feet under before Spring came.
          We didn’t know.
          Also,
          I believed, I truly believed, that my eyeballs would freeze and shatter from the cold.
          I couldn’t figure out how to warm my eyeballs so they wouldn’t shatter.
          I didn’t want to go blind, and, also, I was pretty sure that even when they were frozen, exploding eyeballs would hurt. a lot.

          I told you that you were stronger than I.
          You were a kid. I was already a grown-up!

        • Richard Cox says:

          Your eyeballs would freeze! Now that’s hilarious. I think when you haven’t been in cold that severe you can’t really understand what it’s like. It makes you appreciate all the hard work the sun does for us.

          In our first winter in ND we didn’t understand how low the indoor humidity would be, so we were being electrocuted by light switches and door handles and we all had respiratory issues. Finally my dad bought a humidifier and ran it full tilt and suddenly we could breathe again and there was no more static electrical burns.

          Then one day the Chinook winds blew into town and the temperature shot up to like 40 degrees and in one of the rooms the ceiling started to leak. So my dad goes up into the attic to see what the problem is, and he finds like a hundred ice stalactites hanging from the attic ceiling. Apparently you aren’t supposed to run the humidifier on high all the time.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Victor was getting his fellowship in Retinal and Vitreous Surgery there. I understood that he knew better and that eyeballs wouldn’t freeze, but my gut told me they were going to and then they were going to burst. I couldn’t get past the irrational fear.

          Did your whole family get nosebleeds? We spent a year in Iowa City and 23 years in Champaign Illinois and no matter how high we put the humidifier, every one of us, especially the kids, had nosebleeds all winter. I guess your humidifier was better than ours!

          My kids would have killed to have icicles in the attic! Did you get any pictures of it? Your dad may have, because it was so silly.

        • Richard Cox says:

          I don’t know why he didn’t take any pictures. It’s too bad, because he uses the word stalactites instead of icicles not just because they were indoors but because they were massive. To that I would normally say “pics or it didn’t happen,” but this is back in the days when all sorts of things happened without pictures. Funny world that would be, eh?

          We had nosebleeds and coughed a lot until we got the humidifier. Maybe our house was smaller. But it made all the difference in the world.

          How about engine block heaters? Did you have those?

        • Irene Zion says:

          Richard,
          Do you remember how complicated pictures were back then? Also they were usually slides and it was very expensive for the time. It’s not like today’s digitals where we just erase the ones we don’t like.

          I really think it’s terrific that we can photograph anything we like now.

          I think our humidifier was just cheap. Simple as that. Poor nose bleeding children!

          We always had a garage, so we didn’t have block heaters, but I had the old style stick shift diesel Volvo station wagon for my car. I was driving on the highway with my five kids once when it was way below zero and my diesel fuel froze. I just puttered to a stop at the side of the highway.

          I walked those kids hand by hand to the next exit, freezing out butts off. Someone offered to drive us, but I was an idiot, (probably the cold got to my brain,) so I turned him down in order to show the kids that you don’t take rides from strangers. What an idiot I was! We were half-dead before we got the two or so miles to the next exit.

          Sara, my oldest, had block heaters in Rochester, MN when she was in medical school at Mayo .

          I visited her once in the winter, of course, and walked from the medical center to her house, which was only probably a half or three-quarters of a mile away, but there was a blinding snow storm and I couldn’t see where I was. I was pretty sure I was going to die an embarrassing death freezing to the sidewalk in front of her house or something.

      • Irene Zion says:

        I have to look at a map. We’ll be traveling south later this morning, when most people get up. Perhaps we are not so far away as to venture in that direction….

      • Irene Zion says:

        Unfortunately, I looked on the map and we were not passing anywhere near this area. It’ll have to be for the next drive. Victor is a driveaholic, so we will absolutely be driving somewhere within the next 6 months. Hopefully we can hear some genuine Cajun music and get some good food then.

        • jmblaine says:

          You should just try the
          Crawfish Festival
          in Breaux Bridge.
          Or Mulate’s or Fred’s
          in Mamou.

          Remember though,
          Crawfish is not kosher.

        • Irene Zion says:

          11,

          That, right there that you described, that is MY kind of Kosher!
          I’m still going to be needing some good directions to get to those places, though, even if I imagine a certain glow eminating from them, it may not be bright enough to get me there all the way from Miami Beach.

  15. Marcia (former next-door neighbor in Illinois and frequent visitor to Florida) says:

    On second thought, maybe you wandered into a hot bed (sorry!) of wife swapping activities. The outfits, the handing out of the business card, the rubbing, and the expressed hope of getting together again later might be clues. It makes you think you’ve led a sheltered life doesn’t it? To think that these cultures exist all around us and we hardly ever even notice them is just amazing.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Marcia,

      I would never in a hundred years have thought of that.
      And, in fact, the fact that YOU thought of that is mind-blowing, innocent as you have always been!
      You don’t have some secret life that I somehow have never caught wind of, do you?

  16. Zara Potts says:

    That shameless minx! Never trust a woman who mixes her animal prints, Irene.
    Lovely piece – you painted the scene as well as if you’d used a fine brush. I love your writing, the sad, the funny, the tender. I love it all.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Zara, (and your weasel friend,)

      She WAS shameless! She did it all right in front of me and I was oblivious. Honestly, I have to keep a closer look at what’s happening to poor Victor. He can’t take this sort of stress.
      Thank you for your kind words, Zara. As I said above, I’m a sucker for compliments.

  17. Oh, what a fun, fun piece. About what seems like an anti-climactic evening.

    I love the word Jambalaya. It’s so fun. I always pronounce it with a ‘u’ at first. JumbaLIIIIIYa.

    Then again, I’m from Jersey, and as you so aptly note, maybe people from Jersey don’t know too much about Zydeco.

    I think I like Zydeco. I’m pretty sure I do. I’m going to have to look up the groups you mentioned.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Will,

      It’s okay, a LOT of people are from New Jersey and they all survive one way or another! You’ll tough it out, Will, I know it.
      Did you play the link? It’s pretty good, eh? I need to learn more about Zydeco also. I have to download some music, now that I learned who the best ones are.

      (Don’t tell anyone, but that’s how I pronounce Jambalaya too. Let’s keep that between the two of us, eh? I have a certain image to uphold, being the old and “wise” one here.)

  18. Tom Hansen says:

    My dad was an Elks club member. That was like 1970. Sounds like it’s changed. Back then it was a club for men to a) talk about hookers and b) drink booze.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Tom,

      There was a cash bar and it was open for two hours before the dinner, so there was plenty of liquor flowing and, if Marcia’s suspicions are correct, (and I have known Marcia since dirt was invented and she has so far NEVER been wrong,) it’s now a place for wife-swapping!

  19. Matt says:

    Oh man. Too much fun. I love how your side of the conversation and the hussy’s husbad’s was always one step removed from each other.

    Saying “Zydeco band from New Jersey” is like saying “Mexican food from Canada.”

    Having known a few actual Cajuns during my four years in New Orleans, I can honestly say I’ve never encountered Zydeco and animal print spandex in the same place. Sounds like you got Cajun culture as filtered through some 80s-stuck, cocaine-addled Florida filter–especially with that “creamy” jamablaya.

    Glad the gumbo was good, at least.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Well, Matt,

      You see I could hear him for some reason, but he couldn’t hear me. The conversation got so ridiculous that I had all I could do to keep from laughing. I could keep the conversation going because no one else was listening and it was so incredibly loud in the huge room.

      Yeah, the New Jersey thing was our first hint that not only the food was bad, which we already knew, but that the music was likely to be bad too.

      I like your description. “Cajun culture as filtered through some 80s-stuck, cocaine-addled Florida filter – especially with that ‘creamy’ jambalaya” Except for the cocaine, of which I have no knowledge, that sounds like a better description than I came up with.

      The gumbo really was good. I can’t understand how, though.

  20. Marcia (former next-door neighbor in Illinois and frequent visitor to Florida) says:

    I think I read a magazine article (or saw a TV show or something) once where someone was reporting on that life style . Something rang a bell. But who would have thought that a Cajun/ zydeco/ Elks event would be a likely place or that you and Victor would wander into it? Life is amazing!!!

    • Irene Zion says:

      Marcia,

      You should know us well enough to acknowledge that we’ll do almost anything for a good meal!
      And this purported to be a good meal with good music. They just lied.

  21. zydeco reno says:

    i love the word jonesing. i’ve seen a lot of jonesing in my life. just the way things are. so the bride was trying to bed your husband? what a slut. i say you piece that card, visit this female pig, and kick her in the throat. if this is too violent (which, who we fooling, it is), tell her victor was sickened by her shenanigans and had to sent to the ER overnight. you pick. i have others if none of these appeal to you.

    your purse is prepared for anything…

    too funny. i’ve heard ladies purses hold all types of strange things. hmmm.

    this was funny. the conversation with the nice man had me rolling. thanks, irene. now, i’m jonesing for another story.

    yup,
    reno romero

    • Irene Zion says:

      zydeco reno,

      I will tell you a few of the things that I always have in my purse, not including the usuals like wallets and keys and kleenex and wipes and sunglasses and reading glasses and a brush and cell phone and stuff everyone else has.
      A magnifying glass,
      Earplugs,
      Eyedrops,
      Mouthwash,
      Lotion,
      Antibiotic ointment and bandaids,
      scissors,
      nail clippers,
      emery boards,
      washcloth,
      Purell,
      tiny expanding bag if you buy something,
      mints,
      bag hangar gizmo so I can hang purse from a table and not put it on the icky floor,
      pocket knife,
      pens,
      notebook,
      headache pills,
      Tums,
      bottled water,
      Okay, you get the idea. That was without even peeking.
      I do admit that the thing is quite heavy, which is a drawback I can live with in case there is a need for something I’ve got.

      But now I’m jonesing for red velvet cake again!
      There was a low-country chef in Miami called M. Woods who had a restaurant for a while before it closed. He had the most amazing red velvet cake, probably 20 paper thin layers. Oh, if only I knew where he moved to!

  22. Kate says:

    There’s a gorgeous Elks Club building in Lincoln Park that I have always wanted to go into. I wonder if they have such exciting events. The building is so beautiful and classic, I can’t really imagine sparkly spandex, pink jambalaya, and wife swapping occurring there, but I guess you never know.

    • Irene Zion says:

      To be fair, the Elks Club is reputed to do lots of good works,
      in addition to possible wife-swapping.
      And, really, we’re only going on the behavior of one Elk’s wife.
      Nice Man just seemed nice, not anything like he was coming on to me.
      Besides, anyone who knows us I have all I can handle in the one man I’ve got!

  23. Nice man says:

    Lenore,

    This was a great post! It’s windy outside. I am so tired of the guy sitting next to me who brays all day like a donkey. But can you believe all the things they put corn in? Honestly! The best part of that film is when they intertwine their little neuron tail thingys…so sensual. And don’t get me started on how ridiculous Carrot Top looks these days.

    Sassafras! I’m hungry.

    Sparkles are for brandy snifters.

    Sublimely yours,
    Nice man

    • Irene Zion says:

      Nice Man!

      How nice to hear from you.
      You can clear a few things up here, now that you’re on board.
      Is your bride ALWAYS this way when she drinks too much?
      You didn’t hand me your card to get together for any other than to have, say, dinner, at a restaurant together, right?
      It would reassure me that I can read men pretty well, if I knew you were on the up and up.
      Perhaps that was the wrong phrase to use.
      It would reassure me that I can read men pretty well, if I knew you were not interested in extra-marital games, right?
      It’s only your bride who has the wandering eye, and leg and hands, right?

      • Nice man says:

        Hi again Lorene,

        Extramarital shenanigans are what it means to be the Nice Man. Put your keys in the bowl and hand me a goldfish.

        My chest is itchy, possibly because the Gold Bond powder I use has an expiration date of 1978. And basically my bride was trying to wipe it off her hands.

        Wash Victory’s pants in all tempa Cheer. Stat!

        F’reals.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Nice Man,

          I’m not putting my keys anywhere.
          They stay just where they are.
          All my goldfish were killed by the cold anyway, but if I had any, I wouldn’t hand you one.
          You lice-ridden cad!
          I don’t know who Victory is but I have no intention of washing his pants in anything.
          Humph!

        • Richard Cox says:

          It’s fun to string together irrelevant answers and call it a conversation.

          But come on, that Victory line was inspired! Hahaha.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Was “Nice Man” you, Richard Cox?

          You have a little devil in you, don’t you?
          Little bit of the Irish?
          I do too.

          It was inspired, though, I have to grudgingly admit.

          I knew Victory was Victor, but I didn’t want to give “Nice Man” the satisfaction.

          But I just don’t feel like washing anyone’s pants right now.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Giving you a hard time, Irene, is fast becoming one of my favorite things to do. In a loving way, of course.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Don’t you worry, I’m strong as an ox and I can take it!
          Built like a tree stump, I am!
          You really fooled me, and I like to pretend that that is a difficult thing to do, regardless of evidence to the contrary.

  24. jmblaine says:

    I was just thinking about a friend
    of mine who gave the following introduction
    to “Jambalaya”

    “Here’s the Cajun National Anthem
    written by an alcoholic redneck from Alabama…”

    So maybe there could be a great Zydeco band from Jersey.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Good Jambalaya kicks butt, no matter who makes it or what he has been drinking or where he is from.

      In my survey, which admittedly is a small one to date,
      people from New Jersey should
      not
      ever
      try to play Zydeco.

      • jmblaine says:

        Sorry –

        that was a reference
        to Hank Williams’
        Jambalaya the song
        not the dish!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Okay, yet another example of my sad educational background in music.
          I didn’t know Hank Williams had a song called “Jambalaya.”
          Now I don’t have anything to say at all.
          Humn.

  25. Melissa (Irene's Friend) says:

    Irene, I loved my spandex outfit. I did not see any point to you putting me down.You also know my trials with tiaras. I did lose it on Halloween. I must have left it in the backseat of my car during the wife swap. LOL.
    Thanks for the giggle today. It helped my breaking heart.
    Love you.
    See you soon.
    Melissa

    • Irene Zion says:

      Now, Melissa,

      You know perfectly well that that was not you prancing about handling the men willy-nilly!
      I’d know you anywhere, dressed in anything.
      I believe I’ve seen you dressed in some unusual attire, as you have seen me also.

      Keep yourself busy.
      Write a story. Clean a closet. Get your hair cut. Wash out your car inside and throw all the wrappers out. Call a friend and go out on the town. (Stay away from the Elks, though.)

  26. Melissa (Irene's Friend) says:

    Wait can you wife swap if you are not a wife?

    • Irene Zion says:

      Sure you can wife-swap if you’re not a wife, you just have to pick up some sort of clean looking homeless guy and take him with you. You won’t even notice when you swap him, because you didn’t want him back anyhow.

  27. Pat Gray says:

    Yes, for sure, I laughed. So much fun that you hope never to have again! Always keep me on your list. I enjoy all you have written and look forward to the next.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Hey Pat!

      How come you never bring your hubby with you down to MB?
      We’ve got room, you know.
      Thanks for reading, I’m afraid I’m brimful of stories, so discounting the chance of hell or high water, I’ll be writing a long time.

  28. Erika Rae says:

    I’m listening to that zydeco link as I type and my fingers are bouncing all over the keys. Just bouncing away. Look at ’em go! I’m feeling things I’ve never felt before. Oh! Not like a hussy rubbin’ and a rubbin’ at my leg, you understand, but Lord! Ah! Oh, but this was funny with the sequins and the pink and creamy jambalaya and the family with hardware in their blood.

    “Keep a knockin’ but you can’t come in.”

    Lord!

    Shred that card, baby.

    Oh!

    • Irene Zion says:

      Erika Rae,

      You know, it was a very satisfying thing to put that card in the shredder.
      On the way home in the car I was seething over the nerve of that strumpet acting so brazenly right there in front of me! I thought of burning it, but I’m sort of chicken around fire, even in the sink, which was my first plan. Shredding it was just like shredding her. Going after my defenseless Victor, indeed!

  29. Tim says:

    I’d never heard of Zydeco OR The Commitments.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Tim, if this story does nothing else it will educate you in some amazing music and I will be pleased.
      Rent or Netflix or whatever you kids do now to get a copy of the movie “The Commitments.” It is a really good movie, and you won’t believe your ears to hear these pale, doughy Irish boys singing so unexpectedly.
      As far as the Zydeco goes, I don’t know of any movie, but people in the know have suggested some of the greats and downloading them to listen to in the car would round out your American Music education, just don’t get a ticket and drive to the beat or anything.

      • jmblaine says:

        There was actually a Dennis Quaid film
        set in New Orleans called the Big Easy.
        His accent is pretty off
        but the soundtrack is quite fine.
        Even Quaid’s cut is good stuff.

  30. ben says:

    Who needs the elk’s club?

    I say you make your next creepy club the shriners. They have hats and tiny cars, which is way better than crappy cajun.

  31. Irene Zion says:

    Ben,
    My dad was a Shriner. I am not aware of his participating in any of those shenanigans.
    I do know that they are the ones who started & raise the money for Shriners Hospital, which
    treats kids who have suffered horrendous burns with state of the art medical & surgical care and all for free to the family.
    I just can’t see my dad doing anything silly, but I suppose my view is skewed by the fact thT he was my dad.
    I’m sure the Elks do good things too, they said they paid scholarships for needy kids for college.

    My dad would never wife- swap, cause he wasn’t that kind of man and also who inhis right mind would swap for his crazy ass wife?

  32. Marni Grossman says:

    You could never be dowdy, Irene! Even amidst a sea of shiny animal print.

  33. D.R. Haney says:

    Your conversation with Nice Man had me stitches.

    Of course, I wrote about my own Elk experience last year at TNB. I’d supply a link, but Matt Baldwin did so recently when you wrote about Ben going to camp. Yes, the camp where I was photographed nude was run by the Elks.

  34. Irene Zion says:

    Holy Moly!

    It was run by the Elks? I didn’t remember who ran the camp. I guess because of the content, I had rerwritten it in my head to be boyscout camp.
    (Sorry, all you Eagle Scouts out there, I know Boy Scouts are great, it’s just where my mind put the story, nothing personal, promise. My brother was an Eagle Scout. Wait, maybe that explains a few things…. Oh, now, look, I’ve done it again. It could just has easily been some sort of religious camp…uh oh, I think I just offended an entire new category of reader. I know. It was a camp run by registered sex offenders, but your parents had no idea, because it was secret. Yeah. That’s the ticket!)
    The conversation went on longer, but that’s all I could remember, seeing as how it is difficult to remember things that don’t make any sense at all.

    I do wonder how often this weird and terrible camp becomes something to which to refer. Maybe there is a lesson here.
    I know anyone who doesn’t understand will want to read this story we’re talking about, so here’s the link. http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/drhaney/2009/07/i-was-a-child-porn-model/
    It’s a whopper and worth re-reading, if you have a memory like me.

  35. Irene Zion says:

    Duke,
    Matt is our resident Mountain Man for TNB. It does not even slightly surprise me that he was an Eagle Scout.
    Is there any chance that you might give us a peek into your next blockbuster?
    Inquring minds want to know!

    • Matt says:

      Heh. A mountain man. Who live three miles from the beach.

      Oh, and I was never an Eagle Scout. I made it to Star level, I think (Tenderfoot, First Class, Second Class, Star, Life, Eagle), but I don’t have the uniforms or my old handbook, so it’s difficult to be sure.

      Six months after I quit the sole Eagle Scout in our troop tried to murder his mom.

  36. Irene Zion says:

    Matt!

    You have to PROMISE to tell that story next!
    You HAVE to!
    We ALL have to hear this story!
    Please?

  37. Irene Zion says:

    Seriously, is TNB great, or what?

  38. Paul Clayton says:

    Irene,

    C’mon, you really didn’t know that Cajun night was code for swingin’ night? Ha ha! Actually, that lady was probably just trying to help your husband, lucky guy that he is, concentrate on his Gumbo.

    Very nicely written1
    Best!

  39. Irene Zion says:

    Hello there, Paul, Master of Deadpanitude!

    I’m afraid I did NOT know the secret Elks code for “swinging.”
    Paula was indubitably trying very hard to help Victor concentrate on his Gumbo.
    The problem is that I was also. Unaware of the Elks secret code for “Gumbo.”

    ( You need to announce when your book about the Lost Colony of Roanoke comes out!
    I can’t wait toread it!)

  40. I like anything with a French title. Tu as la peche mon amie!

  41. Irene Zion says:

    Et, toi, David, tu es mes raisins à vin, mon ami!

  42. Oh, Irene, I’m gagging a little from the “pink and creamy,” but this was just marveous and atmospheric and hilarious! Love it. And isn’t it strange how many sparkly women do not seem to “belong” with their drab men, in so many different places and cultures? This is a phenomenon that is oddly universal in its oddness.

  43. Irene Zion says:

    Hi Gina!

    I agree. I’ve been so many places, where the women and men just did not seem to be in the same culture, even, although I knew they were.
    Maybe next TNB Chicago, I’ll come all sparkly, just to see what happens….

  44. Lenore says:

    what? i’ve never known dad to be awkward in social situations. he’s great in them. he wins everyone over unless he doesn’t want them. case in point, the prostitute sitting next to him at this dinner who was trying to break up our family. i’ll beat that bitch down with a hammer if she gets near dad.

    but really, dad would never do anything to hurt me, so don’t worry mom. he’s gonna stay with you even if you don’t wear hot animal prints. cause i don’t want no stepmom.

  45. Irene Zion says:

    Aw,
    Lenore that is just so sweet.
    It’s good to have a daughter with violent tendencies to watch my back.
    I just feel warm all inside.

    Dad is great when he knows who people are, he totally sucks into his shell when he doesn’t know anyone. Who doesn’t, really? Oh yeah, you. Well, most people are not comfortable in the company of perfect strangers.

    I love you down to your striped little arms.

  46. angela says:

    irene, i’m late to the game and will probably repeat what everyone already said, but what a fun and funny piece! i love that conversation you had – i think we’ve all had one of those. in fact, i had one with my mom the other day. (me: “yes, so things are going well”; mom: “so are things going terribly?”) and that jambalaya sounds scary and disgusting!

  47. Irene Zion says:

    Angela,

    Thanks for reading!

    The conversation I was having was different from yours. He really thought he heard what I said.

    The conversations between mothers and daughters are discretely unique. A daughter will say one thing and the mom will search for the undercurrents, plumb the depths of what could really be going on that she isn’t being told.
    I know this cause I kinda do it.

  48. kristen says:

    Death to humdrum!

  49. Irene Zion says:

    We are in accord, Kristen.

    Humdrum is the fiendish enemy!

  50. Irene Zion says:

    You know what?
    I just realized that all the French accent marks that I worked very hard to place correctly, are totally gone from the title.
    Wordpress doesn’t like me.
    That’s got to be it.

  51. Amy says:

    Didn’t know you were married to such a stud did you?

  52. Irene Zion says:

    Oh Amy,
    I knew it, I just thought it was a secret!

  53. Joe Daly says:

    I laughed out loud at this part of the exchange:

    “(Me) Do you still work in hardware?

    (Nice Man) She came down here in ‘86.

    (Me) What made her move down here?

    (Nice Man) Absolutely, my family has hardware in the blood.”

    So perfectly captures that whole disjointed banter that you hear in clubs, parties, and apparently gatherings of the I.B.O.E.

    Hilarious!!!

  54. Irene Zion says:

    Thanks, Joe.

    I wish I could have remembered it all. We went on talking like that for much longer, but since no thought was connected to the other, it was hard to remember it all.

    Really, it was just ridiculous!

  55. Ruthie says:

    Your descriptions of the ladies clothes are great. Makes me feels like I was right there with you. Wait, wasn’t I? Am I allowed to tell? We thought we were going to a “festival” but it ended up being a sit down affair where we had to sit next to and converse with actual Elks! A little too up close and personal. But all that Miami Elk history was just so fascinating. Your descriptions of trying to converse with loud music making it hard to hear were wonderful. Maybe the food would have tasted better if someone was rubbing our legs.

  56. Irene Zion says:

    You know, Ruthie,

    You bring up an extremely good point.
    Everything would probably seem better if someone was rubbing our legs!

    (You are a scream, Ruthie! When I wrote the story with the three extra people who came with us, it got way too long for this venue. There are certainly things that I would like to have added for a bit of spice, if you know what I mean….)

  57. Paul A. Toth says:

    Hijinks at the Elk’s Club; I have to love it! But no Cajun food in Miami? They’d better have good Cuban food or I’m never visiting. The South could really use a real city, you know, like a Southern New York. If nothing else, all the New Yorkers would move there. I mean, not just retired New Yorkers but young New Yorkers, too. Then we’d have every kind of food available on the planet earth. However, how can we complain when we have so many waffle houses? What’s up with waffle houses?

    Nice piece. It’s always fun to watch people degenerate into human beings!

  58. Irene Zion says:

    Paul,
    There is no Cajun food here!
    We have just about everything else in spades.
    EVERYTHING from everywhere in Central and South America and the Islands, and good food, cheap restaurants too. (We like that combination, good AND cheap.)
    Plus all the fusion everything and real Italian from different parts of Italy and French and Portuguese, Spanish, Greek is a bit iffy, Turkish, Israeli, really everything but Cajun.
    (Every time I think of cooking Cajun, though, I pick up Paul Prudhomme’s book and look at him and decide I can’t afford to eat anything that fattening on purpose.)

    Oh, and Paul? We are the two oldest people on Miami Beach. Everyone else is young and unmarried, or newly married with small children or gay or lesbian or the other letters in that group. It’s a terrific place that is full of life. The God’s Waiting Room thing has up and moved north somewhere.

  59. […] and her husband, the sleep-deprived Victor, are world travelers.  They have been to Dubai, New Orleans, Chicago, Zimbabwe, and a long long road […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *