I left Louisiana in broad daylight; back in ’73 it was.
I was a clueless English major LSU grad, still wet behind the years with an untamed urge to experience the good life.
California, where everything was hap’nin, was too far away. I had hitchhiked there one time and found it to be a cool place.
But some family connections steered me to the South’s version of California, Florida.
So I did the Florida thing for about a year and half, selling life insurance and then newspaper advertising. But then a few days of jail time on a traffic violation — driving on a revoked license to get to work one morning, but then getting caught — I opted for leaving Florida in the broad daylight.
Finally settled in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. Been there ever since. Destiny, I guess. At least I like to think so.
Better yet. . . Providence, like Abraham.
Who’da thunk it that a Miss’ippi River boy, me, kinda like Sam Cooke, “born by the River” would end up living life as a mountain man?
But this is America, where a man can carve his own destiny out of whatever wood, stone, mountain, river or storm gets in his way.
When Katrina hit Louisiana in ’05, I accompanied Pat and a bus full of nurses on a trip from our home in Boone NC down to Baton Rouge. I was quite impressed with the work that Red Cross was doing for hurricane victims who had been flooded or blown out of their owns. During that time, I remember hearing Randy Newman’s song, Louisiana, about the great flood of 1927.
Long about 2005 or so, the ole Writerly urge — and the lame LSU English degree — finally kicked in and paid off, so to speak, haha!. I wrote and published my first novel, Glass half-Full. After that, as a few more years rolled by the second and third novels somehow tumbled out of the laptop: Glass Chimera, Smoke.
And then the long-awaited novel, the fourth, a story that involved going home again (in my authorial memory and imagination) appeared, having been summoned out of a million keystrokes, onto 258 KDP pages: King of Soul.
It’s a story about what happened to our nation back in the days of the Vietnam War, while I was a student with a college deferment at LSU, until the lottery when my number came up 349.
Most of the story is centered on events at LSU, although the last scene is in Kent, Ohio.
Go figure. In my mind, it’s the great American novel, haha!. Thank God and my wife, RN Nurse Pat, for making that grand writing project possible while she was keeping patients alive in the ICU.
What’s so fortuitous is that the creative urge had started to bloom in Asheville while Pat and I were meeting and falling in love.
Thomas Wolfe’s famous 1929 novel was “Look Homeward Angel” which mostly happened in a guest house in Asheville that was just a stone’s throw from the printing company where I worked for a few years.
Thomas Wolfe also wrote another novel: You Can’t Go Home Again
Nevertheless, come Tuesday, I’ll be “going home again,” getting back to my roots,
flying out of Carolina in the broad daylight to Go “Home” Again, in that bayou state where I was born in ’51. We’ll see what the ole home place has become since I left Louisiana many and many a year ago with a guitar on my knee, passin’ through Alabama. . . my true love, Pat, for to see.