Is that a cucumber in your bag or are you just happy to see me?

I don’t know, this was too long for Facebook so I thought I’d put it on here.

Lately I’ve been binge-watching Billions, the Paul Giamatti/Damian Lewis political-financial thriller. The dialogue is whip smart, the intrigue scintillating.

Having run out of episodes, I recently switched to Succession, which follows the boardroom shenanigans of the family of a wealthy tycoon.

All this to say, I’ve been watching a lot of wheelin’ and dealin’ and white collar stealin’.

So it’s late, I’m way into my show but there’s a lull in the dialogue so I check Facebook. (“Double fisting” my husband calls it, when I’m watching a show and surfing social media at the same time.)

I see a funny post by my neighbor, who accidentally ordered cucumbers instead of zucchini in her latest grocery delivery.

For some reason, cucumbers sound AMAZING, so I offer to trade her from my zucchini stash for her cukes. She offers a trade of two for two, I agree and I go to finish my show.

A little while later, my phone dings and the message reads, “I’m at your door with cucumbers.”

Having completely forgotten about my recent foray in to online vegetable trading, all I can think is, “kinky.”

Then I remember, so I plod into the kitchen in my jammies and paw through the crisper in search of the proffered zucchini.

But I can only find one. And the deal was two.

I have yellow squash. Should I throw in it there to make up the difference? Should I renegotiate the terms? Sweeten the deal with a cup of sugar?

In my head, suddenly Bobby Axelrod is chewing my ass for not having a proper courgette count before I make a produce pact. I’ve failed him.

I grab the lone zucchini and stuff it in a bag with two yellow squash praying that since they’re kind of in the same food family, I’ll be forgiven.

I awkwardly shove the bag through the door crack at my neighbor’s husband, who seems amicably bewildered by the whole idea of vegetable transactions at midnight, grab his cucumbers in return, and latch the door.

Clearly, I am not cut out for the boardroom.

In the Kitchen: Amaretto Slush

My mom serves these at holiday gatherings, usually when we get together to wrap gifts before Christmas. That’s probably why we all get along so well during those special times, and you can always tell which gifts were wrapped later in the evening.

I made up a batch for Monkey’s party, and there wasn’t a drop left once everyone had departed. They are equally perfect for a sweltering summer day and a chilly winter evening.

A word of caution though – you really can’t tell there’s alcohol in here. Go easy!

Amaretto Slush

1 large can Dole pineapple juice

2 cans frozen Minute Maid pink lemonade

1/3 cup lemon juice

3 cups Disaronno Amaretto

1 2-liter bottle clear soda (Sprite, Ginger Ale)

Mix pineapple juice, pink lemonade, lemon juice and Amaretto in a large pitcher. Pour into a container suitable for freezing. Cover well. Freeze for 24 hours. Scoop slush into a cup, pour soda over the top and enjoy!

*You can substitute 1 tbsp almond extract if you’d like to keep these alcohol free.

Run, Return, Rebuild

A poem about starting over for MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Warnings heeded, we left you
Alone in the storm

Took what we could – not much
Dogs and photos, mostly

We watched the colors approach
While you felt the water rise

A week passed by, homeless
Before we saw you

Red brick, still standing strong
Insides out, upsides down

Saved what we could – not much
Metal, plastic and glass, mostly

Hauled the rest to the street
A lifetime of soggy memories

Over the past two years, I’ve regularly dreamed about my house. My first house – all mine. Decorated in everything that symbolized me, all completely destroyed by rising waters. In each dream, I’ve rescued my home, repaired the damage, and carried on making memories within those walls – walls that were built by my family years before.

Two nights ago, for the first time, I dreamed we left the house. We took everything we could fit in boxes, bags and pockets while the walls began to crumble and the floor began to disappear under growing puddles of brackish water

But the house didn’t look the same. The details were wrong, as if I had forgotten them.

I think finally, after I’ve put  years and miles between my old home and my new one, after I’ve built a marriage and birthed a child, my subconscious is beginning to let go of my old life, one small piece at a time.

Mama’s Losin’ It

The Legend of Captain B

Have a seat, children, and I’ll tell you the legend of Captain B, a larger-than-life fellow who never came across an animal without wondering what it would taste like.

Captain B is a tugboat captain by trade, a survivalist by nature, a father, a husband, and a somewhat law-abiding citizen. He’s a gifted story-teller, a reluctant dog wrangler, and he grills a mean pork chop.

One old man who knew him as a youngster tells of a time when, while driving down a country road, Captain B brought his truck to a screeching halt, bailed out the door, went running into the woods and came back holding a small opossum by the tail. He tossed it into the toolbox in the back and continued on his way. 

No one is really sure what happened to the critter, but many would bet money it ended up underneath some kind of sauce, served next to a heaping piles of steak fries.

There’s a police officer somewhere down south who walks with a limp on colder days, having had the misfortune of telling Captain B “no.”

In 2008, after a hurricane flooded his town, Captain B kayaked across a bayou in an effort to get to his home and assess the damage. Police spotted him walking down the road in the empty town, machete strapped to his chest, shotgun slung across his back, pistol holstered on his hip. 

Guns drawn, they stopped this Redneck Rambo before he could get to his home, loaded him in a cruiser, drove him over a bridge out of town, and told him not to come back, that it was too dangerous.

Captain B tried again, and again the police returned him to the safety of high, dry ground. They warned him that if he came back, he’d get arrested. Begrudgingly admitting defeat for the day, Captain B got in his truck and drove away, but not before “accidentally” running over an officer’s foot.

A few weeks later while the town began to clean up its mess, circumstances came about that led the police to Captain B’s door. After they had discerned the Captain’s honorable intentions concerning the surrounding events, B realized the polite officer that had pinned him up against the wall while disarming him looked awfully familiar.

“How’s your foot?” he asked.

“Got some toes that are a little shorter now,” the man replied.

Captain B carries a survival pack wherever he goes, and although some may poke fun of him for it, those people would be the first to come clamoring at his door in the event of war, zombie apocalypse, or the secession of Texas.

The Captain will tell you, “A country boy can survive.”

As if working long hours on a tugboat and wrangling a mess of kids and dogs isn’t enough, Captain B recently took on a new hobby – airboat tour guide.

Those who are lucky enough to end up on his tours are regaled with tales of a local cannibalistic indian tribe, educated about the diverse ecosystem and the history of a once-booming shipping hub, and thrilled with his lightning-quick maneuvers on the water craft as they are propelled through the waterways just off I-10 in Orange, Texas.

Passengers of the airboat strain to catch a glimpse of Red-Winged Blackbirds  and other colorful bird species as they glide effortlessly over bull tongue and lily pads, involuntarily ducking as Captain B steers the boat smoothly over objects that one would think would cause a jarring bump.

On this particular day, high winds have forced water from the Gulf of Mexico further inland, raising the water levels so that most of the wildlife has retreated elsewhere. Captain B isn’t fond of letting visitors to his beloved waters leave without a satisfying show, so he breaks the company rules a bit and heads for somewhat forbidden areas.

His boss catches him.

The Captain doesn’t appear the least bit flustered and continues his tour. He’ll deal with the repercussions later. Right now, he’s loving the enthralled looks upon his passengers’ faces as they study brilliantly-hued waterfowl that has landed nearby.

All too soon, the tour is over, and the passengers climb ashore. I wonder if they’ve been affected at all by what they’ve seen, and if they understand even a modicum of the Captain’s love for this area.

I glance at my husband who is suddenly and visibly reluctant to be headed north again soon. I see he shares B’s love for the culture that exists here.

I realize again what a treasure my family is, and although I look forward to telling my son the legend of his cousin, I hope instead that he gets to experience it for himself.