Friday, October 16, 2015

Marturello Farewell Tour, Part 2: New Orleans, LO

New Orleans, Naw Luns, N'orlins, however you say it, we knew we would never forgive ourselves for living 3 hours away and never visiting. 

We had gumbo, (actually really good, award winning gumbo, thanks to Dean's diligent research) walked along the mighty Mississippi, ate Beignets, talked to street artists, and really tried to get a sense of this city in a short 12 hours. It's not the most 'kid friendly' place, but I think we were able to show them the good parts.

 Either way you look at it, the line for Beignets was crazy.  Luckily, we met a friendly carriage driver who told us about the "other" entrance to Cafe Du Monde. The one none of the tourists see on the inside of the building.  We had a table and were inhaling powdered sugar within minutes.

The aftermath of our breakfast...

There's something surreal about walking through a place you've only ever seen in the movies and on TV. The buildings were the oldest our kids had ever seen and there was still some evidence of Katrina's devastation. 

I had 'Proud Mary' in my head all the way back to Alabama. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Marturello Farewell Tour, Part One: Monroeville, AL

Two weeks after moving to Alabama I heard Monroeville mentioned on the radio in connection with Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird.  I was floored.  I LOVE this novel and I hadn't remembered that it was set in Alabama.  It led me on an internet search and I discovered..

 1. Harper Lee is alive and well and still living in Monroe County

 2. Lots of other great novels and authors have Alabama roots. Among them... Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - Fannie Flagg, Forrest Gump - Winston Groom, and F.Scott Fitzgerald, Author of The Great Gatsby and his wife Zelda. 

 3. Monroeville, Lee's Maycomb, was only 2 hours away from Dothan,(Although it was two hours to the middle of nowhere and not exactly "on the way" to anywhere except the Lousiana border, but my family didn't need to know that..." 

The magnolia leaf wreaths on the courthouse doors were exquisite.

The courtroom is the exact room Harper Lee used to sneak into as a child and watch her father. It's also the model used for the set in the Movie "To Kill a Mockingbird".

Boo Radley's Tree.  Apparently the exact tree is no longer in existence, but no one seemed to know the exact story on how/why.  Notice all the treasures Jem and Scout found in the tree.

Twenty minutes into our trip Dean paused the audio book and sheepishly admitted to never having actually read the book..... wait, what? yes, you heard right, Dean never read To Kill a Mockingbird.  'How is that even possible', you ask? 'It's un-American!', you exclaim! I turned my head to the window. There may have been tears....  He passed  10th grade English due in part to Gregory Peck's phenomenal performance in the movie. 

I hope some day, in their own 10th grade English classes, my kiddos might remember a hot summer day in Monroeville.  To Kill a Mockingbird was the first novel that really resonated with me that wasn't written by L.M. Montgomery.

After his confession our little detour to Monroeville basically turned into a trip just for me.  The kids had no idea why I kept "oohing" and "ahing" and making them stop for pictures. And Dean just followed me around and indulged me.  We had "Radley Burgers" at the little cafe across the street.  Pretty much the only 'touristy' thing you can do here.

And then we got in the car and drove two hours back down the same little highway listening to Sissy Spaceck's beautiful Southern drawl as she told us all about Jem, and Scout. Atticus, and Boo Radley. And hate, and love, and justice, and ultimately, redemption.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dirt Magnet

You know that line from Pride and Prejudice.. "There is a truth universally acknowledged..." well, today it applied to boys and dirt. They will find it. They will play in it.  They will roll, slide, jump and practically eat it.  

They informed me they had found a new clubhouse.  Clubhouses are a dime a dozen around here, so I didn't think much of it until Sadie and I went to see it and I realized it was actually a ginormous mound of fresh dirt in a lot around the corner...

When I left they were naming it and deciding the rules.  Two important things all new clubs must have.
At the end of the day, whats a few dirty bums compared to hours of sheer dirty joy?