A Weekend at Oak Alley with J and M… continued
|The mansion and oaks -- stunning.|
I woke with a start in the middle of the night to a mysterious creak coming from the next room. The living eyes of the child’s portrait -- dusted in the sick yellow glow of a nearby security light -- hung over my bed and glared down on me. I shivered. The fractured images of the dozens of people that must’ve died on the grounds over the estate’s long life flickered through my mind. I heard another creak. My palms sweated. My heart raced against an inexplicable mounting fear.
|The child's photo over my bed.|
The truth? J’s bed was incredibly squeaky and it caused me to giggle like a child at a sleepover every time she adjusted herself under the covers. And… it was crazy cold! I think our first night in Cottage 6 might’ve been the coldest January night in Valcherie, LA (sound familiar). As you may recall, we did have central heat and air, but M wasn’t getting out of bed to crank up the thermostat at 3am. Brr.
A few hours later, as daylight broke, I heard another creak, a frantic rustle of fabric, and a low groan. I peered around the door to spy J, shuffling off to the kitchen with a sheet over her head and mumbling something that sounded a bit like, “Goffeeeee...”
That was my only undead sighting of the Pea-treat.
J wakes early for a voodoo-doll-wielding-vampire.
We followed through with our plans to tour the mansion. Off to breakfast we ambled -- knowing more coffee (ie: liquid life) awaited us at the cafe. We were seated near a few tables of excited travelers, snowbirds from the north, and J and I did what we do best. We eavesdropped while noshing on our eggs and crispy bacon
|Old typewriting in Cottage 6 -- fitting|
Having consumed a lovely broccoli cheese soup and sandwiches, which we cobbled together in our cottage kitchen, J set up her voodoo dolls and laptop at the bar. I settled onto the couch where I promptly emailed J -- formally requesting her participation in an interview for Court Street Literary Collective. (grin) “Really?” she said to me, unamused.
By late afternoon we’d consumed liters of tea and coffee, and were in need of an outing. Out the door we went -- but this time I had my fancy camera in tow. We wandering the grounds until after the tours closed for the night, snapping dozens of photos. Only the two of us and one other passive-aggressive photographer -- who we couldn’t decide whether he followed us because he wanted us to leave or he was frightened to be alone but too shy to say as much. Either way, the miraculous method in which he juggled his large camera whilst talking on his mobile will forever be remembered and may, or may not, be recorded for all time as a character trait in some future story.
|Sunset reflections in a sugar kettle at Oak Alley|
It was a crisis averted, until I sat down with my fish and inhaled its Panko crust into my lungs. The sting of fresh burnt Japanese breadcrumbs raked against my organ walls with each breath I took and I realized it was time to lick my wounds, curl under the covers, and call it a night. The fish was determined to get me one-way or another. I was convinced. Before the lights switched off, J said to me, “Maybe we need to go back to the gift shop and buy you one of those health warding voodoo dolls...”
|One of the newer oaks by twilight.|
Tomorrow, one final installment of One Pea short of a Pod and my love affair with old trees exposed. I promise... it's almost over. I've fallen into a mire of gluttonous overwriting. It can't possibly last much longer. Better here than my manuscript. (grin)
Then, on our next featured Tuesday, Alexis will be a Pea in the Pages with some suggested reading and perhaps a review or two. She's been mad reading these days and I can't wait to see what books she's had her nose tucked into.