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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Elaine -Part 3

This is the third in a series of four posts about my dear friend, Elaine Hughes.  To read from the beginning, click here.

Once, in New Orleans, when we were walking Elaine home to her little slave cabin on St. Peter’s Street, she stopped and told me how much she loved my earrings.  They were dreamcatchers that my friend Shirley made for me.  I took them off and gave them to her.  Taking out her own pair and donning mine, she said, “Now they are truly yours.  Nothing is really yours until you give it away." 
We entered through a locked gate and walked down a narrow alley between two houses and found ourselves in a courtyard dating back to before the Louisiana Purchase.  There were ferns and other tropical plants, and yes, there was a fish pond with Koi.  The floor was made of the original stones laid down by slaves.  It is the kind of place I would have imagined Elaine to be a part of.  
The cabin itself was as tiny as Elaine, and it was covered with treasures.  There were bright paintings on the walls, most of them floral.  A violet and yellow scarf was tossed cross the arm of the sofa that was crowded with vibrant pillows.  Her little kitchen was to the right, and there was a spiral stairway up to her room and bath.  Clint had to stoop way over to negotiate the stairs, and still he nearly hit is head.  Her bedroom was lined with books and literary magazines, her bed dressed with linen and lace of a creamy peach color, her dressing table littered with cosmetics.  The walls were the palest of pale blues.  The room radiated with peace and serenity.
That night we ate at The Blue Pelican, and it seemed as though every patron there knew our Elaine.  She was met and greeted with hugs and kisses all around.  Afterward, we strolled around the Quarter, and on the corner of Bourbon and Dauphine, she stopped in her tracks and announced that before we could part for the evening, we had to go to Antoine’s for crêpes and champagne!  So we did.
I think of that trip as one of the most wonderful times of my life.  It was then that Elaine bullied me into signing up for the next year’s Faulkner Festival, now a much bigger event called Words and Music.  When I whined that I didn’t have any material good enough to submit, she sniffed, “Well, then, attend a couple of poetry classes, take a short fiction class.  Just go! 

© 2011 cj Schlottman

To  go the Part 4, click here.


Linda @ A La Carte said...

I am enjoying your tale of Elaine. I had friends who lived in the quarter and one had place that sounds like Elaines...I often dreamed of having that kind of tiny space but all mine and just 'me'!

Katie Gates said...

I've caught up on the Elaine story and look forward to the next installment. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, cj!

Martha Mawson said...

I can't say more than I've already said - you are so lucky to have someone who is the walking definition of "joie de vivre" in your life. Love from this side of the pond.