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Archive for January 20th, 2022

After Hereticon ended a week ago today, I flew into New Orleans to visit old friends; since my first visit was scheduled for Friday, I decided to go down to the flea market in the French Quarter to see my friend Solomon, an Ethiopian man whom I’ve been buying Indian dresses from since I was a stripper in the late ’90s.  Due to delays in picking up my rental car I arrived fairly late, after most of the vendors had already packed up and gone for the day; however, since Solomon was a friendly and popular guy who’s been a fixture in the market for over 20 years, I asked one of the few who was left about him.  And when I was told he had died just a few weeks ago, I was unprepared for how very sad I felt.  It’s not like he and I were drinking buddies; I never even knew his last name.  But he always had kind words and compliments for me, and never failed to recognize me; everyone in the market liked him, and for my part I never even considered buying my dresses from anyone else.  And when I heard the sad news, I couldn’t help crying; it was as though a part of New Orleans itself had died.  Perhaps that’s part of why I was so sentimental for the rest of the visit; it did my heart good to hear the local accents, to see the displays of king cakes at the doughnut shop where I bought my breakfast, and even just to drive the streets I once knew so well.  I even took some time to go to a branch of the grocery store chain where Grace and I used to shop, and bought some things that just aren’t available in Washington; of course I had to send them home by priority mail so the TSA couldn’t steal them by belching out the magic word “liquid”.  Later that afternoon, my friend Olivia contributed to the nostalgic mood; when it was time for dinner she said, “I made gumbo; I hope that’s OK.”  Nothing could’ve been better!  Because even though I do love my little farm and all my Seattle friends, and have absolutely no regrets about choosing to relocate, one long root of the tree of my life will always be inextricably embedded in the swampy soil of south Louisiana.

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