A Jew in Monroe, Louisiana

This is my first season in Louisiana. I came here in triple digit heat, sweat beading off my arms by just standing outside, an occupant of cold suburban caves and icy cars who was admonished not to roll down windows, driving back and forth along highway 165 transporting a young friend to and from the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo during her summer vacation, discovering the one supermarket in town with decent produce, Brookshires, and their discount basket that frequently contained plastic bags filled with jalapeño peppers that I bought for a dollar, took home, and put into everything including omelettes and chicken noodle dishes. Everything was hot hot hot that first summer with dozens of plastic water bottles standing at attention on the second shelf in the refrigerator waiting to be relieved of their post by any thirsty mouth that happened along; I disregarded any angst about recycling and the dangers of drinking water from polycarbonate containers since my thirst was real, immediate and in need of being extinguished. Green trees and mosquitoes buzzed their business in the dusky night finding my unattended and exposed skin transforming it from a field of well moisturized furrows into welts fertilized by my constant scratching until I assumed the habit of spraying myself with bug repellent for evening bike rides around Bayou Bartholemew where blood hounds have knocked bikers off their seats for the sheer joy of chasing them up the road and in my own defense, employed the two words that I know of dog discouragement (“Bad dog or good doggie”). Discovering drive-by dacquiri windows located at gas stations where a person can order any flavor of shaved ice spiked with somewhat copious amounts of liquor, a straw on the side so the law doesn’t get any wrong idea about drinking and driving at the same time not that a person would consider doing such a thing, exiting a convenience store with a six-pack of beer in a paper bag for the same reason and realizing that breakfasts are without a slice of fruit, an orange, a sprig of parsley anywhere, which does offend my California foodie sensibility, just the serious business of eggs, grits, hash browns, bacon and coffee. Oh, so much to learn. There is no where to buy a challah anywhere. I asked the congregants of B’nai Israel. My sister is sending me the recipe and advises that I should check the Kohl’s ads for a Mix Master.

About Lenore Weiss

Lenore's collections include "Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail" (2011) from Finishing Line Press, “Sh’ma Yis’rael” (2007) from Pudding House Publications, and "Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island" (West End Press, 2012). Her writing has won recognition from Poets&Writers (finalist in California Voices contest) and as a finalist for Pablo Neruda Prize, Nimrod International Journal. The Society for Technical Communication has recognized her work regarding Technical Literacy in the schools. All material is copyrighted on this site and cannot be used without the author's permission.
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