Off to the Big Easy

23 02 2012

The drive to New Orleans was fun. We rented a car at the new Panama City airport and departed on a gorgeous January day. A new year beginning with longtime friends reuniting on a trip across the Gulf Coast.

Bjork didn’t have an American driver’s license so I handled the chores and was glad to be behind the wheel of a new Chevy Cruze. Like most seasoned travelers, Bjork was eager to check a few more states off his bucket list. This trip would be his first venture into Alabama and he joked that a new controversial immigration law the state had recently instituted might place us in danger.

I doubt those lawmakers had Brits in mind when they crafted this legislation. Nevertheless, we skirted across the Alabama coastline, stopping briefly at a “welcome center” to use the facilities and study some the of historical images plastered across its walls.

Bjork was fascinated by the civil rights struggles of the Deep South and the antebellum traditions that still remained entrenched across Dixie. In New Orleans, we toured some of the landmarks, cemeteries and museums that contained those stories as well as some of the more modern aspects  of Southern life.

On our first night in the Big Easy, we dined at a very upscale French restaurant. Bjork made the reservations in advance and I donned a jacket for the special occasion. It had been a while since I had been in such a nice restaurant and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We talked a lot about my future, the frustration of my extended unemployment and desire to relocate.

Bjork has always been a good listener. I wonder sometimes if I shouldn’t have snapped him up a decade ago when I had the chance. I could be living in London now, living the ex-pat life with the intellectual elite crowd.

“David seems like a really great guy,” Bjork said, moving the conversation to what I did have.

“Yes he is,” I replied. “He has saved my life.”

“In what way?” Bjork asked.

“He has rebuilt me,” I said. “And he has brought me closer to God.”

For some thinkers this admission would have opened a whole debate about religion and the very existence of a higher power. Bjork didn’t go that route, however, and for good reason, I suspect. He had recently had a book published about the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe and confessed he was a spiritual person.

“The Lord works in mysterious ways,” I said. Bjork grinned and sipped on his glass of wine. It was one of those moments.

After dinner we rode the streetcar back to a boutique hotel in the garden district, where we bedded down for the evening. Along the way, I received a familiar text message from David.

“I love you” it read.

It was just what I needed to keep the allure of Bourbon Street at bay. I went to sleep that night happy to be traveling again with a dear friend and comforted to know I had a hero waiting for me at home.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

2 responses

29 02 2012
Don Harris

Glad you had fun in New Orleans. I’ve never been there. Frank has, a couple of times; once years ago, and once since we’ve been together, but before the big flood. I couldn’t tell from your blog whether this was you first trip (if you said, I must have missed it). If not, has it changed a lot since the flood?

14 03 2012
pcbjohnnymac

Been to NOLA many times, Don. It has changed a lot since Hurricane Katrina. The destruction is still quite evident, but the city has come a long way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: