Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pinch the Tail & Suck the Head

The weekend has rolled around a day early here on the Bus. I’ve already left a voice mail to let my boss know that I’ll be out sick Friday.

Several riders on the Bus have let me know that my complaints about work have become all too regular in my daily posts. As you riders are all too aware, I have been working way too much overtime for the past year. As the year end approaches I realized that I haven’t taken any of my allotted sick leave this year. Any unused vacation hours can be rolled over into the new year, but unused sick days are lost. Perhaps I’ll be sick every Friday until Christmas! Besides, I’ve already logged 48 hours from Monday through Thursday.

All of these hours at the plant have left me precious little time to put together something coherent for these pages each night, and for that I apologize. I don’t really plan the posts on the Bus ahead of time. I prefer to find inspiration for each post from my daily encounters. Recently, my job has become a much more prominent part of my daily life and that influence has been reflected in these pages.

Tonight I came home from the plant with the thought of a three day weekend ahead of me. I just knew I could find something unrelated to work as inspiration for this evening’s post. As I walked into the kitchen I was overtaken by the wonderful aroma of a kettle of gumbo on the stove. My wife and daughter had prepared my favorite Louisiana supper: boiled crawfish, gumbo, fresh bread, and a couple of cold beers to wash it all down. I had found the inspiration I needed!

Oscar Doucet and Alius Soileau - Oh Baby!.mp3

Lawrence Walker - Boscoe Stomp.mp3

D.L. Menard - Lacassine Special.mp3

Bruce Daigrepont - Laissez Faire (Let It Be)-Bruce Daigrepont.mp3

If you are not familiar with the phrase, the title of today's post comes from the time honored method of eating crawfish.

Y'all have a good weekend!


Anonymous Richard said...

Ed, mon ami, you done got dem crawfish ready an' now it's time to start eatin' ... I always pinched da tails, but never did suck da heads - that's where the hepatopancreas is found (but mos' o' dem folks what don' be Cajun don' know dat not some at 'tall, non ... ) ... btw, I am from Louisiana (N'Awlins, to be precise), and have hosted and attended many a crawfish 'berl' (as it's pronounced there) in my time ... remember, y' gotta eat the corn and potatoes, too, 'cuz they pick up the spice from the water ... One thing I never got hooked on, tho', is zydeco - if y' heard one piano / fiddle / button accordion group, you've heard 'em all ... back in the '80s, I used to take clients on 'wine 'n dine' tours of the French Quarter, and back then there was a place called 'Hyp Guinle's Paddock Lounge', and they were featuring zydeco 'cuz it was the big deal then (Mulate's was the other location in N'Awlins with z-bands) ... I guess that (and my trips to the Lafayette / New Iberia / Opelousas areas) put me into zydeco overload - but I ain't never done been some overloaded too much so I couldn't eat me at least one mo' crawfish, mais, non ... t'anks fo' a great remember of the place I grew up in but will never see again now that Katrina moved me out and up to Memphis ... now say it with me, won't you ... "Chank-A-Chank!" (dat's from Mulate's) ...

November 15, 2007 11:56 PM  
Blogger kjk said...

interesting, ed. it's the exact opposite at my job. sick days roll over, but you lose whatever vacation you don't take. so i have indeed scheduled every friday off till the new year.

i have been a bit over-stretched of late, and it's great to laze around on this fine friday morning catching back up to the bus. glad you didn't get too far ahead of me!

November 16, 2007 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Dan said...

I'm hungry! Can I come to your house for supper? I'll even bring the beer.

November 16, 2007 7:07 PM  
Anonymous john said...

Keep complaining. It does a body good to vent. Also, it make my retirement seem sweeter.
Our overtime had 4 tiers : 12 hour day, 10 hour day, 10 hours on work assignment only, and no overtime. We picked which list we wanted to be on.
Our sick days would accumulate and count towards pension. I ended up with an extra year tacked on to my time when I retired. Also, we could carry over 240 hours of our vacation each year. So, in theory, a senior man could take up to 11 weeks and 1 days vacation in one year.
Ah yessssss, the beauty of union representation !!!!!!!!

November 16, 2007 8:18 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Your stories of crawfish 'berls' brought back some wonderful memories. For a few years in the early ‘80s the Bus was parked just off hwy 90 in Boutte, LA. That’s where the wife and I learned to cook Cajun, and where my appreciation for Cajun music developed. We still have friends down along the Atchafalaya.
I miss all of the local festivals, especially Lagniappe on the Bayou in Chauvin (one of my favorites.) Our paths may have crossed a time or two at the Festivals Acadiens in Lafayette, or stumbling through the Quarter.

I’m afraid that post-Katrina New Orleans is a national embarrassment.

November 18, 2007 12:15 AM  
Blogger Ed said...


Every Friday off, eh? Sounds good to me. Not a bad idea to use up my sick time!

We used to lose our vacation if we didn’t use it, then they realized that they were working us so much overtime, we didn’t have time to take vacation. Their solution was to let us carry over our vacation rather that giving us a break and letting us enjoy a bit of time off.

November 18, 2007 12:15 AM  
Blogger Ed said...


I'd never turn away a hungry man. Especially one bringing beer!

November 18, 2007 12:18 AM  
Blogger Ed said...


Thanks for putting up with my complaints.

Sick days accumulate toward pension, you say, and allowed to carry over 240 hours? Man, that is “the beauty of union representation.”

November 18, 2007 12:24 AM  
Blogger Jim H. said...


Man, that looks good!

If you haven't read John McPhee's essay called "Atchafalaya," I highly recommend it. It's in his book called The Control of Nature and it is about how the Mississippi is trying very hard to find a shorter route to the Gulf and that route is through the Atchafalaya. The essay is about the geography, the culture, and the politics of the lower Mississippi. It was written pre-Katrina and parts of it are very prescient.

I've only been to New Orleans a couple of times. The meal I remember most was at Toujac's in the French Quarter. Yum!

November 18, 2007 11:55 AM  

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