Weekend in 318

November 08, 2005

On Sunday morning, the air was cool as we motored down the Red River. Not so cool that you were uncomfortable, but just cool enough to raise a few goose bumps when the sun went behind a cloud. The banks were devoid of houses, so for a couple of hours we had just seen hills, trees, and birds.



The question came from the front of the boat. Loudly.

Mrs. theskinnyonbenny answered more loudly, with annoyance. "YES, I'M CHECKING FOR LOGS."

It was about the eighth time in an hour that she had been asked the same question, and she could hide her irritation no longer.

It happens every time we visit North Louisiana. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny's mother finds some little thing to ask over and over, and makes overly cautious preparations for everything. Sooner or later Mrs. theskinnyonbenny finds it impossible to hide her annoyance.

At this point, I started laughing, but not so much at the two of them. I had just read a quote in a book that said something like, "If you live with Mexicans long enough, you're eventually going to eat beans." The quote was both amusing and timely, and I enjoyed the whole scene very much.

We had driven into the town of Clarence Friday night. I've driven up there a thousand times, and I'm always awestruck about how dark it is once you get out in the country. It's not just that there's zero light, it's that there seems to be negative light. The car headlights get canceled out by the negative light, and die into blackness just feet in front of the car. The bights are better, but they only go out yards before being smothered by the void. Looking out the rear or sides gives no indication whether you are by pastures, lakes, mountains, or just zipping through outer space.

There was a thin sliver of moon this weekend, and Saturday night, a bright planet slid down past it. The brightness from the star was enough to cause a slight shadow of lighter black on the deep dark ground.

Natchitoches is the main town in that area, although it is just a tiny little place, with only the slight charm. Surprisingly, there are two productions going on in town right now: a movie whose name I forget that seems to be a geezer movie, and a pilot for some TV show.

We went by the hospital Friday night on our way to a Mexican restaurant in order to give Mrs. theskinnyonbenny's mother the chance to read an X-ray that was important to someone or other.

Outside of her office, they had a section of hallway screened off with lights and booms and things. While we waited, we wandered over to check it out.

Most of the action was happening around a corner where we couldn't see too well. There was a young girl in jeans, sitting on the floor next to a bunch of equipment. While we looked around, an old woman in a robe and shower cap came around the corner and sat down in a small unused waiting area.

We poked around a little, and at one point got to an area where a guy in a T-shirt that said, "Shitake happens" turned us away.

About the time we got to the area with the screens and equipment, someone around the corner was yelling, "QUIET PLEASE....ALL QUIET." This was an empty hospital on a Friday night. It seemed pretty quiet to me already.

Just as I got bored and turned to walk away, the voice yelled "ROLL SOUND." Someone else around the corner yelled "ROLLING," followed by the girl in the jeans on the floor yelling "ROLLING." Not very high tech, but she was there to start the sound taping.

I got real conscious of my own sound, knowing that the microphone was right next to me. I walked slowly away, and it seemed like the rubber soles of my Tevas squeaked something awful on the hospital's tiled floor.

Just at the point where I got far enough away to breathe again, Mrs. theskinnyonbenny's mother came out of her office. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny was still standing right by the set, but when she heard the door, she forgot all about it. She wheeled around and hollered, "Y'ALL READY?"

The voice around the corner quickly yelled "CUT!"

I laughed about ruining their shot all the to the Mexican restaurant (a full three blocks).

All said, it was one of the most amusing weekends to the north that I've had.