Sunday, June 19, 2011

~Editilla Notellas~We missed posting yesterday, and posted little today, because we're getting into the dirty nitty gritty of restoring Editilla's House of Piety. I commute now from Memphis to Nola in 2-week work trips. It's gotten hard, and is getting complicated as we move into the guts of the house. While I had NO INTENTION of getting into something like this, a total gutting restoration, it seems well and fitting to go for it, smooth to the fine.My father gave me this house in a way, as he was gracious enough to include me in the succession of the family farm ---much to my honest and great surprise! Really. It's a long story, perchance even a book, but suffice to say I expected Nothing.
He'd tied up loose ends, come to me more than once. Pop and I were settled.
My father passed away at sunrise on July 11th, 2009. He was 80.
I loved him very very much.
One of the last cogent talks I had with Pop was from a pay phone in the French Market, during the Flood'05, I think the day or so after the Produce Company had exploded atop a 200 year old toxic waste dump a few blocks from my studio, and sometime after I had fought another man in the dark dark with a two foot long sword. It is hard to say what day it was, but it was so hot.
Dog Flora and I were aimlessly wandering into the Quarters to get away from the acrid smell of poison which still blanketed the hood like a rat bag.
Nearly everyone we knew had gone by then.
It is hard to describe the bleakness. It was just hard.
No cell phone towers within a hundred miles yet these old pay phones that Huey P Long installed still worked. So, Editilla phoned home. After getting the rest of the screaming family off the phones, I began to broach the issue with my father of my last wishes etc. It took a second, since Pop was still under the impression that "this can't be happening in America".. that people wearing a uniform meant something and I just needed to go find them and get out of there.. that our country, his country.. well whateva... we were left to die. I knew this. Many there knew this.
About that moment a NOPD car drove by full of BlackWater Mercenaries, all the windows gone with their little rifles sticking out, ball caps on jar heads... I really remember the tiny sunglasses when they looked Directly At Me. They too knew this.
"No, Pop. America doesn't DO uniforms any longer," I said.
So, I needed to get my affairs in order. No more 2nd chances.
"No, Pop, I'm not leaving dog Flora. She is all I have left."
Pop of course disagreed with that sentiment, all of it --and wasn't having any of it. "OK THEN, You get your Goddamn Dog on the Goddamn Levee and go North and we'll find you!" said R.L. Biles.
I broke down.. "Yes sir," said his son, and got my ass in gear.
Alas, his youngest, the straggler, the errant troubadour, I could not face my father until he came and found me, still armed, in Memphis, 4 months later.
He had a massive stroke the following April, yet was allowed 3 years to say goodbye to his children, 6 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.
A Ramblin'wreck from Georgia Tech and a Hell of an Engineer,
both Civil and Electrical, 17th in his class, Lt. Col. USAF Ret,
Formidable Nemesis of the Corps of Engineers, to wit:
"Son there is Nothing more dangerous than a lying engineer,
because then all you have left is the word of a liar."
Planter, Maker, Science Fiction fan, Dog Lover,
Master of Sarcasm and Ruthless Wit,
Protector of the Sunflower River,
Son of the Mississippi Delta,
Richard Leonidas Biles Jr.