Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Gumbo: What Other People Know

Gumbo is a piece of my history. Though I've never learned to make it myself, I love to listen to people talk about it and love to read stories about the people who know how to make it. As Leah Chase from New Orleans and the owner of Dooky Chase Restaurant says, gumbo is just a mixture of all the things you know and all the things the people before you knew. Since I'm a cajun who doesn't know how to make gumbo, I accept that I don't know too much, so here are a few things other people know.

"I look at life, honey, and everything you do should be a learning experience. I learned a lot of things working for this lady in her—in a little boarding house from cleaning up a house. You learn about people and there's nothing—no product more important than human beings. I don't care who they are; there's nothing in the world more important than human beings. And you learn about those people. You take some things that you can use, and then things you think you can't use or your mother wouldn't allow you to use, you don't take. And that's how you grow and that's how things should be with people's lives. That's what I'm trying to tell young people today. They're moving and they're moving good, and I'm proud of those who can move. But are you stopping to help somebody else? Are you stopping to see how you can make another person feel his worth?" Leah Chase

" Yet we must always remember that as our country, in these changing times finds immense new challenges and opportunities, whatever work we do, whatever goals we have – and no matter how these may change in this changing world – ultimately without peace, security and happiness we have nothing. That is the essence of the philosophy of Gross National Happiness. Our most important goal is the peace and happiness of our people and the security and sovereignty of the nation." King of Bhutan

'Chasing the Rising Sun' is a book about the travels to find the origin of the song House of the Rising Sun. It looks like it could make those that love folk, jazz, blues, and the deep south happy.

'Changes' by Seu Jorge of Brrrrrrazzilll

In 1909 22 year old Alice Ramsey gathered her husband's two sisters and another friend and set out on a road trip, becoming the first woman to drive cross country. I find it curious why people set off to accomplish certain things like this. As I was reading her story, I found several other stories of women throughout the last 100 years who have set off to recreate her long journey.

"Route finding was tricky, especially after the women crossed the Missouri River. Maps were incomplete. There were no road signs. Directions in guidebooks often read as such: “Turn left at the red barn with the yellow house,” which worked as long as the farmer had not repainted the home blue, which happened in one instance. Often, Ramsey navigated by following telegraph lines or railroad tracks. Roads turned into wagon trails and what Ramsey calls “mere horse trails” in Wyoming. Though Ramsey referred to Salt Lake City as a highlight of the trip, road conditions were still primitive there."

Stumbling across youtube videos of a friend's band is funny. I met Tim while traveling through Poland almost exactly 5 years ago, in the Fall of 2004. Tim is from Boston though has lived in Poland for 6 years or so. 2004 was a very special Fall for Tim as well as our friend Bo (the only republican in the group of 12 travelers). We all cheered for Tim the morning after that World Series and we all drank ourselves passed out the night Bo celebrated November 4, 2004. Tim is the dude in the brown sweater and white sunglasses. He once tried to start a fight with a bunch of Polish guys in an effort to defend my honor (He may be the only boy to ever do that). What he thought was my honor anyway. After realizing that he had simply misunderstood an already hostile situation, we quickly made it to the next bar and no one got punched.

I think my cousin and I have the same laugh. We definitely don't have the same singing voice though.

"You learn from everybody; you take a little bit from everybody and that way—and that's what I have done. So nobody becomes—no one person becomes my role model. I may look at these people across the street from me and I look at them and I said, “You know look at that; that's pretty smart what they're doing. I can do that. I can learn to do that.” And then everybody becomes your role model because you take what's good from everybody. You take whatever good they have, you take it and you—you move on it, and that becomes your role model. And I think people should do that—pay more attention to other people. You might think a person has nothing to offer, the way he looks. He might look—but if you talk to him long enough, you will find that he can offer you something." Leah Chase sure knows a lot. It's probably the gumbo.

Happy Sunday
Renee Claire

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