Here is an excerpt
from The Private Collection. Could such images come to life?
I love to drive on
the river roads instead of using the new super highways. I used to imagine
moving back to the house where my Cajun ancestors once lived on the
river in the village called Union. I dreamed of flying kites on the
levee with all the friends who would come to visit. I thought of having
a lufa farm and planting a swamp garden on the batture of the river.
That was before the river took away the bather, and the land was sold
to pay my mother's gambling debts.
I went to stay in
Union when my grandmother was dying. I often remember a dream from that
time. A voice was speaking. It was soothing and drifted like the heat
waves of that drowsy August afternoon. The voice made a promise. If
I would follow its message, there would be a painless transcendence.
I awoke in a cold sweat, afraid I might find this voice so enticing
that I would just drift away like the thick, heavy river currents which
passed by as I slept. I am sure this voice lives on the river, just
like the spirits of my ancestors.
I picture my great,
great aunt who was the champion harmonica player. She used to dance
with her herd of goats on a rusty river barge that was tied up on the
batcher across from the house. Shaded from the sun by her homemade parasol,
she would play strange melodies to her captive audience. Sometimes I
imagine that my great-grand mother Odile, accompanied by my great-grand
father Octave, come to haunt intruders. As the levee falls into blackness
against the glaring yellow sky, these gentle souls appear just near
the twisted silhouette of the ancient pecan trees. They start to gather
savory nuts for brown sugar pralines just as they did so long ago. When
the mist begins to rise from the soggy earth, their ghostly forms break
away from the darkness into silvery, white shadows. Sometimes, especially
when the intruders are lovers, this mischievous duo will move to the
crest of the levee, reciting French verbs as foggy ships cautiously
drift by--bellowing their horns with outraged approval.