Have you ever taken a trip down memory lane? I don’t know about you but my trips are far more romantic in nature than the reality ever was. Everything is remembered through rose-colored glasses. The house was bigger, the trees were taller, the colors were brighter and of course the people were younger. However, when I have had the opportunity to actually stop by the place remembered, it turns out that memories are usually a far cry from reality.
My Dad grew up on the bayou with his Parents and three brothers and five sisters. He and my Mom met in highschool, married and moved to the city. I grew up a city girl, but I spent plenty of time on the bayou.
One of my Uncles and his family lived on the bayou when I was growing up. It was a wide meandering slow-moving bayou surrounded by swampy marshland, two lakes and a river. I spent plenty of time with my cousins along the banks of that bayou; fishing, crabbing and playing.
The old house was sandwiched between the bayou and the railroad tracks. The house had a screened in porch and was tall enough for someone to walk under. During the summer months we slept with the windows open and I would lay awake listening to the lonesome sound of the train whistle and the splash of the fish on the water.
At night the swamp would come alive with the sounds of nocturnal critters moving around and the glowing red eyes of the gators as they searched for their evening meal. And sometimes I would scare myself thinking about what else might be lurking out there in the swamp.
Recently, I was in NOLA for an extended weekend. My husband and I decided to take a little detour from our route just to see what we might see. I could hardly believe that it had been 20 years since my last visit to this place where I spent a wonderful part of my childhood.
My cousins still own the house but now it is referred to as “The Camp”. The house is much smaller than I remember. The only person that might be able to walk under it would be a two-year old and the screened porch has been enclosed.
The bayou seems much more narrow and not nearly as mysterious as I remember it. There are twice as many homes or camps on the bayou these days. I noticed that the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has taken up residence in the area. And I couldn’t help but also notice that there were several homes and camps that were destroyed by the most recent hurricanes. But life on the bayou continues today much as it did all those years ago when I was a little girl living, laughing and loving my time spent on the bayou.
It was quite, not too much happening on this particularly hot August afternoon. The place was incredibly peaceful not a soul in sight. There wasn’t a breeze to be had and the water on the bayou was as smooth as glass. And although it doesn’t look very much like I remember it…it sure was a sight to see!