• by John Doucet

They say that here in PoV country we don’t have real seasons—that the leaves on our trees go from green to brown and fallen with only a few moments, if we’re lucky, of red and yellow in between. People in Vermont, however, claim to enjoy their postcard-ready multi-color autumns with leaves s…

  • by John Doucet

In the past seven weeks, we’ve survived the three major holidays of the year. I call them “the Big Three”: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. And on each of those days, we’ve probably all prepared large meat items in our kitchens—a turkey or a ham or a beef roast or something more exot…

  • by John Doucet

When I was a kid, we always had a calendar hanging from a nail on a wall in the kitchen.  Mostly, the calendars were large posters that showed a country scene, or a religious painting, or a shrimp boat with its great, raised trawls docked alongside the bayou.  Always, the calendar was printe…

  • By John Doucet

In one of your many trips down cosmetics aisles in supermarkets, have you ever wondered why so many products are packaged as if a little of the ocean lay beneath their labels? Besides, of course, the company called “Sea Breeze” and all its products, there’s Suave, Zest, Gillette, and Renuzit…

  • John Doucet

Of all the stories my grandpa told me, there’s one story that I remember every year at this particular time. It’s the story of him and his family and their evacuation from Leeville during the great hurricane of 1915.

  • John Doucet

One afternoon as a kid, I remember watching an animated holiday special. It was the story of Hank, a machinist from Hartford, Connecticut, who, following an accidental bump on the head, finds himself in 523 A.D., the time of King Arthur. Because his clothes and behaviors and words are so str…

  • John Doucet

July, as you may have already noticed, is summer—time for a vacation to more cool latitudes.  But, like the toy surprise in Cracker Jack, every time I book a hotel room I wonder what I’m gonna get. Some hotels are so aware of this metaphorical conundrum that they actually offer bags of popco…

  • John Doucet

It was frightening day when I learned about postage. Not only did I come to realize that my previous letters had been eaten by those brass-mouthed slots at hotels and post offices, but also the learning was traumatic. Before taking her bills to the post office in advance of due dates as she …

  • by John Doucet

Here in PoV country, May inevitably reminds us of many things: crawfish by-the-sack, lovebugs by-the-swarm, and pis-en-lis by-the-side-of-the-road. Like the rest of the country, we are also reminded of the end of school years and summer travel. This May, I’m reminded of all the little summer…

  • John Doucet

They say that fast food is bad for you. By “bad for you” they mean that it’s bad to sit in a car and non-aerobically drive up to a window to buy non-lean beef processed by some double-secret chemistry and deep fried starchy potatoes soaked in a triple-secret coating. Jogging instead of drivi…

  • John Doucet

From the mouth of babes, it’s the thought that counts. Remember that saying? Of course you don’t. It’s a mash-up of two separate sentiments, one from “The Bible” and one from “The Regifter’s Book of Party Jokes”. But it’s a good way to explain (or excuse) the way young kids respond during gi…

  • John Doucet

So, there I was preparing for a nice, after-Christmas dinner at a fine restaurant, pondering what changes I could make in the new year to improve my life. You may have done the same thing.  In fact, people have been making resolutions for ages. Babylonians made new year promises to return wh…

  • John Doucet

Everyone in PoV land has likely seen “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” that stop-motion animated television show with lots of awkwardly-moving reindeer and elves, a prospector named Yukon Cornelius, a Shaq-proportioned abominable snowman, and Burl Ives. Over the years, I must have watched it…

  • John Doucet

Scientists have demonstrated that the one of our five senses most closely tied to memory is smell. And if the smell is unpleasant, it is even more likely to be remembered. This phenomenon probably helped our ancient ancestors survive by learning to avoid rotting or otherwise funky foods, as …

  • By John Doucet

Recently, I found myself visiting an old Cajun couple on the front porch of their home. After about three hours of conversation, the old man suddenly started talking in English and asked me, “Mais, why we got fingernails?”

  • By John Doucet

Ah, August. Every year in the Northern Hemisphere it hits like an oven. Even in Alaska and Upper Canada, polar bears make nude beaches out of the tundra’s residual melts. Nearer to the equator, the rise of warm air from hot oceans fuels cyclones, causing rises in consumption of batteries and…

  • By John Doucet

My grandparents idolized FDR. Hanging in the living room of their bayouside house in Golden Meadow, they kept a framed print of the bespectacled President looking upwards and smiling with a long, ivory cigarette holder clenched in his teeth. When I’d walk to their house from the little groce…

  • By John Doucet

You know how in a barbershop or a doctor’s office lobby or in that place where you wait when you’re getting your oil changed that there’s a bunch of old magazines and old books? Sometimes, if the place anticipates that you’ve got kids and your sitter is getting her oil changed, then they mig…

  • By John Doucet

I have vivid childhood memories of my papère cleaning fish. One day out in the back shed, he had an assortment of fresh-smelling fish on the tabletop. He would sharpen his special knife against a file and then proceed to surgically remove perfect filets for Maw-Maw either to fry or pack unde…

  • By John Doucet

Forget “Union, Justice, Confidence.” I think the new state motto should be “Waiting for Winter.” It’s February already, the solstice is over a month past, and I’m still waiting. I’m talking about weather that’ll put a freeze on wet canals, that’ll make breath condense to fog right out of mou…

  • By John Doucet

During the holidays, I undertook a bit of travelling. Not the hectic, stand-in-line, empty-your-pockets, take-off-your-shoes-and-belt and sit-in-a-sardine-can-with-wings type of travel, but rather the kind that’s taken more slowly and deliberately. I found myself driving – or sometimes being…

  • By John Doucet

December issues of magazines are filled with pages upon pages of words and pictures focused on the major holiday of the month. No, I’m not talking about the day you finally throw out late-November turkey leftovers from your refrigerator. I’m talking about that late-December holiday that’s so…

  • By John Doucet

Just as it’s been for many of you, it’s been a frustrating NFL season for me. It seems that whenever the Saints struggle, my motivation to watch any professional football game also struggles. And so, to keep my interest in the game, I decided one Sunday last month to phone Commissioner Roger…

  • By John Doucet

October is here, and it looks like we’re headed for an Indian summer. Most people call it “Indian summer” simply when autumn weather is warmer than usual. But, technically, Indian summers occur in November after a hard frost. Some books say the term originated in early New England, when sett…

  • By John Doucet

I had a thing for school buses. For a long time, too. I don’t know the precise circumstances of my birth, but I’d guess that I was delivered in a room in Dr. Sherman’s office in Golden Meadow along La. Highway 1 near a window the very moment a school bus was passing. Like many newborns follo…

  • By John Doucet

Ever find yourself at a regular sit-down place and get the feeling that something’s not right? You look suspiciously at the walls and servers, but for now they all seem OK. Then you scan the table beneath your palms: artificial woodgrain with a few rogue grains of salt here and there. And th…

  • By John Doucet

I recently watched the Academy Award-nominated film, “The Imitation Game.” It’s the story of Alan Turing, the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. During World War II, Turing developed a decryption computer to break the secret code the Nazis were using to secure their wire…

  • By John Doucet

Driving down the road and seeing your hometown’s buildings after many years is like walking through a museum — except that the museum is really big and outside. And you’re driving. And the museum exhibits have changed, except in your memory. And except that the little old lady at the turnsti…