Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Scorched Feelings

Scorchy Tawes is a legend. I wish I would have known him.

In watching WBOC's tribute to a man who could find the brilliance in the everyday, I discovered something. I've been trying to pin down a feeling I've been having since the storms, and Scorchy's story finally nailed it. One of his long-time co-workers theorized that his time spent abroad during WWII made him the consummate storyteller that everyone knew, because when he came back to his hometown he was a different person than when he left. One of the people, but with the eyes of an outsider.

That's the feeling I get when I return to Cameron. It's where I grew up, but I couldn't really appreciate it until I left. Being away allowed me to return with a wider vision. I could see more of the beauty of a Cameron Parish sunset, setting fire to the marsh, as the sun touched the western horizon. The peaceful shushing of the waves on the beach, mingled with the drone of boat engines, straining against the current and the drag of heavy nets, filling with gulf shrimp. Most importantly I can better understand what it means to be a resident of Cameron Parish, a people who represent everything that makes the United States of America great.

Some of them have been knocked down twice in their lives, but they just pick up the pieces, put their lives back together, and continue. Most enjoy the simple pleasures of life: family, food, football, and friendship. Hunting and fishing come as naturally as breathing, and I can't think of anywhere in the country where a person can live for one year and not have to drive more that an hour to enjoy fresh- and saltwater fishing, duck and goose hunting, deer, rabbit, squirrel, and alligator hunting, along with the best chance to see rare migratory birds and all of the above mentioned fauna in a huge exhibit.

Even though Scorchy lived his life on the upper east side of the nation, I think he would have enjoyed a visit to this little corner of the world. I know I do.

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