The Marks Post: “|t’s not November”
Two years ago today, I decided to go meet some friends for the Mardi Gras parades in Lafayette. I am normally opposed to such Mardi Gras parades because what they represent. The affluent Bourgeoisie ride in floats while throwing cheap plastic beads and other trinkets to the proletariat who are standing on both sides of the road. It is just another way of appeasing the masses and keeping them from grabbing torches and pitchforks. I guess this is just the Marxist side of the family coming out of me.
All references to The Communist Manifesto aside, it was honestly not a bad setup because we were invited to a block party at an office off of Johnston Street. We got to hang out there during the day while going back-and-forth to watch the parades.
At some point during the afternoon, somebody told us Keith Frank was playing that night at Scandals. Being that he was playing at 7:00 that night, we decided we would go check him out. The plan was for us to stay for about an hour before leaving to go back home because we all had to go back to work the next morning. On top of that, I was giving ashes at 6:30 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart and had a health screening for work in Opelousas. At the time, I was still working at the clerk’s office, and it was part of our insurance.
Meanwhile back at Scandals, Keith Frank did not start playing until 8:30 that night. We still do not know what the hold up was, but I know one thing. It was the longest sound check ever, or, at least, it felt like it.
We stayed about an hour before deciding to leave. As we were walking out, I got a phone call about how our former chief deputy J.L. Brignac had gotten into an accident earlier that day. He was on his way home from his birthday party and lost control of his vehicle.
After we left Scandals, somebody had the idea to go eat at the new Waffle House on Kaliste Saloom. It was a great idea at the time. Now, not so much. I think just about all of us ordered the breakfast bowls which were a heart attack in a bowl, but, boy, it was good.
I did not get home until midnight, and, five hours later, I had to wake up to get ready for Mass. I managed to make it through Mass, even though I probably gave some people crooked crosses on their foreheads.
Liz Saucier from the clerk’s office then picked me up at church after Mass for us to go take our health screenings. On the way is when I called J.L.’s brother-in-law “Swabby” to get more news from the night before.
We got to Opelousas, and I was convinced I was going to fail the health test. I remember I kept making bad jokes about running on lack of sleep and just eating at Waffle House a few hours before. I was sure my cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, and everything else were going to be high.
When it was my turn to go behind the curtain, they tethered me to the EKG and/or EEG machine. I was then poked, prodded, and had the ultrasound thing jammed deep into my neck. At least I left there in Liz’s car and not on a gurney in the back of an ambulance.
Liz and I got back to work, and I had to hurry up and get to court because our chief deputy Patreace McGee was taking my place for revocations. Thus ended the marathon 48-hours.
To finish the story about J.L., the following weekend was when he took a turn for the worst. He ultimately died from his injuries. I already wrote a column at the time of his death about our relationship, but I’ll say here that he was a mentor for me at the clerk’s office and had become like a family member.
After the rosary, “Swabby” gave the eulogy and asked for people to share their favorite J.L. stories because everybody had some. J.L.’s sister Janice and a few other people wanted to share some stories because we were so close. I was so choked up at the time, so I did not share any story. Plus, all the ones going through my head at the time involved J.L. using a few of his choice cuss words.
Some time passed, and I thought of a story that I could have told. I am going to end this column with it.
Every year, J.L. got two wall calendars from Louisiana Land Bank. He would hang the one with the deer on it in the office and would hang the one with the ducks on it at his house. Then he would rotate them every year.
I walked into the office one year on October 1 and saw that J.L. had not torn the month of September off the calendar yet. So, I went ahead and ripped it off. He then walked into the office and, not realizing I had already done so, ripped off October. He crumpled up the sheet of paper in his hands and then realized what had happened. He started stuttering and then blurted out, “It’s not November!”
He uncrumpled the sheet and taped it back to the calendar. I never changed the calendar again at the office.