“For the storms of life, your comfort and your salvation lie with the Lord God. Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven. For the storms of Bay St. Louis, buy your cypress storm shutters at Chauvin’s Lumberyard.” I’ve been nailing boards all morning in preparation. God, I’m getting old I thought as I sank. My easy chair gasped as I settled to rest for a moment before I go to the post office. I nodded and the old Chauvin lumberyard sign bubbled up from the depths of long buried memories in a vision.
It was on Beach Boulevard at the foot of the bridge that crossed the Bay. As children, the sign was our marker. Momma allowed us to go only as far as the sign on our bikes. The sign was ancient, and like Bay St. Louis, bleached by the sun and salt air, and battered by the eternal storms that are a part of Gulf Coast life. It leaned badly, and the two wooden posts that held it seemed ready to give out at any moment. How it stayed there all those years anchored in nothing but sand, I never understood. Yet, by an act of faith, it hung on year after year. Stubborn. Determined to be our guidepost. It was a special marker for me. Countless days I rode to the old sign and turned left onto Ulman Avenue to hear the beautiful piano music emanating from a home just off the beach. Miss Betty Lee Meacham practiced piano every day in the front room of her house. That was my refuge.
Once, Sonny, my older brother, asked Daddy what the words on the sign meant.
“Buy insurance,” he said.
Of course, it was inevitable that the salt air and storms would have their way with our sign, and after a couple more winters, our demarcation was lost to the elements. Six months later a new sign was in its place.
When the spirit is weak, the Lord God will give you strength; when the flesh is weak, get your rubber, leather, whips, masks and chains from Madame LaFife's S&M Boutique.
I asked him one time, "What do the words on the sign mean, Daddy?"
He cleared his throat and thought for a while. "Invest in bonds," he said.
Opening: Luke.....Continuation: ril