Making Gumbo

Archive for the 'Lagniappe: Something Extra' Category

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Installment 3: Something That Didn’t Happen

Ro-bear is having nightmares.

Ironhorse is troubled.

After school, Ironhorse startles Ro-bear when he says, “… I have a memory of something that didn’t happen.”  He almost demands that Ro-bear speak to his grandfather, Raphael Malveaux, who is himself a mystery. Why?  Papa Raphael is healer; a creole shaman who heals and, if asked, tells people about their future. Ironhorse wants to meet Papa Raphael.

Ro-bear is reluctant and so is Ro-bear’s mother, the daughter of Monsieur Raphael Malveaux. Yet some force is at work; moving everyone to play their unexpected part on this stage.

At school, Sister Edward Vincent has Ro-bear and his classmates working through and learning their parts from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen…” Ro-bear is to be Brutus and Ro-bear is starting to sense that Brutus is not an honorable man. Kool-Aid is a marvel as Casca. And something important is happening between Ironhorse and Delores, through their parts.

With Installment 3, the story of “The Seven” continues: Installment 3 Something that didn’t happen


posted by Rupert  |   10:26 AM  |   0 comments
Thursday, July 02, 2020

Installment 2: Something That Didn’t Happen

We are thrust into Ro-bears witness of the story of “The Seven.” The story told in the manuscript is the centerpiece of this novella; a story within the story.  Written by the teenaged Ro-bear, but a repressed memory of the adult Ro-bear, the “story within the story” is an account of what happens in the lives of “The Seven”; seven black teenagers who are called to a supernatural battle which will determine the direction of civil rights history.

In the “story within the story,” we start with “The Return of Ironhorse.” We step into an alternate history of America where there had been no Civil Rights Act of 1964 and there are actual, giant physical walls of racial segregation. We enter that world through

Ro-bear’s life in Opelousas as a student at Holy Ghost Catholic High School. We begin to meet Ro-bear’s friends; “The Seven.” We experience Ro-bear’s puzzlement at Ironhorse’s sudden reappearance at the school bringing odd questions. We meet the nuns who teach at the school, especially Sister Edward Vincent their English teacher who assigns Ro-bear’s class Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. And then there’s Mr. T’Garcon; a man who hunts gators.

With Installment 2, the story of “The Seven” continues: Installment 2 Something that didn’t happen

posted by Rupert  |   9:00 AM  |   0 comments
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Installment 1: Something That Didn’t Happen

“He had a memory of something that didn’t happen.”

“Something That Didn’t Happen” is a social-justice-fantasy novella about how together, friendship, a song, literature, an elder, and hope kept Civil Rights history moving forward in time.

Ro-bear travels back to his childhood home of Opelousas, Louisiana to try to recover and understand a memory of a mysterious event from his high school years.

Back at home in Opelousas, Ro-bear must confront his old classmate Soothsayer and the event that occurred in 1960’s Louisiana. In this installment, pushed by his old classmate Soothsayer into an unwanted encounter with Delores’ son, Ro-bear decides he must relive that event through a manuscript that is a record of all that happened.

Here the story of “The Seven” begins: Installment 1 Something that didn’t happen

posted by Rupert  |   9:23 PM  |   0 comments
Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Ghosts of the Yellow Dog: A Poetic Homage to August Wilson and his Piano Lesson

They rises up

fierce and strong.

They rises up

‘cause it’s been too long.

They rises up

‘cause nobody sings the song

of that terrible wrong.


When they comes back

it’s always at night.

When they comes back

it ain’t for no Halloween fright.

When they comes back

it’s to take away

one of those who stood by

and let them burn like hay.


Yeah you see

when those klu kluxers set that boxcar on fire

some colored mens was locked in thar.

I know some says that stories as flat as a tire.

But I got no reason to give you a scare.

I’m gone tell the truth.

It’s the only way to be fair.


You could hear ‘em…

oh… yes you could.

First just-a banging on that doe…

Then they started to scream and yell.

Sounded awful,

just awful, I’m here to tell.


That fire set off a high bright light.

And the rest of the white people came to see the sight.

But not one would help,

not even when they heard them men yelp.

This was sumpen’ evil,

sumpen’ straight out of hell.

Nobodied even ring the fire bell.


So now…

now they come; yes they do.

And when they come

there’s always a sound

You might think it was a train whistle

Or the howl of a hound.


But oh lord…

when they rises from that bog,

they comes through

a smoky yellow fog.

And all I know…

all I know…

is that it’s the ghosts of the yellow dog.


Published in The Blotter Magazine, November 2018

posted by Rupert  |   12:25 PM  |   0 comments
Friday, April 02, 2010

A Disturbance In The Force

“A Disturbance in the Force” is the title of Chapter 4 of my memoir “Making Gumbo in the University.” In that chapter I describe a ten-minute presentation I gave at the DOD World Wide Equal Opportunity Conference. The hook of the talk is that I gave it using a Star-Wars Theme. “There is a great disturbance in the force,” is the first line. Unorthodox as it was, at the end the mostly military audience went wild. Here is the video of that talk.

posted by Rupert  |   10:19 PM  |   0 comments
Friday, November 20, 2009

Interview: The State Of Things

On November 3, 2009 I was interviewed by Frank Stasio on “The State of Things”. That show is on the North Carolina Public Radio station WUNC. I was very impressed with the people running the show; Lindsay Thomas (Producer) and Frank (host). All the others I met there were impressive, but those are the two people I had the most contact with. Frank was an energetic, warm and engaging host.

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posted by Rupert  |   9:56 PM  |   2 comments
Monday, September 14, 2009

Lagniappe: Something Extra

Lagniappe is a Creole-Cajun thing. That’s why Louisiana recipes can be a problem. Even when there is a recipe we always add, “…a little something extra.” That’s lagniappe. And that is what you will find in this section of the website; just a little something extra.

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posted by Rupert  |   9:58 PM  |   0 comments