“This heat is just disrespectful” I can still hear a former coworker say in the back if my head, as the end of July arrives and August looms near. This week we find #haveboomboxwilltravel at the Tabasco factory headquarters and property on Avery Island, LA. Part historical monument to the McIlhenny family’s legacy, part production line for the many flavors of Tabasco sauces you know/love as well as part conservation area for a large group of water fowl; the land is meticulously maintained and is a dreamy display of picturesque landscapes that draw you in.
A personal favorite of the self guided tour was a giant tree that flashes memories of a cartoon I watched growing up entitled “Fern Gully”. It’s size easily dwarfs all around it, as it greets you near a path to a small walk around multiple ponds and swampland. Along the walk, I was met on a rural path by some Louisiana wildlife; however the snake and I both went our opposite ways at rather equally rapid paces. That experience solidified my personal Fitbit step goals that day.
When I was young, I remember a great deal of spice affecting me. I could keep up with some of the spicier salsas that are offered regularly in Texas Homes. However, the older I have become, the more temperamental my digestive system. I’m all for flavor, but will pass on the ghost pepper and “burn off your tongue” varieties of hot sauce. Most recently, I have really enjoyed the more mild Green Tabasco sauce which is a wonderful tangy kick when you need one.
When I was 18, I followed what I thought was my heart to a Summer Camp in Central Texas to work as a counselor. Ultimately, I was dating someone who also applied to work at the camp and thought it would be a good way to spend my summer. While I found a passion for working with the population that the camp served longer lasting than the viability of the teenage relationship. Summer Camp counseling taught me about responsibility, camaraderie and finding fun in every situation.
One of the ways that we built camaraderie was by making sometimes arbitrary dares. I was once dared to take a few tablespoons of Tabasco on an empty stomach before a lunchtime meal. The dare caused a change in the pH inside of my stomach, and so I was really feeling it when it came to a post dinner camp game night of the classic “make the counselors eat weird things.” I was assigned a boiled egg, in whatever context of the game and the gastrointestinal saint’s really were looking out for me. My pH balanced out and I was able to see another day and other informal wagers.
The track this week is “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)” as performed by the legendary Fats Domino. Domino was by all means a personality around the New Orleans area. Especially as Fats aged, he chose to stay around New Orleans in the Lower 9th Ward. He was known to have written the first Rock-and-Roll record to achieve a general level of success in “The Fat Man”. Fats would drive around in his pink Cadillac and jazz band cap. While he passed in 2017, New Orleans honored the music legend on November 1st of that year with a declaration and a second line; fitting for someone who was dedicated to reminding the world about New Orleans at nearly every turn.
Some weeks, I want to know how to wrap up these posts. This week, I am leaving it on the field. And I sure have worked up an appetite.
Go see Avery Island. Arrive early, stay late. Enjoy New Orleans. And knock around with the great soundtrack that legends like Fats Domino provide.