By Dinah Landry
I have heard the saying “if you live in the past you will never move forward”, and I agree. However, you don’t have to live in the past but you don’t have to forget your past either. Some of my most wonderful memories are in the past. And I know you feel the same way. My office was located on Marshall Street (the main street in Cameron). From my office I could smell the salt water of the Gulf of Mexico, feel the cool breeze as it wondered through the town and hear the chatter of the senior citizens in the next room as they prepared for bingo, pokeno, a game of cards or just a slice of cake and coffee!
Around ten o’clock we used to go to the post office to pick up the mail from P.O. Box 421, Cameron LA 70631. As you walked into the post office, there would be a line of folks heading out with their mail, most of them reading it before they left. Everyone said “hello or good morning”, many stopped to talk and ask how the garden was coming along or commenting about the growth of someone’s children!
If you hung around the post office for a few minutes, you picked up on the latest happenings in the area. You see, we did not have Facebook to find out details, we had “face to face” Then we went by the bank (we had two of them) to make our deposits and were met with “hello, how are you today” which led to more chit chat. As I parked in my parking space back at the office, I smiled at the thoughts going through my head and the friendly folks I had just encountered.
The morning work brought more people to the office for assistance and to the senior center for fun. At noon, we would begin to ask the age-old question “where are we going to eat today”. We never went out to eat, but ordered and someone picked it up. Would it be a steak sandwich or crispy fried chicken from Pat’s Restaurant, an old-fashioned plate lunch from Brown’s, a wonderful hotdog with chili from Cameron Food Mart, or a sandwich and salad from Subway? If it was Wednesday, we ate with the Lions Club in various restaurants! We gathered to handle business, help folks with eyeglasses and enjoy each other’s company.
In the evenings after work, there were gyms and recreation centers, baseball and basketball games, swimming in the community pools during the summer, and many other activities we enjoyed. We stayed outside until the mosquitos drove us inside! And as we prepared for rest, we looked out our windows at the setting sun over the oak trees and wondered how God could have designed such beauty in our little town.
Weekends were filled with beach goers, fishing, bird watching, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and church. Families got together for lunch, supper and visiting. Everyone cooked in large pots, most of the time the cooking was done outside in big kettles. Families were large and included cousins, aunts and uncles and friends. The menu ranged from fried chicken to gumbo to jambayla. And there were always good desserts (my favorite), all homemade!
Children knew their relatives because they played with them at least once a week or more. Adults caught up on the latest news and smiles were everywhere.
It is good to remember, we can’t live in the past but we can keep the past alive with good memories. What is your favorite smell? Mine is fresh cut grass and horses. What is a smell you haven’t had in a while? The smells associated with a boat, the fuel smell, the salt water smell, the smell of the seafood on the culling board, is a smell I have not been privy to in a long time.