Sunday, March 8, 2015
I did talks and panels at Hammond, La. Regional Arts Center's "Celebrating the Written Word" literary festival over the weekend, which was great. You should go, not just because the people there run a great festival, but because you get to experience charming Hammond. It's a living downtown of funky bars and restaurants and so on. Even the buildings that were not in use (a minority) were full charm assaults. I had no idea, even though I've lived half an hour away for decades.
I might have begged off a panel to go see a movie in the old Ritz theatre.
It reminded me immediately of Keokuk, Ia., the city I was born in but didn't live in. My grandma lived there and when we'd stay there, we'd inverably have to go to the Revall drugs to get a refill on her nitroglycerin. The buildings in Keokuk all had upstairs apartments like those in Hammond do. As a kid, I dreamed of living in one of those apartments. I thought it would be so cool to say I lived above the Rexall, to bound down the stairs to get candy with couch-cushion change.
I double-dog dare you to drink whatever is in this bottle in Rexall's window. Speaking of drinking, all the bars we went to had package liquor setups in them, namely shelves of wine bottles. It's probably how things are where you live, but it's a rare sight here. I like it. Why should one have to endure the harsh flourescent reality of a convenience store or grocery to get your drink on. And since I'm here...
I really wanted to see an adolescent me peer back at me from the apartment over the Mason Lodge. I bet the magic hour light makes cool shadows on the cheap ancient carpet in that living room, even if it puts glare on the TV.
Anyway, check out Hammond! And thanks Hammond Regional Arts Center for a great festival. Check them out, too!