That summer, Carnal and I went home to New Orleans.
Anyone collecting unemployment knows that you get to know the same people you see every week and it becomes like a family. I met some very interesting people ... like John (who had a language all his own). John apparently was on unemployment for many years and just kept answering those questions right. No one asked him "How did you get unemployment in the first place?" Our conversations went like this ...
Me: "Hey John. How goes it?"
John: "Well ... Went to the Bank yesterday (Blood Bank) ... made a deposit (sold his blood) ... knocked around the hood (spent time at home) ... and did some weed (you know)." John usually passed out about then or threw up in the lobby.
After they met our family .... they had second thoughts.
The wedding parties were lavish ... at country clubs, fine restaraunts and great hotels. There were numerous Arkansas family friends who generously hosted parties every night for a solid week. My mom and her loud cousins managed to create havoc at every one of them. The bride's family was genteel and soft spoken, like there was a fresh breeze in the room ... my family was crazy (literally) and loud, like a grenade was thrown in the room.
There was one unfortunate tragedy at the wedding.
My cousin Rose ... a well known artist in New Orleans ... who was in her 80s, had become depressed in recent years. She told everyone on the dancefloor at the wedding that she would never dance again. That night, she swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills. That was her fifth attempt and the first successful one. She died in her sleep.
Esther never got over it.
She said that she hated it when Rose got all the attention.