Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Goat, Red Beans & Rice, Blues, Rising Moon

One of the wonderful things about my apartment is that it's just one block from the Mississippi River levee, which has a paved bike path atop it. The levee path is also used by walkers, joggers, skaters, and horseback riders.

All I have to do is take my bike out my front door, to the end of the block, across River Road, over the railroad tracks, up the levee--and I'm ready to ride! On the levee, I quickly feel that I'm out in the country, though I'm not really. On one side, the Mississippi River flows along and the occasional boat or barge floats by; on the other side, the narrow River Road twists its way from here to there. I'm in a different world on the levee.

Earlier this summer on a Monday evening, I took the levee bike path to the River Shack Tavern for the Monday special of red beans & rice and a blues singer. So I was expecting the red beans & rice and the blues. Unexpectedly, I also ran into a goat and the rising moon.

GOAT. The most unusual thing about this evening was that I soon encountered a goat. And the goat wasn't on a leash, either. As I rode my bike atop the levee, I noticed a young woman trying to get a goat to obey her. The goat was not obeying. "Come on, Baby--this way now, Baby," the young woman encouraged. Baby had a mind of his (or her?) own, though, and stalled right in the middle of the bike path, forcing me to stop and get off my bike. Baby trotted right on over to check me out. "Hello, Goat," I said tentatively to Baby. "I hope your goat doesn't bite," I said more forcefully to the young woman. "Oh, no, the goat is friendly," she replied. After eyeing me for a few moments, the goat finally trotted off with the woman and I resumed my ride.

RED BEANS & RICE. Red beans & rice is a great Monday special at River Shack Tavern. It comes with sausage or chicken and a salad. I ordered it with sausage and a large iced tea. The sausage was incredibly long. I ate just a fourth of it. River Shack Tavern is quite shack-like. It looks like a dilapidated shack, right there on River Road in the town of Jefferson, just past New Orleans. Inside it's pretty much like a tavern--dim lights, long bar, array of tables, pool table, live music corner. The barstools sit on mannequin-like legs (no two alike--cowboy legs, go-go dancer legs, plaid pants legs), and the tables hold interesting ashtrays, for River Shack is the Home of the Tacky Ashtray.

BLUES. Also on Mondays, Amanda Walker sings the blues, accompanied by herself on an electronic keyboard. Very nice mellow voice. So relaxing. I ate my red beans & rice and listened to Amanda for about an hour.

RISING MOON. Then, as twilight fell, I got back on my bike and rode home atop the Mississippi River levee, just as the moon was rising over the river.

I call this a perfect evening. And it's accessible from my own backyard. The bike path, right at the end of my block, takes me to the river world of the levee top and the funky world of the River Shack Tavern--just a magical bike-ride away.

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