MY BEST SHOT
Wings of color
Siyuan Le, Baltimore
In mid-September, I took this picture in the Butterfly House at the Hershey Gardens in Pennsylvania. At this outdoor butterfly house, hundreds of butterflies with brilliant colors and unique patterns fly freely around the wonderful garden. This is truly a remarkable, colorful kingdom.
MY FAVORITE PLACE
At home -- in New Orleans
Cybelle Churches Pomeroy
Special to the Sun
My husband says I can't be homesick for a place I've never lived. I don't know about that, but my mother (the English major) says that if it isn't homesickness I'm feeling, there isn't a word for it. I miss New Orleans dreadfully. Passionately, even. I want to go home. No, I'm more like Dorothy, safe in Kansas, wishing for Oz.
The natives smile as you walk around gawking at live oaks draped with Spanish moss, real working streetcars, sidewalks that have the street names on a little tile set into the corners -- obviously you're a tourist. Don't all cities have these things? You must be from a backward sort of place, their smiles say.
I remember as a child being given a few coins and my little sister's hand. We would walk down the street and around the corner to wait for the streetcar. We'd look at the stuccoed houses, the rooftops covered with terra-cotta flowerpots cut in half, and the blue and white tiles in the sidewalks -- we were being careful, in deference to our mother's continued good health, not to step on any cracks, as well as keeping track of what street we were on.
We waited on the green grassy strip for the trolley, my sister and I, paid our fares and sat down on the polished wooden benches. We looked at the brass fittings, the advertisements, the scenery, the other people. We got off at the stop we'd been told to, crossed the tracks and waited on the other side for a streetcar that would take us back again the way we came.
Sometimes the driver would smile at us, and we would be dazzled by the gleam of white teeth in his shiny black face. We would walk slowly as we returned, enjoying the rich, musty, earthy smell that is peculiar to New Orleans. And don't tell me it's swamp; Florida doesn't smell like that -- I know, I've been to Florida.
When we had arrived at Grandmother's house again, we would have a snack -- a Pepperidge Farm cookie or two, and milk. I was permitted to have a few spoonfuls of drip-brewed coffee in mine. As we grew older, the ratio of coffee to milk gradually increased until I was drinking cafe au lait from Grandmother's blue Wedgwood cups. Even now, I can't smell chicory coffee without thinking of New Orleans, though I drip-brew it for myself at home in Baltimore. I am, for an instant, transported to the Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter, powdered sugar from deep-fried beignets on my chin and shirt front.
It has been 10 years since I was in New Orleans. My husband and I honeymooned there. We sat in that cafe watching people feeding pigeons in Jackson Square as a street performer sang "What a Wonderful World." In New Orleans, it certainly is. It certainly is.
Cybelle Churches Pomeroy lives in Baltimore.
JUST BACK FROM...
"Merida has the finest Roman ruins in Spain. Our favorite, the Teatro Romano, was able to hold 6,000 people. This beautiful theater and adjacent amphitheater took our breath away. After thousands of years, the detail is amazing. Tip: When seeing Spain by car, eat lunch on the road during 'siesta' time when everything is closed. A fresh-baked roll, some lovely Spanish ham, olives and fruit fortified us for evening sightseeing in a new town before an early dinner, by Spanish standards, at 9 p.m."
"On our first trip to West Africa, our guide arranged for us to travel by bus into the northern part of Cote d'Ivoire. The ride was, in a word, challenging. We arrived at the village of Khohogo late in the evening and were weary. However, once we saw that the entire village had waited up to welcome us, we felt immediately rejuvenated. This evening alone made the entire trip worthwhile."