The G.P. has been in deep summer hibernation for going on six months now. I know we’ll venture outside in daylight again, in November maybe. But it’s got me thinking that some sort of split-season gal-pal arrangement may be in order – a Proserpina to my Pluto, or a Princess Summerfall Winterspring to my Chief Thunderthud. Cowabonga, kids, I do like this idea!
So I went alone, which also turned out to be a good idea because my sentimental journey to Henderson Point and other long-ago haunts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast left me so despondent that I was unfit for anybody’s company, including my own.
Ah, Henderson Point! It was the scene of many Sunday picnics and smooch sessions during that wonderfully free and prosperous period in the late 1980s remembered as “My Happy Bachelor Days” – between marriages, before kids, in love with love as a constant state. I drove a convertible in those days, a 1970 Olds Cutlass Supreme, red with white leatherette interiors, and a big V-8 that still had compression to spare. Magic wheels to the magic spot with the top down and mellow old school R&B on the radio – Anita Baker, DeBarge, the Delfonics – only then it wasn’t “old school.”
I was curious to see how the Point had changed over the years, especially since Katrina. I parked the Honda CR-V (how the mighty have fallen!) and strolled down the beach. The stately Murphy Oil Company family compound had been swept away and not rebuilt. I can’t say I blame them. With their millions, the Murphy heirs could build park themselves on any beach anywhere they wanted from the Lido to La Jolla. Wouldn’t you?
There used to be a breakwater made of huge concrete culverts that one luscious former picnic date called “The Noodles.” It had been beaten down to a thin line of rubble. With heavy heart, I began to feel the passage of time in geologic terms as well as my brief span of life. I suddenly remembered that I left my lights on (I didn’t) and beat it back to the car – after all of 15 minutes on the Point.
I took Highway 90 back to the city. I wanted more time to brood and to feel the pleasant click-click-clackity-click slap under your tires as you cross the small bridges Huey P. Long built on the many-fingered Pearl River delta. That was fun. I also wanted to check out the funky little camps along Lake Catherine and Lake Borgne, with their amusing and often off-color place names. But they were pretty much gone too, gone with “The Passing Wind.”