How's Bayou? Tuesday's child
On Tuesday, November 19, 1946, at 6:23 p.m., I arrived, kicking and screaming, into this world -- so it seems appropriate that almost 65 years later, as I sit on the screened porch at Madewood perusing my Medicare and Social Security documents by the dawn's early light, that How's Bayou?, my weekly column for NolaVie, is moving from Thursday to Tuesday on Nolavie's eclectic menu of eccentricities.
Mother, a high-octane newspaper-equipment executive at the time -- known to her Latin American clients as La Mujer del Norte (the woman from the north), had stayed at her desk till the last possible moment, exiting her office with an imperative to her Spanish-language seccretary: Let everyone in Tegucigalpa know I'm sure it's a boy.
She didn't know Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's, but her hasty exit to Southern Baptist Hospital on Napoleon Avenue echoed his business ethic: "Creativity is a highfalutin' word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday." Work before pleasure . . . if childbirth, the ultimate exercise in creativity, can be so described.
Two years later, presaging the Women's Movement that lay several decades ahead, an interview with "La Mujer" in a Latin-American newspaper proclaimed in the headline, above a photo of Mother in a fancy hat with one of those fur shoulder wraps where the fox's mouth opens and closes to secure the garment, Dama logra armonizar vidas de negocios y familia -- making mother perhaps the first acknowledged supermom to successfully juggle career and family.
But how has it gone, this being Tuesday's Child? The poem proclaims that "Tuesday's Child is full of grace," but I can barely come up with a good one at Thanksgiving. I am good at making a graceful exit when things go wrong -- just ask Millie about the party in an Uptown mansion after she'd written about its owner's use of Federal funds for restoration. And I do believe in grace, ultimately, above good works. Or is that just being lazy?
And how did that day of the week become Tuesday, a strange name by any account? Winnie the Pooh pretty much had the final word on Tuesday:
"You can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY," he proclaimed, "even if he doesn't spell it right; but spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count."
In Spanish-speaking countries, Tuesday is Martes -- named for Mars, Roman god of war; and there, Tuesday the Thirteenth -- not Friday -- is considered particularly unlucky.
"En trece y martes, ni te cases ni te embarques," Mother's secretary would caution: On Tuesday the Thirteenth, don't marry or leave the house.
Some linguists claim that our Anglo-Teutonic heritage yielded the word Tuesday, as a Germanic god of war was named Tiu.
And as if Greeks didn't have enough problems just now, they hold any Tuesday an unlucky (default?) day, as the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans, which effectively ended the Byzantine Empire, occurred on a Tuesday in 1453.
But for me, and Madewood, Tuesday, as in, "Let's see what's on sale at Tuesday Morning," has been very lucky.
Several years ago, the manager of one of the New Orleans stores spent Halloween at Madewood. She knew the firescreen in the Master Suite looked familiar, but it was only when I recognized her at dinner that she remembered selling it to me months before.
Lists of superstitions are rife with admonitions regarding Tuesdays, so for those of you planning a trip to Spain, remember that any month starting on a Thursday will have a Tuesday the Thirteenth, and any ordinary, non-leap, year beginning on a Monday will have three Tuesdays the Thirteenth.
F'true -- because, to quote another superstition, "If a lizard makes a sound when you make a statement, it indicates that what you said is true," and the one that Madam Clio is chasing on the other side of the porch just did.
But I've got to run. My palm's starting to itch, and, as everyone knows, that means the arrivals of guests.
Plus, it's Tuesday.
How's Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now juggles his time between Dixie Art Supplies in New Orleans and Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.
How’s Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.