When I was back in the homeland, I took the opportunity to retrieve some old LPs from a hall closet in my childhood home, where for years they'd been sitting, absorbing the smell of cedar.
These are among the buttons on the jukebox of my musical formation -- eclectic selections that once spun on a 1948 Silvertone, that or a 1962 Magnavox. They spin still in my memory . . . and now on a couple of turntables in my Omaha studio.
There's a date on the back of this Jim Reeves album -- 6-9-1962. It seems to be in my mother's uneven hand. She was 12 years younger than I am now, and she lived in a different world. Different worlds, actually.
So did we all then.
THERE'S STILL a price tag from D.H. Holmes on it . . . several of them.
In 1962, D.H. Holmes department store -- D.H. Holmeses to Mama, Irene Reilly and half the people in south Louisiana -- was all that and a Dixie 45. D.H. Holmeses was where we bought our TV sets and records and other cool stuff . . . and, of course, your macaroons and tea cakes.
D.H. Holmeses ain't dere no more. The one on Canal in New Orleans now is a hotel, but Ignatius still waits under the clock in front for his mama. He's a good boy -- not at all like them "gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, anti-Christs, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs and lesbians, all too well protected by graft" that New Orleans is so infamous for.
The big Holmeses in Baton Rouge -- our Holmeses, which still was little in relation to the big, old Holmeses some 80 miles south -- now is a ghost in the middle of what used to be the Bon Marché shopping center, which now is the Bon Carré bidness park.
And if you listen real hard, you can hear the new Jim Reeves album playing in the record department. Close by, Mr. Ruffino is selling a 21-inch Magnavox black-and-white console TV to my old man.
But not the color set. Color television is just a fad.
Might even be communiss. You never know nowadays.