Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Glorious Culture Walk

Journal Entry March 27, 2010:Coinage = $3.42, 172 pennies, 7 nickels, 11 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles spotted, bent for, carried and canned = 17; Ground scores = 9; Favorite coinage finds = several curb scatters found during “detours”.

Journal Entry 3/28/10: Weight = 171.0lbs (still in quest of those elusive 160s); Coinage = $4.29 171 pennies (one wheat), 4 nickels, 13 dimes, 4 quarters (all the money spots delivered); Glass bottles = 16; Ground scores = 11.

Feature Entry: The Glorious Culture Walk

The MoneyWalker is usually so focused on spotting coins that he is oblivious to one of the glorious aspects of walking—participating in and observing the culture of our place, in my case the great neighborhoods of Mid-City New Orleans. This past Saturday provided a rare late afternoon walk. Suddenly breaking through was the unmistakable percussion of New Orleans Jazz. The sound was too poignant to be ignored. It was a porch wedding reception in one of the gorgeous homes of New Orleans. The men in their tuxedos, the women dressed to the nines in their wedding spring-inspired gowns, azaleas in full bloom, the beaming groom, the radiant bride all combined to tempt the MoneyWalker to stop and crash the party.

Anthony Trollope’s great Victorian fiction stories defined a different culture walk, the walk of discovery. From the MacDermots of BallyCloran, Chapter One “Ballycloran House as First Seen by the Author), page one, Trollope defined a similar house that had fallen on bad times:
“Now, in such a situation, to take a walk is all the brightest man can do, and the dullest always does the same. There is a find of gratification in seeing what one has never seen before, be it ever so little worth seeing; and the gratification is the greater if the chances be that one will never see it again. Now Drumsna stands on a bend in the Shannon; the street leads down to a bridge, passing over which one finds oneself in the Count Roscommon; and the road runs by the well-wooded demesne of Sir G..; moreover there is a beautiful little hill from the demesne, river, bridge, and village can all be seen; and what farther agreements than these could be wanted to make a pretty walk? …. Presently the fragments of a bridge present themselves…About thirty feet from the gap a tall fir had half fallen, and lay across the road, so that a man should stoop to walk under it. … Well, I walked up the deserted avenue, and very shortly found myself in front of the house. Oh, what a picture of misery, .. of premature decay.”

Trollope crept in, nearly fell into the wine cellar through rotted first floor timbers, and then marveled on the long ago spender that had given away to the harsh elements of nature. Such had been the case of the Mid-City mansion some years earlier before someone with deep pockets and perseverance restored the wedding site to its former splendor.

Then, as well as now, the walker is favored that allows him or herself to be invigorated by the culture that provides backdrops for the daily walk. All of our neighborhoods provide amazing sights, sounds, smells, and vistas, all edited by the people, the best feature of all. We MoneyWalkers must be careful not to lose sight of our own personal savannah—the glorious culture of our neighborhood.


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