The Observer, Feb. 11 

The Observer has been battling insomnia lately, so we were awake around 1 a.m. last Sunday night when the Winter Event came to Little Rock — first a belt of sleet that sounded like coarse salt being thrown against the windows of the Observatory, then snow that came down as heavy as we've ever seen it in our near-tropical state. For a long time, The Observer stood at the window, watching it fall, filled with the quiet awe of a person who lives in a climate that never quite gets enough snow that we begin to think of it as mud that falls from the sky. After awhile, though, it occurred to us that this was something too beautiful to experience alone.

We thought of Spouse first, love of our life — but then nixed the idea on advice of the angel on our shoulder, who reminded that Our Better Half would likely be going to work the next morning, even if delayed. That left either the cat or Junior. Given that Junior was very likely going to be off school the next day — a prediction that bore itself out before we were even awake the next morning — the burden of memory fell to him.

The Observer roused him, and he staggered to the door in his jammies, wiping sleep from his eyes. We opened the door and then stood there together, looking out at the fat flakes of snow falling through the yellow streetlights, rapidly crowding out the dark pavement and making the sleeping world fresh and new. “I know you're not quite awake,” his father told him, “but try to remember this. It isn't a dream, and you'll want it someday.”

Then he and his old man just stood for awhile, perfectly silent in the warm doorway, watching the street turn white.

A national public opinion survey said that Democrats favored the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl, Republicans the Indianapolis Colts.

Perhaps that's why a Colts fan was nowhere in evidence at the Super Bowl party The Observer attended in Hillcrest, one of the bluest precincts in Arkansas.

But, honestly, how could you not root for the Saints? Forty years of football hard luck against the backdrop of a historically dysfunctional city devastated by a hurricane and abandoned by its federal government at its crisis hour.

But there I go talking politics again.

I'd prefer to talk about the Catholic church in the St. Roch neighborhood where a WWL camera crew was on hand Sunday morning when the priest ripped off his clerical robe to reveal a Saints jersey. He then pulled out a Saints-themed umbrella, the type used in the “second lines” that strut behind jazz bands, then led an impromptu second line up and down the aisles of his church. Most in the congregation came with umbrellas and many wore Saints jerseys to mass, too.

It was funny and it was joyful and it was good. But there was something even better about the picture relayed around the world by YouTube. The big congregation was black and it was white and it was brown and it was many shades in between. They say Sunday is one of the most segregated days of the week, but not at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church.

Who Dat, indeed. And where can we get some of it?

Spotted: The fertile Mr.
and Mrs. Duggar and their cast of thousands were dining at Bruno's Little Italy in Little Rock this week when The Observer happened by. That got us to thinking, what would a typical restaurant bill be for a family of that size? It was hard to tell, and we didn't get an exact count, but let's just say that 15 out of the 21 in the immediate family were in attendance. If everyone ordered spaghetti and meat sauce (one of the cheaper menu items at around $10 each) with a drink (let's say $2), that comes out to around $180. Add a couple of desserts and a tip, which would probably be required anyway with such a large group, and you've got yourself quite a tab there. Over the course of a few years of child-rearin' that could add up! The income from their TV show on TLC might cover it.

We were just there with an old buddy, not a wife and umpteen kids, and that was OK with us.



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