I learned one of my favorite words—lagniappe–when I lived in New Orleans in the early 1980s. It’s a French-Louisiana-Cajun noun that means “a little something extra,” a bonus, a gift. I first heard it over a very large platter of very large, just-shelled oysters, a bountiful lagniappe for residents and visitors to the most exotic city in America, where everything around me seemed different and new, and at the same time, very old and utterly charming.
And so I fell in love with the word, a “nice, limber, expressive word,” Mark Twain once said, “worth traveling to New Orleans to get.” And because I had a word for the thing itself, I began seeing just how astonishingly full of lagniappe our world is, not just in NOLA but everywhere. How abundantly, how generously the earth serves itself up to us, if we’re not too busy or too bothered or too complacent to notice.
And so, as I considered what we might do together over at Place & Thyme, I thought we might enjoying sharing some lagniappe every month. Probably not fresh oysters (sorry), but something else—a favorite snatch of poetry, a favorite craft, garden photos, recipes and cookery stuff, bits of our writing, maybe even a “fitter Twitter,” as one Substacker calls it. We won’t know exactly how this works until we start playing with Substack’s “Chat” forum, available to subscribers online or in your Substack phone app. We’ll have to figure it out. But I’m eager to try, and eager to learn, and eager to see where this takes us. So I’m scheduling a date for this: the fifth Monday of the month (if there is one). Or if there isn’t, toward the end of the last week of the month.
In the meantime, here’s a bit of lagniappe, a photo of my current cross stitch WIP, started in Feb 2022. I know it looks nearly finished, just that little patch in the far lower right to fill in. But if you look closely, you can see that there’s plenty of sky yet to complete–left until last because white gets dirty fast. Plus, I’ve done my usual sloppy job and need to go back and fill in a lot of empty holes. Which won’t be nearly as much fun as working on those quilts in the foreground, of course. I didn’t like the way the chart interpreted Charles Wysocki’s painting, so I improvised on the quilts. Here’s how he painted that third quilt (smaller photo). That bit just didn’t translate well to cross stitch, so I took the matter into my own hands, so to speak. Love the way it turned out!
A bit of housekeeping. Last week, I uploaded my mail lists to Substack: everybody who is subscribed to the blogs here on WordPress or through Constant Contact. If you are on one of these lists, you’ve been auto-subscribed to Place & Thyme and should have received a “welcome” email. If you’re just visiting here or are not sure whether or not you’re subscribed, you can take care of that here. All subscribers (free/paid) will receive the first post, All About Thyme (the regular herbal monthly newsletter), on Monday, Aug. 7. It will also be cross-posted here, as will the usual LifeScapes post.
Your turn. Do you have suggestions for topics you’d like to explore or things you’d like to see us try out over at Substack? Ideas welcome! And thank you for being part of our Place & Thyme community. This has been in the works for a while. I’m so excited to see that it’s finally about to happen!