It was a beautiful sunny morning. The green, white, and orange banner atop one of the Emerald Victorian’s turrets floated in a gentle breeze. But Laetitia’s thoughts turned from sun to rain when she read the label on the packet of coffee beans, “Costa Rican Rainforest Blend.” When she walked into the library with a steaming cup of it in hand, she was still thinking of the hundreds of inches of rainfall that fall in Costa Rica every year atop the ridge where the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean air meet. But she needed to plan a tour in Alabama, not Costa Rica.
Fort Payne, Alabama, was the day’s destination. Before going there, Laetitia and her group went to Desoto State Park to hike. Waterfalls and wildflowers are among the lovely natural scenery found in the park. Afterward they went to the Little River Canyon National Preserve close to Fort Payne.
The city of Fort Payne is built on the site of a former Cherokee village. Sequoyah, who invented a writing system for Cherokee language, lived there for a time. In 1830, Major John Payne built a fort there that was used to intern the Cherokees until they were relocated in Oklahoma. The “Trail of Tears” was the name given to this forced exile.
Laetitia’s usual practice was to drop her guests off at their lodging and give them some time to relax before dinner. Then she went someplace, usually to a bar, to write the day’s limerick. She didn’t feel like going to a bar today, so she went to a local park and sat on a bench, where she heard some teenagers talking about two of their friends. In a quirky kind of way, their conversation made her think of her grandmother’s stories about being a college student during the days of in loco parentis, when dormitories were segregated and had house mothers and young ladies had 10:00 p.m. curfews. The present story made her think of in loco parentis with Mother Nature acting as parent.
The cool plan of young Bob from Fort Payne
To make love to Pat in a storm drain
Quite soon was aborted
For, alas, it was thwarted
By a deluge of down-pouring rain.