As you may or may not know. I was somewhat inconvenienced by Hurricane Harvey. Due to a series of unfortunate incidents, I found myself moving from downtown Lake Charles, three minutes from work, to living at Big Lake. It's a much longer drive to say the least, but that's not really a problem. The real problem is that one must learn how to live in Big Lake.

The first thing I learned about was the pontoon bridges. You have no idea how busy the Intercoastal Waterway can be. I'll say this for whomever is operating the drawbridge: They don't get in a hurry. Even after the last boat has passed, they wait forever to re-lower the bridge (is "re-lower" even a word?).

Luckily, I work with a woman who lives in that area and she told me what all the horn blows mean and she introduced me to an app that let's me plan my route to and from work. If you live around that area and you don't know about Ship Finder, you should check it out. With one look, you can tell if the bridge is going to be open or closed.

As a city kid, I also have to get used to the noises. The first night I was in the lake house, a herd of cows across the road were vocalizing like crazy. Now, I've heard cows, but one of these cows was not at all happy and, from time to time, will let out a cry that is just plain kind of eerie. Granted, there is nothing eerie about a cow, but this cow doesn't moo. He bellows. It was the cows, but another sound that kind of spooked me one night.

I was stuck at the pontoon bridge on 384 when I heard an odd sound. Now, if you've ever been stuck at one of the bridges, you know how incredibly dark it is on that road. Not only is it dark, but when you are stopped for the bridge, you are supposed to turn your headlights off. Well, as any idiot (me, for example) can tell you that if you turn off your headlights, it's going to be pitch dark; and so it was this particular night.

There I sat in the dark, not knowing how much longer the bridge would be up when I heard a spooky sound from one of the ditches by my car. I don't know if I can describe the sound,but in my mind it was exactly the sound I would expect an alligator to make. I kept waiting for some behemoth critter to come crawling up out of the ditch looking for someone who doesn't know their way around to have for dinner. I never saw what was making the noise and I'm pretty sure I don't want to.

Lastly I've learned that the old Boy Scout motto of "Be Prepared" is the key to living in Big Lake. When it gets to be about 8 or 9 at night, if you need anything, you will have to drive all the way to Lake Charles to get it. I haven't made my trip to Brown's yet, but it's on my list of places to frequent. The bottom line is that, even if you think you don't need anything it's a good idea to stop at Brown's or Boone's Corner just to make sure.

The hardest part is life without cable. Heck, I've grown addicted to TCM and the Weather Channel, but no such luck here. A few of the locals tell me there is no cable service out there. I was a bit upset when I heard this news, but in a few days, I was good with not watching TV. Heck, just sitting on the porch of that lakehouse is therapeutic.

If you have any tips on living in the country for a city boy, let me know. I'm really excited. Some of the guys in the area have told me that they can teach me about the area and this weekend, they've agreed to let me go along on a snipe hunt. I can't wait.

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