Friday, February 08, 2008

Getting To The Root Of The Matter

In order to give you a sense of appreciation for what I'm about to share, it will be important for you to have at least a bare minimum history lesson concerning the history of the Cajun people.

For the record, I am NOT a cajun. But I married one. I was warned that if I stay in Mississippi long enough it would happen. At the time, I tossed my head and laughed. After all, I knew better than to marry a man who lived in the swamp and ate crawdads:

But, fooled by his distinguished appearance and his lack of thick cajun brouge, I fell head first into a lasting love that has proven to be the best relationship of my life. [Thank you, Lord!]

Let me continue, on topic. The Cajun people are really Acadian people: French individuals who bailed during the reign of some monarch [Gee, Gil will love my recollection on that tidbit!] and ended up in Nova Scotia.

Whilst in Nova Scotia, they were driven out by yet another land and power hungry group. Hopping on boats, this exiled bunch made it down the eastern seaboard, around into the Gulf of Mexico, wherein they found and settled the nether regions of the swamplands of Louisiana.

The Acadians then set about adapting themselves to the countryside. And adapt they did. With thier brouge dialect, and shellfish eating ways, their swamp houses and alligator companions, most folk wanted nothing to do with them. So, a unique and separated people they became, finally free from oppression. Minus, of course, the oppression of excessive heat and humidity and a few mosquitos so large that they have their own zip code.

Yes, these people were now counted as people of the United States of America. And every ten year census that rolled by marked them, not as Acadians, or Cajun's, as the heavy tounge would land the word upon a foriegn ear, but Caucasians. A white settler that had joined the melting pot ~ lost to their ethnicity except in lifestyle.

Rewind this tale back to the marriage of Gil and Angi: Cajun snags Beauty. Together they determine to carry on the historical lineage of the family. They have a baby. Gil discovers his heartsong. He sings? He sings. Egads. Who knew?

And so it was that last night, as I puttered about a task that Gil played with the baby, and created a new song. Spurred on by his Cousin Wanda's recent reminder that language is the most important learning endeavor for a baby, he began expanding his circle of words. This came out in such phrases as: "The baby is wearing a shirt with a tiger on it! The shirt is blue, with three buttons!" and so on. Finally, the finale`: "Keller, you are a caucasian baby! A caucasian baby! Caucasian!"

A long pause.

"Keller, you are a Cau-Cajun baby!"

A Cau-Cajun baby, indeed.



Joyce said...

He sings?


Kris said...

I suddenly feel so edu-ma-cated!

And I'm hungry for some low country boil!


A singing comedian!

Doug said...

Get that baby a Saints shirt and put on some Zydeco and make a big Gumbo!!

Karen said...

Loved your explanation of your marriage - "Cajun snags Beauty...." Laughed out loud and almost choked on my water! Yup, that's Angi's talk.....

Loved it all -

But, being from New England and all, just what ARE Crawdads?????

(Do I really want to know????)

Sodini's said...

So Cau-cajun baby,
Would you ask your uncle Doug over there if we might have some jumbalaya with that gumbo, please?

Doug said...

To Karen from New England:

Before the Cajuns made an Exodus out of Nova Scotia the lobster was a big part of Cajun life. Cajuns loved lobsters. Likewise, the lobsters loved the cajuns. The lobsters loved the Cajuns so much that they followed the Cajuns as they migrated to s.Louisiana. The trip took its toll on the lobsters however and by the time they made it to Louisiana the once 5 to 12 lb lobsters had shrunk down to a miniature version of their former selves and today we call them crawdads today. And so the mutual love of the Cajun and the lobster/crawdad remains.......So everytime you eat a lobster up there in New England....remember the Cajun/Crawdad love story.

Karen said...

Thanks for the explanation, Doug!

Since I'm not really a lobster-lover, I'll probably steer clear of the crawdads too - but now I have a much better understanding of just what "y'all" like to eat!

And I vote with Angi - you're doing a great job commenting on her blog - how about starting one up of your own?

Next time I'm down, I'll look forward to meeting you - (without the Crawdads, of course!)

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