lundi, décembre 15, 2003

Saturday afternoon I was headed back to town after my trip to the marsh earlier that day. On either side of the road were rice fields. Off to the north west I saw what at first appeared to be smoke, but after a moment it became obvious that it was not smoke that I was looking at but a large flock of blackbirds. I took a turn off the highway to get a closer look at the birds.

They were everywhere and making quite a racket. I clapped my hands and thousands of birds lifted into the air and began to fly a short distance away.

The blackbirds bring back fond memories for me. My first hunting trips were with my dad and other men who also had small kids. We would ride around the rice farms looking for large flocks of blackbirds. When we found some, the men would sneak up on them and all at once the men would start blasting away with their shotguns. I was only a small child and it was my job to run into the field and gather up the dead and dying birds. I thought this was great fun, especially chasing after the wounded birds.

I always loved blackbird hunting, but I haven't done it in years. Of course blackbirds are not very big, so my dad had to kill a bunch of them to make a meal for our family of six. I need to find some land where I can bring my young sons and let them have the experience that I remember so fondly.

When I got older and received my prized pellet gun (along with my brothers) then our prey changed. My brothers and I (along with all our friends) spent countless afternoons hunting robins, which was illegal of course, but it is a very old Cajun hunting tradition. My 83 year old grandfather assured me that he too hunted this delectable red breasted bird when he was a child.

Robins are much larger than blackbirds, so it takes less of them to make a good meal. My two brothers and I supplied the family with many a winter meal back then. Robin breast cooked in onion gravy and placed over rice is a wonderful treat. (I think that the law should changed. If it were not for young Cajun boys with pellet guns the world would be over run by these birds :-)

Coram Deo,

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