My wife and I have four children. We're Cajuns and Live in SW Louisiana. We're conservative Christians and hold to the Reformed Faith. -- I'm a first generation Protestant, and my wife is second generation protestant.
This morning I went and picked up a tux for a Mardi Gras ball that Lisa and I are going to tomorrow night. After picking up the tux I went to visit my grandfather. It is always a joy to visit with him.
His name is Adam (pronounced ah-dahm) and he is old. When he passes away my link to the old Cajun world will die with him. Pawpaw, like his generation, grew up knowing little English. French was his first and only language as a child. Even my mom could not speak English before she started school.
I love to sit and talk to my grandfather. He is full of stories of his child hood. He has a strong old Cajun accent and often he has to stop because he can not think of how to say something in English. He will then revert to French, most of the time I can follow these short excursions. But like most Cajuns of my generation, I speak very little French. I find it very sad that here in South Louisiana, our native Cajun language is almost dead.
Pawpaw has told me many stories from his childhood and young adult years. Most of them I have heard a number of times, but they're always worth hearing again. He's a good story teller, even in his broken English.
Pawpaw, like his father before him (and so many others back then) was a sharecropper. He is a man of the soil, and even now at eighty-three he maintains a garden year around. We have a pattern to our visits. I will sit in a chair next to him and we talk about some current events and family matters. I then ask about old things and listen as he tells his stories.
After a good conversation, I tell him that I need to leave and stand up. He has a bad hip and it hurts him to stand, but he always insists on standing even though I tell him not to. His answer is “I have to get up some times.” We then go outside. He then invites me to look at his garden with him, so instead of leaving I go with him on a tour of the garden and fruit trees. This always takes a minimum of thirty minutes, and I usually leave with something to plant in my own yard. This morning he gave me a Japanese plum tree. I will plant it this afternoon.
We look at each crop, discuss how it is doing and if it is not doing well discuss the reasons for this. Today we looked at the sweet potatoes he dug up this morning. They were mostly small and we talked about why that was so. Next we looked and the mustard greens and cabbages. And on and on.
These times spent with Pawpaw are threads of gold in my life’s tapestry. He is a wonderful man and I love him dearly.