Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bon Temps

Took the weekend off and brought my wife and little girl to the KBON radio listener appreciation party in Rayne this weekend. The weather was short sleeve cool and not a cloud in the sky. There were numerous Cajun and Zydeco bands performing on stage,
fresh gratons popping in grease, and beaucoup Cajun food vendors. One was even serving a rib-eye steak ettouffe.

Did I mention that my wife was volunteering at the beer booth?

It don’t get much better than that.

I arrived early enough to have a brunch of hot gratons and Budweiser beer. They were serving the beer ice cold, in those petite 10oz cans. I worked up quite a thirst jogging back to the beer booth every time I drained one of those little cans.

Man, the cracklins were fried perfectly – cooked all the way thru but not burnt tasting on the outside. They were seasoned with a light sprinkling of salt like the old folks used to do when I was a kid. I do savor cracklins spiced up with a Cajun
or Creole seasoning mix like most stores do these days, but these simple salted ones took me back to my Papa and Grandma’s boucheries.

My daughter and I finished the whole bag of them, wiped our hands on my pants and danced a few waltzes and 2-steps. She’s only four, so I had to hoist and carry her while we cut the rug. I got a good work out - and quite a thirst as well.

She really liked the Pine Leaf Boys. I am pretty sure they were her favorite band. I enjoyed them as well. Those young musicians’ version of the Pine Grove Blues was the high point of our weekend.

We made a quick run to visit my hard at work wife. I am sure she enjoyed all of our visits but to be truthful, I was there for another beer as much as to see her. Anheuser-Busch (I guess it is InBev now) got a bunch of my money that day.

I bought my little girl a paper basket of French fries. While sitting in our folding chairs right next to the bandstand we overheard a lot of French being spoken all around us. I told my little girl that we were experiencing our heritage and culture,
and that these were our people.

And a lot of these people had beer bellies.

Which is not surprising because they were drinking a lot of beer.

I bought myself a couple of KBON t-shirts and a koozie that said “AIEEEEE where’s the ice chest babe?” Man I wish I had come up with that slogan first. It would have looked great on our brewery’s koozies.

After things wound down and we packed up in the car to head home, I thought to myself, yes, this is my culture, and these are my people – beer bellies and all. And I thought about KBON. How many other states have a radio station whose playlist emphasizes
local artists? Not many I bet, we sure are fortunate to have them on the radio dial.

I also thought, “We have got to get the folks who organize the KBON party to let us serve our biere next year.” It is the kind of beer that goes with the foods the vendors were selling, it lubricates the French speaking and 2-stepping muscles and is the
kind of beer our ancestors would have recognized.

And it is the kind of beer that makes the burdens of a beer belly worthwhile.