What is a Cajun?
by Bob Hamm
Copyright © 1972 by Bob Hamm
Between the red hills of North Louisiana and the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, lives the Cajun. Among the marshes and the bayous, the tall oaks and whispering moss, he carries on the traditions of his hardy Nova Scotian ancestors, les Acadiens (the Acadians), whose flight from persecution brought them to the lush South Louisiana soil over two centuries ago.
In other parts of the world, little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, while little boys are made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails.
Little Cajun children are made of gumbo, boudin and sauce piquante . . . crawfish stew and Oreilles de Cochon.
A Cajun child is given bayous to fish in, marshes to trap in, room to grow in and churches to worship in.
A Cajun likes fiddles and accordions in his music, plenty of pepper in his courtbouillon, shrimp in his nets, speed in his horses, neighborliness in his neighbors and love in his home.
A Cajun dislikes people who don't laugh enough, fish enough, or enjoy enough of all the good things God has given to the Cajun Country.
He doesn't like to be hurried when he's resting or distracted when he's working. He doesn't like to see people unhappy, and he'll do all he can or give all he has to bring a smile to a face stricken with sadness.
A Cajun likes to dance and laugh and sing when his week of hard work has ended.
And just as Saturday night at the fais-do-do replenishes his store of energy and his personal balance so he can meet the next week's chores with vigor, Sunday at Church refreshes his spiritual and moral values and keeps strong his always sustaining faith.
A link with a proud past, a Cajun is a man of tolerance who will let the world go its way if the world will let him go his. He is a man of great friendliness who will give you the crawfish off his table, the Sac-au-Lait off his hook or the shirt off his back.
But if you cross a Cajun, he'll give you the back of his hand or the toe of his boot. If he likes you, he'll give you his whole wide, wonderful world. If he doesn't, he'll give you a wide berth.
A Cajun is a complex person, with as many ingredients in his makeup as there are in the gumbo Mama makes for special company.
He has tolerance for those who earn it ... charity for those who need it ... a smile for those who will return it ... and love for all who will share it.
BUT ... a Cajun can be as stubborn as a mule and as ornery as an alligator. If he sets his head on something, he'll fight a circle saw before he'll yield to your opinions.
You'd as well argue with a fence post as try to change the mind of a Cajun.
And, as fun-loving as he is, a Cajun can work as long and hard as any man. He carved out "Acadiana" by hand, from the swamps and marshes and uncultivated prairies.
But when the work is done and the argument ended, a Cajun can sweep you right into a wonderful world of joie de vivre with an accordion chorus of "Jolie Blonde" and a handful of happy little words.
Five little words to be exact:
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Let the good times roll!
This is posted in memory of Bob Hamm who passed away recently.