Every year my sister Bec has a Mardi Gras party at her house – not on Fat Tuesday since many of her loved ones still work hard for their money and aren’t available during the week. Instead, traditionally she has it on the Sunday before Fat Tuesday (Pleasantly Plump Sunday?).
This year the party didn’t happen on either Pleasantly Plump Sunday or Fat Tuesday, the primary reason being that this year the Super Bowl was held the Sunday before Fat Tuesday. And we all know what transpired on that day…..THE BRONCOS KICKED US SOME BOOTY AND MADE CAM RETHINK HIS DABBING. And by dabbing, I’m talking about the dance and not about what Mom does to get fresh stains out of tablecloths.
She postponed the party, and every time she would begin talking about an alternate date, something would come up. Bill and I went to Denver. Erik and Josey were tied up with something or other. So our family never got our Cajun fix.
We thought that would be reversed Saturday as Bec and Bill and I went to the Southwest Cajun Festival held in Chandler. And as an aside, that community does love itself some festivals – the Great American BBQ and Beer Festival, the Ostrich Festival, the Chandler Chuck Wagon Cookoff, Cinco de Mayo (which features the ever-popular Chihuahua races), on and on and on. The town government must have determined that the amount of money these festivals bring in offsets any additional money spent on police and fire protection or Chihuahua control. Or else they just like to have a hell of a good time.
Anyway, like all good festivals, we had to stand in line to prove we were of drinking age, stand in line to get the ensuing wrist band, stand in line to purchase tickets for drinks, and of course stand in line to purchase food. Being a Cajun festival, there were a surprising number of unexpected Cajun restaurants. I say surprising because suddenly BBQ restaurants were Cajun/BBQ and Mexican restaurants were Cajun/Mexican. In fact, what appeared to us to be one of the few actual Cajun restaurants had a line that rivaled that of a new iPhone release, and it went on ALL DAY LONG. So we settled for a Cajun/BBQ restaurant and ended up with pretty darn good po’ boy fish sandwiches served with red beans and rice. That’s Cajun, right, cher?
We settled in to listen to some music, when suddenly I look up to see my niece Jessie walking towards us. Jessie graduates from the University of Northern Arizona in a couple of weeks, but she assured us that she has, for all intents and purposes, checked out. Mentally, if not physically. We’ve all been there. Nevertheless, I thought she would be in Flagstaff.
She was there with her sister Kacy, and suddenly it was a party. And when Bec’s son Erik and daughter-in-law Josey showed up a bit later, it was not only a party, but a family reunion. Who knew?
While our po’ boy sandwich scratched the itch for Cajun food a bit, it didn’t take away the itch for me altogether. And apparently it didn’t for Bec either, because suddenly, in the middle of a set of music that was more blues than Cajun, she said, “Voila!” (Well, she didn’t exactly say voila, but I’m using that term to emphasize the lightbulb that went on over her head.) “If you guys come over on Monday, I will do a little shrimp boil.”
And so we did, and so she did.
Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Kate and Jade prepare to eat some shrimp at the shrimp boil.