There is a saying in South Louisiana that “when we eat one meal we talk about the next,” and this true. Who wouldn’t? In this imagined menu lies a future, a forecasted life, a community, perhaps even a weekend full of cheer and good food. What should we cook on Saturday? you wonder. Yes, honey, yes, darling, believe me when I say that sounds good And at the house across the street, a similar family is doing the same. Perhaps a Sunday spent over a pot of beans. A lunch of hot po’-boys wrapped in butcher paper. It is also an unwritten rule that we don’t talk politics at the table This is not because we’re dumb or old-fashioned or just too police, but rather because we see right through it.

Middling stuff, the world. Nothing worth mucking up a fine meal.

And so the soul of this place lives in the parties that grow here, not just Mardi Gras, no, but rather the kind that start with a simple phone call to a neighbor, a friend. And after the heat is discussed and your troubles shared you say man it’d be nice to see you, your kids, your smile. And from this grows a spread several tables long, covered in newspaper, with long rows of crawfish spilled steaming from aluminum pots, a bright splash of red in the blanketing green of our yard. It is food so big it must be stirred with a paddle. You gather around this. You worship it. There is nothing strange about that.

My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh



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