Posted in Friendship

Crawfish Tales by Ginger Gannaway



I have been living in Texas for over 30 years now, and besides my family and friends, what I miss most about Louisiana is the food, and the food I miss most is the crawfish!
One of my favorite childhood memories is our annual Good Friday crawfish boil / family reunion in Indian Village at my Grandma Keller’s camp on the Calctsieu River. Long tables were set up and mountains of crawfish were boiled for over a hundred mothers, fathers, kids, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. As Catholic Cajuns we were not allowed to eat meat the Friday before Easter, so even though that’s supposed to some sort of sacrifice, I saw it as a wonderful time to get my fill of my favorite food that day! Just like Cajuns to turn their penance into a party!
During the crawfish boil, no one sat to tackle peeling those spicy mud bugs as fast as they could. I remember as a kid squeezing my way in and standing between beer-drinking adults. The crawfish were poured steaming hot in the center of the newspaper-covered tables with boiled potatoes mixed in. I never bothered with the vegetables. Getting to the succulent tail meat was my mission, and I became fast at peeling them. I wasn’t as quick as cousin Jaimie who could simply suck the tails out whole, but I held my own. Also, besides the 10 oz. cans of Schiltz beer, we had little bowls of spiced-up vinegar set out. Dipping the delectable tails in vinegar is still the best way for me to savor the precious crawfish.
Later after Grandma passed away, the Keller family was not as tight-knit – no more Good Friday crawfish boils or Christmas Eve parties. Grandma really was the social glue of our large family. However, a few years after she died, my dad resurrected the Good Friday crawfish boil first in our large backyard on the outskirts of Eunice and then at Grandma’s two-storied home he bought downtown. Again we enjoyed excellent boiled crawfish (and some fried catfish) though with fewer Kellers than in Grandma’s glory days.
Now my brother continues the Good Friday tradition at his home in Dallas. Since heathen Texans don’t always get Good Friday off work, he has moved the boil to the Saturday before Easter. Emile buys about two hundred pounds of Louisiana crawfish, and then Daddy,  Emile’s three grown children, five grandchildren, Yvette’s (his wife) family, and me and my crew show up. My brother also invites his many Dallas friends and his children’s friends who had to be taught how to peel the mud bugs. Now some of the non-Cajuns wrinkle their noses at having to eat such messy seafood, and a few grimace when someone starts sucking crawfish heads. But I ignore the prissy-pots and dive right in.

keller crawfish
Nothing makes me feel at home, nothing makes my mouth water and my heart sing like eating hot boiled crawfish with a cold can of beer nearby and fellow crawfish-lovin’ Cajuns at my elbows. And we eat and laugh and tell stories and share jokes and savor the spicy sweetness of fresh crawfish, and we wrap ourselves in the easy times with good friends and family who are connected by food and culture and the best crawfish tails/ tales around, cha!

Posted in Friendship

Ode to an Odyssey

Ode to an Odyssey

by Ginger Gannaway


How has it been 17 years since you
first arrived in our Texas town
from the north Louisiana dealership?

Oh, you marvelous mode of family travel!
From West Texas’s Big Bend terrain
To Louisiana’s Cajun Country
To Florida’s Pensacola Beaches
Up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Over to California’s Yosemite majesty
And many meanderings in-between,

You, dear 7-seater van,
With cool sunglass cubby and cupholders galoreIMG_2352
Plus a disappearing third row seat
With lots of room to haul around our
Countless treasures:
Stacks and stacks of Christmas gifts
Always puffed-out suitcases
Thousands of dollars of groceries
College room futons
Tricycles, scooters, bicyclesAnd a 7-foot iron coat rack!

You began your time with us,
Dear Odyssey,
As a much-loved Momvan
To transport our life’s most precious cargo-van full
Our 3 sons
And their equally precious friends.

You ended your time with us,
Dear Odyssey,
As a much-needed Dadmobile

For holding old movie posters
Assorted lawn equipment, various recyclables,
Canvas bags bursting with books and folders and papers
Random t-shirts and jackets, stained coffee cups,
And usually a mountain bike.

nija turtleBack in 1999 you proudly paraded
Our family of 5 from Texas to Louisiana
With our 3 boys happily tucked into  cabin seats or the way back place
Surrounded by pillows, Pokemon cards, comics, drawing pads,
Gameboys, and plastic Ninja Turtles.

You, dear trusted one, also transported fun-loving females
To Eunice, La.’s Crawfish Etoufee Cook-off
As these ladies frequented drive-thru daiquiri shacks and back woods honky tonks.
You listened as we swore, “What happens in Eunice, stays in Eunice!”Crawfish etouffee David Gallent

So revered, Honda Odyssey, with over 242,000 miles!
Thank you for holding
Our laughs, our tears, our victories, our losses, our brave times, our fearful ones,
our boasts, our secrets and all our memories.
Your style, your reliability, your smooth ways, your versatility, and your stamina
Have given us a journey to remember!drivethroughdaquiris