Creole

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Creole: (n) a person born in Louisiana but of usually French ancestry.

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of leaps into quicksand, with the excitement coming from each escape from foolishness.

Would any of us truly have a reason for being if we weren’t finding creative ways to correct our mistakes?

For a very brief time in my life, I thought that because I possessed faith, it was my responsibility to infuse it into others. This misconception led me to make a brief missionary trip to the country of Haiti. Never has one small nation been so inundated with religious propaganda and promises of eternal life with so little prospect for earthly sustenance. Yet I decided to add my own drivel to the propagated myth. I arrived in Haiti convinced that if I preached the Gospel, I could save souls. It didn’t occur to me that there were actually people linked to those souls.

People who got hungry.

People who needed love.

People who valued romance.

People who just thought, felt and dreamed about “people things.”

I was in the middle of my third little sermon in an adobe building, in front of a packed house—eager faces who had obviously been told by their leadership that the arrival of white people from America always offered the possibility of financial relief.

The language was Creole.

I did not take the time to learn the tongue, but over the several days that I had been there, I picked up a word here and there—maybe even a phrase.

I suddenly noticed that my translator, who had a grin foretelling of sin, was not exactly sharing what I was saying to the congregation.

So after I finished my teaching, I cornered him and asked him what he was doing. Never dropping his smile, he looked me right in the eyes and said, “You come from a country where your biggest concern is getting too fat. You are visiting a country where our biggest concern is staying alive. Sometimes you say dumb things that would be offensive, and I just find happier ways to translate them.”

A chill went down my spine. Even though I believed myself to be a plain-spoken individual who always wanted to hear the truth, I kind of wished he’d lied to me.

But I’m glad he didn’t—because he made it clear that my preaching could not be eaten and my Bible verses didn’t provide warmth; that even though I might have good intentions, my efforts were worthless to the needy.

That day I started trying to learn some of the Creole language.

It was literally the least I could do.

 


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Crawdad

funny wisdom on words that begin with a CCrawdad: (idiom) crayfish

If you run across a situation which is odd, or a group of people who seem a bit bizarre, always remember the power of the word “colorful.”

In other words, “these circumstances are not dangerous or bewildering—they’re just colorful.”

It’s a word I learned when I lived four years in Louisiana. Being raised in the Midwest, I found the folks of the Bayou to have many traditions I thought were challenging.

Chief among them was the eating of crawdads.

I had seen these creatures as a little boy. My parents even referred to them as the “poor man’s lobster.”

But I had never observed them regarded with such relish as in Louisiana. (Actually, relish is one of the few things they don’t eat crawfish with.)

I was frustrated. There is so little meat on the crawdad that it is an exhausting chore to get two tablespoon’s worth of fishy flesh. The natives, of course, laughed at me. They explained that the great taste of the little varmints lay in “sucking their heads.”

Yes. I’m talking about taking that tiny crusty head which looks like it came off the monster in “Alien,” and putting it up to your mouth and sucking in. They explained that many folks who tried it for the first time compared it to eating raw oysters.

Excellent. May I point out that to me, eating raw oysters is like being forced to slurp up one’s own snot?

I’m usually not this picky. After all, my entire life I have eaten hotdogs with no fear of gristle and bone fragments. But there is something so ugly about the crawdad. The little booger just gives me the creeps.

I tried. But even after four years, whenever they walked over to a table covered with newspaper and dumped a big pan of them onto the table, my first instinct was to scream like a little girl and run down to McDonald’s and order a Happy Meal.


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Consort

Consort: (v) to habitually associate with someone

It took me a little while to realize that I am not a savior.

I was not particularly arrogant or self-righteous, but I felt it was my job to carry a cross–and if there wasn’t one available, to build one.

During this season of misconception, I lived in Louisiana and consorted with other agencies to help people who were in prison or the county jail.

It was my full intention to be an intermediary. They had attorneys to get them through the court portions of their difficulties, but I thought they needed a guide funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
to get them somewhere near the “strait and narrow.” For some ridiculous reason I fancied myself to be motivated and perhaps even qualified to perform this function.

What did I learned through the process? When life sends people in need your way, into your own environment and your own field of control, you should do everything you can to help them.

But if you’re going to the lion’s den, or in this case, the prison, to be of assistance, you must realize that this arena is not your home.

For I will tell you as a fact: I heard so many stories and listened to so much self-pity and poured out my heart in empathy so many times that I began to actually side with those who were behind bars.

For some reason it totally escaped me that they were criminals and that was why they had been detained. It wasn’t because they needed a hundred dollars as start-up money to begin a car repair shop–or that they desperately required someone to pay their bail, giving them freedom to be out of the clink, working on their cases.

I learned that when you consort with the sinner, you sin.

When you consort with liars, you start finding sneaky ways to fib.

And when you consort with the ungodly, your counsel begins to suffer and your own veracity is soon shaken.

I gave myself a gift.

I now make it clear that I love people and I care about them–but I have no intention of chasing them to the gates of hell to make sure their britches don’t catch on fire.

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Bartender

Bartender: (n) a person who mixes and serves drinks at a bar.Dictionary B

Most of the spirits that have come into me have entered through my soul instead of my mouth.

I am not a drinker. I am not self-righteous about it–it’s just not a part of my practice.

I do overeat.

I under-exercise.

It’s not as if I don’t participate in human activities that are capable of pleasure but also can quickly become foibles.

For me, it has always been an inability to get over the taste. Recently recovering from a throat condition, I was astounded at how horrible cough syrup is to ingest. To purposefully pour such intense fluid down my gullet on an ongoing basis is beyond my comprehension.

It started when I was eighteen years old and went on a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, with my soon-to-be wife. We decided to go out to a bar to catch some lively “Music City” entertainment. This particular establishment had a two-drink minimum. That meant you had to order two alcoholic beverages to be able to sit and listen to the music. I probably could have ordered a soft drink, but at age eighteen, such ineffective communication of maturity was unacceptable. I was allowed to order a drink, so a drink would be ordered.

I asked for a Michelob. When it came to the table, I took a huge gulp, which nearly regurgitated back in my direction.

It was so terrible.

I saw other people sitting around drinking it freely, as if it were some sort of pleasurable experience. Years later, working with a group of artists in Louisiana, we thought it was extraordinarily Continental to order wine with our dinner. After a couple of weeks of this practice, I had to turn to my companions and tell them that I was ruining my hamburger by having to survive my vino.

I say all this to admit to you that talking about a mixologist–or a bartender, in this case–is really beyond my scope. The only bartender I actually knew was a fellow I met in California. He was a minister who tended bar part-time in order to counsel and help folks who were drowning some of their sorrows in liquid refreshment.

I doubt if he’s a typical purveyor of the intoxicants. I’ve often admired bartenders in movies, mixing their blends together with such style and speed.

But I am the worst person in the world to write an article on bartending.

So I think I will stop.

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Amerasian

dictionary with letter A

Amerasian: (n) a person having one American and one Asian parent

It’s time for a moratorium. At least, I’m declaring one.

I refuse to indulge anymore in the constant creation of new names to segregate people off into smaller and smaller clumps based upon minute cultural differences, separating us from a greater understanding of one another.

I am especially averse to this word, “Amerasian.”

I have a beautiful grandson named Wyeth, whose mother is from China and whose father is from Louisiana. I suppose that would make him Amerasian if I was so dumbfounded by the culture that I participated in such nonsense.

  • There are no African-Americans because none of them could actually live in Africa.
  • I am not a German-American because seven generations ago my family came over on a ship to get away from that country.
  • There are no gay-Americans.
  • There are no female-Americans.

We’re just human beings, and the more we try to promote our culture, maintaining the traditions passed down from a lineage we don’t even understand anymore, the more we will confound our own personal journey with the clutter of clatter.

I even laugh at my own children, who worry that little Wyeth won’t get enough of China–or Louisiana–to enrich the mix of his life.

Let me give you a clue: Wyeth is a person, so as long as he has purpose, food, clothing and love, he’s not going to give a crap about whether it comes from China or Louisiana.

Can we get over the childishness of “cultural integrity?”

I want to possess a philosophy that would allow me to live anywhere with anyone at any time. If I don’t have that in my possession, I will fine-tune my thinking until I acquire it.

Wyeth is not Amerasian. He is my grandson. And by the grace of God, if he continues to grow and use his talents, someday he’ll be a blessing to the whole earth.

 

Acadia

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Acadia: a former French colony established in 1604 in the territory that now forms Nova Scotia in Canada. Contested by France and Britain, it was ceded to Britain in 1763, and French Acadians were deported to other parts of North America, especially Louisiana.

There is so much in that definition of Acadia which is bizarre and imbalanced–but still–quite human.

Let’s start out by saying that the Acadians were living in Nova Scotia, which translated, means New Scotland. So already they were presumptuously dwelling under the false concept that they were still in Scotland–just opening a branch. No one in Scotland wanted them. That’s why they were starting from scratch.

So then the arriving British decide THEY don’t like them. They send them to the great trash heap of all English rejects–America. These Acadians go from one community to another, and finally settle in the sediment of the Mississippi Delta–in Louisiana. The only other place left for them to go was the Gulf of Mexico, and it’s just difficult to build a cabin there.

To the credit of these former New Scotland folk, they decide not to be so picky and intermarried with the Louisiana natives, some of them being Creole. They blend, they blur, they mingle, they mix–until one day we end up with Cajuns.

And these Cajuns, who were rejected by Scotland, the British and all sorts of little, prissy towns all the way down the Mississippi River, ended up taking the best of their surroundings and creating one of the more colorful cultures on the face of the earth.

Without them we have no gumbo, jambalaya, and it would be questionable if New Orleans would be so deliciously flamboyant.

So just as my ancestors were rejected from Germany and landed on the shores of the New World, looking for a place to breathe and live free of condemnation, we need to understand that everybody who lives in America was once a reject, floated down a river or two and plopped in a place where they could be free … and pursue their dreams. Never in the history of mankind has such a clumping of losers turned into such a winning formula–making a little, crawling crustacean called the crayfish into a magnificent mini-lobster treat.