A Cajun Christmas
Christmas was always my favorite holiday, until I reached the drinking age and started enjoying Mardi Gras more But at Christmas, I loved eating all that Cajun food at gatherings for both sides of my family. My mom’s side made darn good candied yams and my dad’s side made great seafood and rice dressings. And, every year I’d listen to Disney’s Christmas album with the chipmunks and read my favorite Christmas book ever — Cajun Night Before Christmas.
The book stars Gaston, the green nosed alligator as Rudolf and is written with a ‘tick’ Cajun accent and illustrates the following story:
Cajun Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas, An’ all t’ru de house,
Dey don’t a t’ing pass, Not even a mouse.
De chirren been nezzle, Good snug on de flo’
An’ Mamm pass de pepper, T’ru de crack on de do’.
Den Mama in de fireplace, Done roas’ up de ham,
Stir up de gumbo, An’ make bake de yam.
Den out on de by-you, Dey got such a clatter,
Make soun’ link old Boudreau, Done fall off his ladder.
I run like a rabbit, To got to de do’,
Trip over the dorg, An’ fall on de flo’.
As I look out de do’, In de light 0′ de moon,
I t’ink “Manh, you crazy, Or got ol’ too soon.”
Cuz dere on de by-you, W’en I stretch ma’ neck stiff,
Dere’s eight alligator, A pullin’ de skiff.
An’ a little fat drover, Wit’ a long pol’n stick,
I know r’at away, Got to be ole St. Nick.
Mo’ fas’er and fas’er, De ‘gator dey came.
He whistle an’ holler, An’ call dem by name:
“Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an’ Alcee,
Gee, Ninette! Gee Suzette! Celeste and Renee!”
“To de top 0′ de porch, To de top 0′ de wall,
Make crawl, alligator, An’ be sho’ you don’ fall.
“Like Tante Flo’s cat, T’ru de treetop he fly,
W’en de big ol’ houn’ dorg, Come a run hisse’f by,
Like dat up de porch, Dem ole ‘gator clim!
Wit’ de skiff flill 0′ toy, An’ St. Nicklus behin’.
Den on top de porch roof, It soun’ like de hail,
W’en all dem big ‘gator, Done sot down dey tail.
Den down de chimney, He fell wit’ a bam.
An’ St. Nicklus fall, An’ sit on de yam.
“Sacre!” he axclaim, “Ma pant got a hole,
I done sot ma’se’f, On dem red hot coal.
“He got on his foots, An’ jump like a card,
Out to de flo’, Where he Lan’ wit’ a SPLAT!
He was dress in musk-rat, From his head to his foot,
An’ his clothes is all dirty, Wit’ ashes an’ soot.
A sack full 0′ playt’ing, He t’row on his back,
He look like a burglar, An’ dass fo’ a fack.
His eyes how dey shine, His dimple how merry!
Maybe he been drink, De wine from blackberry.
His cheek was like a rose, His nose like a cherry,
On secon’ t’ought maybe, He lap up de sherry.
Wit’ snow-white chin whisker, An’ quiverin’ belly,
He shook w’en he laugh, Like de stomberry jelly!
But a wink in his eye, An’ a shook 0′ his head,
Make my confi-dence dat, I don’ got to be scared.
He don’ do no talkin’, Gone straight to his work,
Put playt’ing in sock, An’ den turn wit’ a jerk.
He put bot’ his han’, Dere on top 0′ his head,
Cas’ an eye on de chimney, An’ den he done said
“Wit’ all 0′ dat fire, An’ dem burnin’ hot flame.
Me I am’ goin’ back, By deway dat l came.
“So he run out de do’, An’ he clim’ to de roof.
He am’ no fool, him, For to make one more goof.
He jump in his skiff, An’ crack his big whip.
De ‘gator move down, An’ don’ make one slip.
An’ I hear him shout loud, As a splashin’ he go,
“Merry Christmas to all, ‘Till saw you some mo’!”
Consider getting this book for any Cajun child you know (and even some adults — I lost my book and asked for it again for Christmas). I couldn’t imagine my childhood without it and all the other Gaston books!