For the past three years we have built a Gingerbread Display for The Gertrude C. Ford Center here in Oxford as a way of advertising our little budding soap business Cypress Lake Soap, and also as a way of contributing to benefiting our community because the Gingerbread Village also collects food for the local food banks and pantries in our area. This year in honor of our little business, We decided to recreate a scene reminiscent of the poem A Cajun Night Before Christmas.
Every year the kids have been able to participate a little more than the previous years. I like that it is becoming a collective effort and as they get older they are able to do and accomplish more. This year most of the gingerbread was created by me, but the boys helped by making animals from the chocolate clay that I made. They made chickens, alligators, chairs, pots, birds, rocks, nests, eggs, a deer, and cypress knees. The princess helped by testing, tasting, molding and eating what she molded. She said it was all pretty good. Matt helped with the trees, and made a couple of the cutest raccoons.
We worked for weeks and yesterday when it was finally finished and ready to be driven to its new home we couldn't get it through the door. It is quite a bit easier to get a 3'x 3' pallet through the door when it is turned sideways...and not one of us thought to even check to see if it would fit flat. After trying a couple of doors in the house I finally made the decision to risk it, remove everything that was not fixed in place and have Matt and Nathan turn the pallet while I held the house in place and hoped and prayed that everything else that was stuck on didn't come tumbling off.
There were a few casualties, but fortunately nothing that wasn't repairable, and other than a couple of birds and maybe a squirrel all the animals made it during travel from home to the destination. Although we originally had grander plans and not everything got accomplished, I am very happy with how things turned out and very proud of the work that my family did helping to create our Christmas Bayou Wonderland. I hope you all enjoy it too. I leave you today with pictures of our creation and the Cajun Night Before Christmas poem...
Cajun Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas an' all t'ru de house,
Dey don't a ting pass Not even a mouse.
De chirren been nezzle good snug on de flo',
An' Mama pass de pepper t'ru de crack on de do'.
De Mama in de fireplace done roas' up de ham,
Sit up de gumbo an' make de bake yam.
Den out on de by-you dey got such a clatter,
Make soun' like old Boudreau done fall off his ladder.
I run like a rabbit to got to de do',
Trip over de dorg an' fall on de flo'.
As I look out de do'in de light o' de moon,
I t'ink, "Mahn, you crazy or got ol' too soon."
Cux 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 pole-ing stick,
I know r'at away got to be ole St.Nick.
Mo' fas'er an' 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 an'Renee'!
To de top o' de porch to de top o' 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 ole houn' dorg come a run hisse's by.
Like dat up de porch dem ole 'gator clim!
Wit' de skiff full o' 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 I yell 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 de cat
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 o' 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 de blackberry.
His cheek was like a rose his nose 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 stromberry jelly!
But a wink in his eye an' a shook o' his head
Make my confi-dence dat I don't got to be scared.
He don' do no talkin' gone strit to hi work,
Put a playt'ing in sock an' den turn wit' a jerk.
He put bot' his han' dere on top o' his head,
Cas' an eye on de chimney an' den he done said:
"Wit' all o' dat fire an' dem burnin' hot flame,
Me I ain' goin' back by de way dat I came."
So he run out de do' an, he clim' to de roof,
He ain' 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 'til I saw you some mo'!"
If you are local stop by the Gertrude C. Ford Center on the Ole Miss campus and take a look at the local supporters for this years Gingerbread Village . Admission is free, but people are encouraged to share a canned good or non perishable food item for families in need.