What’s in a name is the question asked by Juliet to Romeo in Act II, Scene II where she is asking Romeo about the significance of the things we refer to by its given name. Her question is a valid one, what is in a name; if you were to call a Crayfish by any other name would you know we are talking about crawfish? If you were invited to a freshwater lobster cookout, would you be upset when the chef showers the table with crimson mudbugs? Last week I was invited to a crawfish boil by my neighbor. It sounded like a great idea after a very busy week to unwind with a few beers, and fresh crawfish, after all, national beer day had just passed without me being able to celebrate; so I was in.
Have you ever accepted an invitation to be somewhere, and later realized you would more than likely only know one other person out of what was sure to be many hungry people? I’m a pretty social person, but as late I’ve been keeping to myself making few exceptions. The crawfish boil was scheduled to start around two in the afternoon which was perfect because if something didn’t go quite right, you know that uncle who starts treating you like you really are part of the family, or the impromptu backyard brawl that’s likely to break out from having “too many chief’s and not enough Indian’s” in the kitchen then I would still have enough time to recapture the rest of my day. For those of you who may not know, crawfish in Louisiana is pretty serious business, so add a few drinks on top of that, and the cookout could have gone either way.
The details of the crawfish boil really aren’t that important because you would have to have the awesome privilege of knowing my neighbor, and in turn you, would have met his beautiful family. He introduced me to his brother that wasn’t the same color as he was, and to sister’s who were the same color as he is. For a few minutes, I thought I was attending a United Nations meeting because of the diversity within his family. I met neighbors that I wouldn’t have otherwise had met if it weren’t for his invitation. I saw men playing games with children that weren’t theirs, come to think of it I don’t think he knew those kids until that day. A neighbor of ours who is a few years younger than I am talked, and laughed about how old we were getting, and what we thought life was going to like when we were kids, and the reality of what it turns into once you have children of your own. Kids were running around speaking in Spanish, and a few moments later the same kids were speaking in English, I found myself being amused, and confused at the same time.
This was the 2nd crawfish boil I had ever gone to, and the experience was a life long lesson about family what it is, and what it isn’t; as well as what I could be. Getting comfortable with being outside of your comfort zone, and meeting new people will at the very least give you a new story to tell.
The fresh water lobster boil that started sometime after the sun went down, and the intoxicating aroma of fresh vegetable’s, meats, and seasoning fragranced the air while everyone waited with baited breath for the chef to finally serve the catch of the day. It rained, and then sun came out, and come to think of it I believe I saw a rainbow in the sky before it rained.
The journey we call life has many twist, and turns along the way. Labels, stereotypes, and preconceived notions can prevent us from learning about others, and more importantly learning about ourselves. There are times, and under the right circumstances where label’s are helpful; for example if your neighbor’s sister is dating someone who has the unofficial tile of The King of Crawfish, and you are being invited to a crayfish boil, that’s something you may want to know about so that you don’t miss out.
The next day I went over to my neighbor’s to see if any help cleaning was needed. I discovered 1 crawfish had some how escaped the boiling fate of its fellow Crustacea. Doing something different allowed that 1 crawfish that dared to determine its own fate, while the others bathed in a boiling brew of Cajun soup.
Life is about learning, loving, and leaving a legacy behind. Dare to make your own great escape by climbing out of the pot someone has placed you in. Determine for yourself what your fate will be. As far as family goes, I learned you may not have a say in the family you are born in, you do have say in the company you keep, and you never know, you may just meet a new brother or sister you didn’t know you had, and that’s what I learned about family at a crawfish boil.