It was not quite a week ago when I was summoned from bed earlier than I had liked. He was clad in a bathrobe and he delivered the simple words that yanked me into full consciousness. “Our pipes are frozen.”
It was day something-or-other in a string of days too cold to mention. They were days that kept us tethered within a short radius of the insatiable woodstoves, and we found ourselves bogged down with the simple need to stay cozy, unable to do much else. Days of a frustrated boy who could not go out to play, lest he be eaten up by the frost waiting to pounce. Days of lingering sticker-shock upon receiving the bill for a full propane tank and vowing to use it as little as possible, a promised bolstered with wood.
But the problem with vowing to use the propane-fueled furnace as little as possible is that, in a string of far-below-zero (Fahrenheit) days, the furnace may only run sporadically overnight, cycling its last at about 8 am, when the woodstoves take over. If this furnace lives in the basement room that also features a cat door to the outside AND is not prompted to run for a long stretch of well-below-freezing temps, the very room it resides in might dip below freezing. Of course this is bad for the drain line of water coming out of the furnace, because it has no choice but to freeze as well. And if the drain line is clogged, the furnace ceases to run. And nothing but the occasional breath of the cat offers any warmth to break the cycle.
Which brings us to the thwarted man-in-bathrobe, denied a shower because the pipes had frozen, yanking me out of bed. Reluctantly, I emerged to help him. We found the temperature in our living room a balmy 40 degrees F. A new low! Reason led us through the chain of events which presented the frozen furnace line as the key to restoring heat. Grateful for a portable shop heater, Andrew fired it up and the diesel fumes it gave off quickly perfumed every inch of our living quarters. Perhaps those fumes are responsible for how the rest of the day unfolded: the furnace quickly thawed, the thermostat climbed to something more reasonable, and Andrew emerged from the basement with the decree that it was Cajun Day. Because if he had taken the day off of work to manage the fallout of frozen pipes, it might as well be a holiday.
Is that crazy? he asked. Yes, of course it is, but it’s perfect.
To celebrate a Cajun Fete, as we all know, you must first do some research to understand what “Cajun” is all about. Isadora took the lead on this and taught us a thing or two. (a brilliant addition to the homeschool day, Captain Daddio)
Like dinosaur teeth. Errol did his own research.
The biggest component of a Cajun Fete is the feast. Ours featured jambalaya – a Captain Daddio specialty – and crab cakes.
We listened to the Magnolia Sisters and to the related Pine Leaf Boys. We danced. We reveled in the warmth and in the easy way the water flowed from the faucet. We forgot to pay any heed at all to the thermometer.