March 28, 2012

It's crawfish season! Laissez les bon Temps Rouler, ya'll!!!!!

If there's one thing The Impulsive Texan likes to do, well, it's eat! I'm a sure fire eater and I love all kinds of food. But one of my favorites is Cajun. As some of you may know, The Impulsive Texan is a 5th Generation Texan with blood from the English and the French. I mean how much more cajun/french can a name be than Dueboay? 

On my profile I have a bio line and it says something to the effect of "five generations of Texan on my mama's side and no telling how many generations of coon-ass on my daddy's side". So I wear my blood proudly on my sleeve, whether it be English or Acadian/French.

Many years ago I was fortunate enough to live close to my ancestors homeland of Lafayette, Louisiana, while I was stationed with the Navy in "The Big Easy", New Orleans. A Navy buddy of mine and I went to the French Quarter one afternoon for dinner and "bee-uh" (that's the pronunciation of beer in Louisana) and he ordered five pounds of crawfish. He started eating them and invited me to join him. I asked him "why in the !@#&! he was eating catfish bait" and he promptly told me to not judge it 'til I tried it. He continued to pour Dixie beer down me and before you know it, I was "ten feet tall and bullet proof", so I thought, "what could the harm be in trying one of the little fellas? After all, they are the cousin to the lobster and I love's me some lobster!" So, with the gusto of the brew prompting me, I shucked one of the little guys and popped it in my mouth and was prepared to run straight to the bathroom to get rid of it. But to my surprise, it was delicious!!!

From that moment, during crawfish season you wouldn't see me pass a pot of the boiling crustaceanal (is that a word?) delights without leaving with two or three pounds. I have to admit it took many years and many more bee-uh's to get me to suck the heads. The day it happened, I was also under the influence of the hops and barley. I was certain this time that this would definitely set my innards aboil and I would quickly excuse  myself to get rid of the vile liquid and chunks or whatever came out. Once again I was pleasantly surprised, the liquid that rolled across my tongue was OH so spicy and delicious. So now you won't catch me wasting a good crawfish head as I crush and squeeze out all of that wondermous bayou nectar.

After many years in New Orleans, I came away with quite the skill of boiling the mudbugs myself. And about four years ago, I made an off-hand comment to some family friends that I knew how to boil crawfish. They invited me over to be the mudbug chef for the day for their daughters birthday party one spring. Everyone enjoyed my recipe so well, that they invited me back a few months later to be chef of ceremonies for his wife's birthday party. And every year since then, they don't buy the bugs until they find out if Chef Dueboay is available to cook. That's a nice compliment.

A year or so ago, a business-man friend and old song-writing buddy and I were making small talk. It was spring and the conversation somehow moved into boiling crawfish. I told him that I had been boiling them for years and years and always used the recipe I had been given from the grandfather of a cajun queen I had dated back in New Orleans in the '80's. I still use that recipe/technique to this day and won't ever change it. A few weeks ago, my songwriting buddy called and asked if I'd be interested in being the crawfish chef for the day for a party he was hosting. I told him I NEVER passed up a good chance to boil crawfish. 

Below are some pics from the boil we had on Saturday. He had cajun music blaring from the stereo and everyone was passing a good time, cher'. About 30 - 35 folks showed up to join in the cajun festivities. I boiled close to 100 pounds of crawfish and there wasn't a single one left at the end of the day. 

Here are the little fellas getting ready to take a dip in the 
hot tub.

I done told you sir, I ain't giving you my recipe!!!

Making sure the ingredients are well mixed before I 
begin the cooking.

Here we go, the first batch is headed to the pot!

Of course the chef has to ensure the crawfish are fit 
to eat. That surprised looked on my face is from picking 
up one of the steaming hot mudbugs, straight out 
of the boiling pot!

Deploying one of the "techniques" to ensure lots of 
flavor in the crawfish.

That fella in the light colored shirt ate his share and my
share of crawfish that day! In this pic he is seriously 
getting all of the wonderful juice out of the head.

Last batch of the day and The Impulsive Texan is sure
enough tired. It was late in the afternoon and that 
western sun had heated up to about 85 degrees, 
the pots were still boiling and I was standing in probably
105 degree heat and steam. But  you know, I wouldn't have 
changed a thing.

Laissez le bon Temp Rouler ya'll! I hope you have a fabulous spring. Go out and get yourself some mudbugs and pass a good time, cher' and if you can't find someone to boil your mudbugs, I might happen to know a fella that would be willing to come to your place and help you out!!! Wonder who that could be?

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

March 27, 2012

Spring has OH-ficially sprung in Texas...

Birds are chirpin', flowers are flowerin', cool gentle breezes are blowin' and Bluebonnets are bloomin''s springtime in Texas!

What does that mean for everyone? Well, for me, it means no more teeth-chatterin' nights under the blankets and having to get up at a god awful hour and puttin' my feet on a cold, bare floor that sends chills up my body, like a ringer on one of those old fashioned slammin' hammer strength contests you used to see at the circus.

It means the air is fresh and for a while we'll have nice, gentle rains to coax ole "Mother Nature" back to life, but the biggest meaning to me, The Impulsive Texan, is that it's time to dig out the hoes, the rakes, the fertilizer, tiller and seeds and get the garden goin'.

I love to garden and always have. I have a small plot as you can see below, but it's good ole fertile Texas soil and I always have a good crop of whatever seeds I throw down.

I'd love to see some of ya'lls garden spots! Post 'em on here for the entire world to see.

Have a great spring and may you have a bumper crop of whatever you sew!

The Impulsive Texan.

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

March 5, 2012

Gawwwwd Bless Texas!!!!!

I found a list of this list of 50 reasons why Texas is so awesome, wonderful and absolutely great by a writer at the Houston Press. Well, if I was a picky man, I'd say this list is good, but it's only the beginning 'cause there's thangs that ain't on the list!

Take a look at this list and see if you see anything that you feel should be on there and ain't and what shouldn't be on there and is...ok, you got that. 

God Bless Texas ya'll...

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

The Gray Fedora, 2012...

Last year, I wrote a story about a man that made a profound impact on my life and the many, many lives he came into contact with during his years here on earth. 

Lately I've heard a lot of chatter about him through my friends on Facebook and I thought I'd post this story of him again because when we speak of a man of this stature, you can't hear enough about him. I really enjoy hearing the different stories about him and how he impacted those that grew to know him. I don't believe I've ever heard anyone that knew him utter a single derogatory word about this kind and gentle man. 

I believe this world became a better place, just because of his presence here on earth. 

Rest in peace Emmit, we miss you so much.

The Gray Fedora

I first remember seeing him in the mid to late ‘60’s as he shuffled carefully down the hallways of school. He was an odd looking man that moved slowly because of a disfiguring debilitation. His right arm was withered and useless and was drawn up to his side. It twitched and shook uncontrollably and constantly. The fingers on that hand were bent and shaped at an odd angle as if they all had been broken at the same time and healed in that twisted, mangled manner. His walk wasn’t a limp, but when he took a step, he would drag his right leg up to complete his slow and troubled stride. To me, at ten years old, he was a giant of a man and thank God I came to know him, because at first glance, he could be scary and intimidating.

There are many things that I remember of the man. He always had a smile on his weathered face and he spoke with a very slow, slurred and thick Texas brogue. He wore the big, cumbersome glasses that were in style in the ‘60’s and those brown, matching uniformed shirts and pants and he wore them cinched high and tight above his waist. But what I remember most and what became the icon of the man in my memory was the gray fedora that was always perched carefully on his head.

He kept the brim straight and level and the old hat was stained and dirty from years of work and wear. On hot Texas days, he could be seen pushing it back to wipe away the sweat and it would reveal the white on his upper forehead that likely hadn’t seen a ray of sunshine in forty years. He would shuffle slowly down the hallway at school, carefully guiding the same old janitor’s cart that he had pushed for generations before. And he always took the time to say hi to each and every child and call out their name, without exception. And the greatest thing about that was he never, ever got the child's name wrong.

On the outside he looked like a weak and sickly man and those that didn’t know him would rarely acknowledge his presence. Heartless kids would mock him and make fun of his unfortunate situation. But once you came to know this kind and gentle being, you looked past all the disfiguring traits his old body had. And the reason you looked past them is because, well, he did too. Not once did I ever notice him show a sign of weakness or pity for himself. He didn’t have time for that, he was busy making friends and changing lives.

Although my given name was Stephan and everyone had called me Steve from birth, he began calling me “Stevie”. It never bothered me but I always wondered why he called me by that name. I came to realize many years later that he felt his purpose in life was to ensure his “kids” felt special. To him, each child in that school was his and special and he went out of his way to ensure they knew it. My entire life I was called Steve, but he called me Stevie and yes, that made me feel very special.

I always took the time to say hi and acknowledge his presence, because there was something in him that drew you his way. It was almost magnetic. It may have been his kindness or the fact that he really and truly cared about you and what was going on in your life. He asked me once what I was going to do with my life after school and at that age, I had no idea. His response was brilliant and timeless as he simply told me to just do whatever I did with passion and pride. No matter what it was, just own it, be proud of it and give it everything I had.

The most amazing and awe inspiring trait was his incredible and accurate memory. I graduated from high school in 1976 and had been gone from home for many years and had come back to town on leave. I was walking the downtown square when out of the door of the barber shop, I recognized the bent and gray-haired man I had not seen in many years. He slowly shuffled outside, closed the door gently behind him and as he turned toward me to make his way down the sidewalk, a big, broad grin came over his face as he excitedly called out, “Stevie”! His right arm began to twitch violently as it always did when he became excited. If one had witnessed this for the first time, they might think he was having some sort of seizure. In a sense he was, because in happy moments like this, he was overcome with joy and happiness to see another one of his “kids”. Even after all of the years that had passed and the hundreds of other kids he had met and befriended, he not only remembered me, he remembered me by the special name he bestowed on me nearly twenty years earlier.

We spoke for nearly fifteen minutes on that day and he asked how my mom, my brothers and my little sister were doing and how my career was going with the Navy. That question took me aback, because I never told him that I had joined the Navy. How he knew that I had joined the Navy always puzzled me. He had either heard chatter in school about my career choice or he took the time to find out. Somehow I think it was the latter because he honestly, truly and passionately cared for all of the kids in the school system. 

That hot, muggy, August day, was the last time I ever saw him and I remember those few moments like they were just yesterday. He served the community and the school in my home town faithfully for the rest of his life. He was loved and admired by all who met and came to know him and I’ll go to my grave believing he never had an enemy or a cross word with anyone. His heart was grand and giving and to know the man was to know a true earth-bound angel.

In an earlier blog this year, I said I wasn’t going to spend my year trying to keep useless resolutions, because just like most everyone else, I would probably end up breaking them anyway. I wanted to spend the year thanking people that had made a difference in my life and he was certainly one of those that did. He showed me nothing but kindness and that’s something that I believe the entire world could use an overdose of right now. For the kindness you showed, the smiles you passed along and the passion you showed for your “kids”, I thank you sir. I pray that I become half the man that you were. 

The older I get the more I remember of him… his smile, his heart and his grand presence. But the one thing I will always remember and that will define him forever to me is that old, gray fedora. It sat on his head like a crown and that was more than fitting, because in my eyes, Emmet Batton was a king among ordinary men.

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

March 2, 2012

Texas Independence Day

Oh yes, my Lone Star's March 2nd and it's Texas Independence Day!!!! One hundred and seventy-six years ago today, Texas drafted, voted on and approved the Declaration of Independence to be a free Republic from Mexico. This day is also known as the Terquasquicentennial plus one year. Yeah, I know, that's a hard word to say. So much so, I almost had to visit the dentist to untangle my tongue after my first attempt. 

No matter what you do today, take time to remember the boys at the Alamo, Goliad and Buffalo Bayou, because without the sacrifices of those men, we wouldn't have the wonderful state we have today.

So enjoy your day ya'll and God bless Texas!!!!

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

March 1, 2012

Spring is about to sprung here in Texas...

Yes, as the title says, spring is about to "sprung" here in Texas. We've been blessed with a very mild winter this year and that glorious season will be upon us in just three weeks. It's supposed to hit the upper 80's here today. I love that it's going to be that warm in February and I wish my friends stuck in the "snow belt" could enjoy it too. One thing that scares me just a tad is that it IS getting that warm in February. Is that a sign of things to come for the 2012 Texas Summer? Last year was a killer summer and was recorded as one of the hottest summers on record in Texas. Over 75 days hit 100 degrees or more and more than fifty-five 100 degree days were in a row. It fell just short of the blazing Summer of 1980. I pray that it isn't a repeat, or is worse, than last summer.

When spring rolls around, it always makes me think of peaceful settings. And what more of a peaceful setting is there than the coast? A veteran songwriter here in Texas, Larry Joe Taylor, penned one of the greatest songs ever in "My Third Coast". And when the spring turns my thoughts to the coast, I always think of this song because of it's slow, rythmic cadence and the draw of the peaceful melody. Listen closely to the lyrics of this song because they are powerful beyond belief.

It's a song about a man that finds himself, finally, after years of self-abuse and how he found his "third coast" down on the Texas Coast near Port Boliver. This particular cover is sung by Brian Burns, another outstanding Texas musician. And he does a magnificent job too. At the end of the song, you'll hear Larry Joe come in and tell the singer to "get up, you're missing the best part of the day". A timeless line, in a timeless song.

I pray you all find your "Third Coast" in 2012...

Enjoy the music and have a great Summer ya'll!!!!!

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...