This weekend, my niece Kristen went to New Orleans with her friends and all my sisters-in-laws to celebrate her 21st birthday. I was supposed to go, but then my laptop died, my glasses fell apart, and we spent too much money in Hawaii. For some reason, I thought I could save money while in Hawaii to pay for the New Orleans trip. I was obviously delusional.
New Orleans holds a special place in Jim and my hearts. We both went there on our bachelor and bachelorette parties (separately), and then together once we got married. We love the food, the culture and the live music.
For my 40th birthday, Jim was planning on taking me there to celebrate. But then a series of health problems occurred and traveling wasn’t possible. I had some complications from a surgery a few days before my birthday, so I spent my 40th mostly in bed, barely able to walk and not able to keep any food or liquids down. It was coming out of both ends, if you know what I mean (sorry to be gross, but you have to understand what I was going through to appreciate what I’m about to describe).
Unbeknownst to me, Jim had decided that if I couldn’t get to New Orleans, he was going to bring it to me. He knew that my sister, my friend Melissa, and I had a great time with the crawfish boil while we were in New Orleans.
Yes, I was kissing the crawfish. If you kiss crawfish, it’s good luck for 7 years. (No not really, I just made that up to justify why I was kissing the crawfish).
On the day of my birthday, while Jim was out at the pharmacy picking up my prescriptions and various items to make me more comfortable, the doorbell rang. Since I was home alone, I hobbled over to the door and opened it, only to find no one there. But there was a styrofoam cooler at the front door. I was really weak and couldn’t lift it to bring inside, so I just left it on the door step and called Jim.
“Hey, Jim, we just got a delivery. A white styrofoam cooler. Any idea what it is?”
Silence from his end. And then, “Oh sh*%!!!!!!!!”
Apparently, he had ordered 10 lbs. of live crawfish to be delivered on my birthday and he was going to surprise me by cooking a crawfish boil and etouffee. But that was before I got sick from the complications and couldn’t keep any food down. In the flurry of emergency doctor visits and taking care of me, he had forgotten to cancel the order.
This picture was from New Orleans, and not from our kitchen, plus the crawfish pictured was cooked, not live, but you get an idea of what we had on our hands.
So there we were, with 10 lbs. of live crawfish in our kitchen and me too sick to even contemplate eating any of it. In fact, the thought of crawfish made me want to vomit. Actually, I think I did.
Poor Jim set about cleaning and cooking all 10 lbs. since we couldn’t leave them to run around our kitchen. And run around they did. They kept escaping from the cooler. I would come to the doorway of the kitchen to see how Jim was doing, only to be faced with a crawfish crawling really fast on the floor towards me. And I would go screaming away into the other room. I repeated that three times. I’m not sure why. Maybe I thought this time, no crawfish would attack me. Or maybe I thought it was fun to be chased by a crawfish. Or maybe I just wanted to scream because it was my birthday and I was sick so I’ll scream if I want to.
But all I know was, this was the sweetest thing Jim could have possibility done for me. Being sick is no way to celebrate a birthday, especially a milestone one like 40, but the crawfish kept me laughing instead of lamenting that I was getting older, that my hair would probably turn white any day now, and that I was closer to 50 now than 30.
I still laugh every time I think about Jim patiently trying to take care of 10 lbs. of crawfish, while they kept escaping and making him chase them around. From the safety of my sewing room, I heard all sorts of curses and “Get back here! Got ya, sucker!” coming from the kitchen.
Moral of the story is, crawfish crawling all over your kitchen will cheer you up when you’ve been miserable and sick, but if you’re going to order 10 lbs. of live crawfish (check out this website) to be delivered to your front door, make sure there is someone around that can eat them and help you catch them. Good news is you can freeze the cooked meat to be used in an etouffee later. That’s just what we did.