It was a beautiful day in September. In Louisiana, that means it was not 100 degrees F outside! Via Facebook, about 400 Istrouma High School Indian alums had reconnected after 40 some odd years. About 100 of those including spouses, that we graciously allowed into the "Teepee", gathered for a "Pow Wow" at the beautiful country home of Frank and Kathy Parker for a Cochon de Lait!
Cochon de lait, translated strictly, means "sucking pig," but in Cajun land it means roasting a whole pig and partying! Cochon de lait is one of Acadiana's most famous and most delectable dishes -- marinated, pit-roasted young suckling pig, sliced thin and served with gravy, on a plate or on a po-boy. The Master Chef, Frank, was in charge and did not disappoint. The roasted pork was the best I have ever tasted. Each of the "IHS Indians" brought a side dish to share. What a feast! Pictured is the huge pit where Frank and his helpers cooked the pork.
The eating was not the only highlight of the day. We wore name tags because some of us had not seen each other in person since high school graduation. The hair styles were different, but the smiles and friendships were still intact! Of course we said to each other: "You haven't changed a bit!" Our group was happy to be together and remember the mid sixties with fondness. Swapping stories and catching up with each other was so much fun. We shared sorrows and happy times and those times have bound us even closer. There were lots of hugs and handshakes all around!
Before the feast, the US Armed Services Veterans gathered around flags representing the various branches of the military. Ours was the generation of Vietnam and we wanted to show our appreciation for all those brave ones that served us well. There was a toast and a round of applause for all those present. We also paused to remember those who didn't make it back. This was a very touching experience for those of us present. It brought tears to my eyes.
A blessing was said as we stood in a circle and held hands and then the eating began. We thanked our Creator and Lord for the blessings we had and continue to receive through His graciousness. There was pork aplenty, gravy, beans, corn pudding, green beans and on and on. And the desserts were to die for! I have never seen so many pies and cakes in one place. We also had generous servings of Baskin-Robbins ice cream, courtesy of an Indian and her Bulldog spouse! Those of you from the Baton Rouge, LA area will understand the significance of that particular bond. What good cooks we had become over the years since existing on the "Reservation" as we referred to our high school campus!
Many of our classmates are musicians and some had played in organized "bands" back in the day. After consuming our fill of the goodies, we adjourned to the back porch for a little "jammin'". Our music makers played some oldies but goodies and they still could put together some good tunes. They kept apologizing for not sounding better, but to me, the music was wonderful. There was a lot of toe tapping, applause, requests and even some dancing! One thing that can be said is the Indians of Istrouma still have that school spirit and cohesiveness that kept us together in spirit throughout the years.
As the day waned, we began to pick up our folding chairs and what was left of the "fire water" and said our goodbyes. But not to worry....our Pow Wows have become more frequent and we pledged to see each other on Facebook!
and......Thanks to Pam Pennington-Firmin for most of the pictures!