All for the love of boiled crawfish.

September 11, 2010


We watched the last of the storm clouds recede rapidly to the north where they gathered again to pester Dallas with a couple of tornadoes and settled a bit of dust in Oklahoma and Kansas. It had been a wet few days, so we decided to take a break by heading south to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

In the morning, we ate the toasted remnants of a failed white cake made from a box of Pillsbury Mix along with an egg poached with butter and what I thought were capers but turned out to be pickled green pepper corns. I should have been using my reading glasses.

The first part of the trip proved pleasant enough. We made a pit stop at Buckee’s in Gonzales, Texas. This sleepy little town was the place where the Texas revolution actually started. In spite of what the moguls in Hollywood want you to believe, the fight didn’t begin with John Wayne at the Alamo. When I was a boy we dug a few slugs out of some ancient oaks near the Memorial. I was told that these were musket balls that hit the trees during the battle. Later I figured out that they were more likely to be lead slugs from the six shooters fanned from leather at the door to the local saloon. This is my belief even though it doesn’t make as good a story. I have no evidence to back this up either way.

While my wife was purchasing a couple of good, fresh breakfast Tacos at the store, I asked whether or not the automated Santa would return this year. If it did, I promised to help them in their plot to give the gentleman who stands by the door a permanent case of laryngitis. Who wants to listen to Ho, ho, ho while customers stream through the door all day and all night? There is a limit to good cheer.

Between Gonzales and Cuero, another small Texas town, we ran into a few lingering showers. The road was wet enough for the cement mixer in front of me to cover my windshield with a film of mud that soon hardened into a cement-like coating that defied my window-washer fluid. The rights to the prized parking spots in these rolling green hills are fought over every fall by two football teams, the Cuero Gobblers and the Gonzales Apaches. Young lovers root hard at the home games.

The approach to Cuero used to be through an underpass beneath a railway line. The local garden club planted colorful flowers and decorative bushes as a beautification project that goes back at least as far as the 1940’s. A heavy rain would occasionally fill this dip with water and drowned the engine of an unwary motorist. This time, a fresh little thunderstorm popped up just as we were crossing an overpass and sluiced the mud off our car, a reminder that with patience, things even out.

I always take the loop around Victoria, Texas. For a small city with so much visible poverty, there are just too many posh looking bank buildings in the middle of town. Perhaps the Chamber of Commerce will set me straight on this.

The run down to Port Lavaca is across fields covered with cotton and water. The road is an immense stretch of four lane asphalt that is only a few inches above the water line. I would have thought that they would have built up the roadbed at least a few inches. The main reason for the improvements, I’m given to understand, is to prevent people from being trapped down on the water when a hurricane rolls in. Only seven inches of rain during tropical storm Hermine was enough to cover the new road in a few spots.

My wife’s brother, who owns the ancient and fabulous Melcher Hardware Company in Port Lavaca, suggested that if we wanted to eat Cajun-style seafood, he’d take us out to Bubba’s in Seadrift.

“Bubba is a good Cajun restaurant name,” I declared.

“Do they have boiled crawfish,” my wife wanted to know.

When the answer was “yes,” that is all she needed to know. Off we go down the road to Bubba’s and an adventure in Texas-style Cajun cuisine.

We’re pretty critical when it comes to boiled crawfish. After all, we lived on our sailboat in New Orleans for many years. There are certain procedures that have to be followed if the mud bugs are going to taste right. I must say that Bubba passed the entire battery of tests with flying colors. My wife, who tips the scales at only 110 pounds, ate 3 pounds of crawfish which amazed the owner (but not me, I’ve seen her finish off six pounds in one evening meal.) I ordered Bubba’s fried, spicy boudin balls and a bowl of gumbo, both of which were excellent and a definitive test of authenticity. No tomato sauce, here! All in all, a superb lunch and a great visit.

The return home is always a let down–back to supermarket shrimp and frozen tilapia fillets. I dread the time, all too soon, when the last links of venison sausage will go in the pan and mesquite-grilled chicken will replace the succulent little dove breasts that I smother in a bourbon liqueur sauce.

About charles frenzel

I've been writing all my life. I've also painted, composed, sculpted, contributed to molecular research, advanced some mathematical concepts, lived on a sailboat, and worked for a Nobel Prize winner. Nothing in my life has pleased me more than to share my life with my wife and friend of over forty years.

View all posts by charles frenzel

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