Story With the Water

FMJ

Technical Senior
With the Water
FMJ

(1)​

The woman stood anxiously waiting on the dock in front of the weathered shack leaning on a gnarled black stick of a cane. A thick braid the color of storm clouds over deep water hung half way down her back as she gazed into the mists rising from the bayou. She could feel that her kin were coming home, that they were close.
“Soon now . . . there, maybe . . . Yes!” A flicker of lantern light shone yellow through the cypress trees as a boat rounded the turn at Little Bayou Pigeon. “They will be here in minutes,” she clapped her hands together and hurried to the porch steps of the shack. “I’ve got to set the kettle to boil for tea,” she spoke aloud even though there was no one to hear but the critters and the gators.

The sturdy boat eased smoothly to the small dock by the shack and a man jumped out to deftly catch it while securing a line to a post with quick skill born of long practice. He straightened gazing up to the hurricane lantern silhouetted in the window in anticipation and excitement. “Ma-ma? It’s me, Thibault! Don’t shoot!” he laughed as his wife’s eyes flew wide in alarm until he explained the joke about his mother’s considerable skill with a pistol.

The story was told about a time when she had put a bullet through a man’s ear during an argument. The joke within the story revolved around whether or not she had missed. The woman in the boat carefully passed Thibault the infant she held wrapped in a blanket and he helped her to the dock. “Ma-ma, I’ve brought someone who would like to meet you!” Arm in arm, the young couple walked to the edge of the porch as the screen door flew open and Ma-ma Boudreaux rushed out.

“Thibault! Come in, come in! I’m so glad to see you! I have felt the water telling me all day that kin was coming! But, wait . . . who is this beautiful girl and this sleeping babe?” she asked in her lilting Cajun accent.

“Ma-ma, may I present to you my wife, Claire, and my son!” Thibault said beaming with pride.

Ma-ma Boudreaux crooned to the young woman holding the child in her arms as she gazed into her eyes, “Oh, oh, let me look at you. Such a beauty! You’re a beautiful girl. Oh, Thibault, you’ve brought home a beauty! And she has given you a son? Praise the almighty, the Boudreaux name lives on. What name have you given this man-child, Thibault?

“We have named him Jamie Thibault Boudreaux, Ma-ma. But, would you christen him for us and give us your blessing?”

“Me? Why yes, yes of course I will, Thibault. It is only right and proper that Cajun blood be christened with the water here on the bayou just as you were.”

Ma-ma Boudreaux asked Thibault to pour a little water from the kettle into a bowl to cool as Claire folded the blanket back from the sleeping infant and passed him carefully to his grandmother’s arms. As she held him up to see his face in the light of the lantern, the wind blew through the Spanish moss hanging in curtains from the cypress trees. Ma-ma Boudreaux gazed into the shining expectant faces of her son and his new wife at his side in the flickering light of the coal-oil lantern and remembering when her own husband, strong Andre was still alive with his dark eyes shining and she stood close by his side. Her eyes glistened from the memory as she dipped her hand into the warm water and placed her fingertips gently on the forehead of the sleeping infant.

Bowing her head, she began, “I, Adrienne Xavier Boudreaux ask this blessing with the water. Father God, please bless this little dear one and keep him safe through fair and foul.
 
Last edited:

FMJ

Technical Senior
I christen you Jamie Thibault Boudreaux, my lovely grandson. May you be blessed with long life and happiness all the days of your life. Amen.”

When Ma-ma Boudreaux withdrew her hand from the infant’s forehead, his dark eyes were open wide and he gazed unblinking at his grandmother, holding her within his gaze for a long moment before closing them again and drifting back to sleep without a sound.

“Oh, oh my,” Ma-ma Boudreaux flustered breathlessly as she stumbled and fought to keep her composure.

“Ma-ma! Are you alright? What’s wrong?” cried Thibault and Claire as they rushed to her side.

Recovering quickly, Ma-ma Boudreaux carefully passed the sleeping infant to Claire as she brushed their concerns aside saying, “Oh, don’t you worry. I’m just a foolish old woman. After I heard the water speak today, I was so excited to have kin coming home that I must have forgotten to eat something. Please, come sit, you both must be hungry too. I have plenty of fine shrimp creole in the pot and rice for us all.”

Claire cast worried glances between Ma-ma Boudreaux and Thibault but he just smiled and shook his head.
“It’s alright, that is her way. She will probably not say more,” was Thibault’s only response. After dinner, they made little Jamie a perfect bed within a bureau drawer where he dreamed as the wind blew in the tall cypress trees on the Louisiana bayou.
As Ma-ma Boudreaux was filling her pipe to smoke, Thibault produced a bottle of Irish whiskey and they all drank a toast to the future.

They talked long into the night while Ma-ma Boudreaux told them stories passed down through the generations of the Cajun peoples and the hardships they faced as they fought to survive, hunting and trapping from the far north down the great Mississippi River to the Louisiana delta country.
 

ted

Veteran Member
Rattling grandma when he was a newborn? What is in store for him? I need moar, Thank you.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
FMJ,

Thanks for the chapters....

Another great story unfolding....

Texican....
 

FMJ

Technical Senior
From the porch, they listened to the night songs of the frogs and the bugs punctuated by the occasional splash of a fish or the hoot of an owl for good measure.

When Thibault yawned with Claire drowsing on his shoulder, they reluctantly bid the matriarch good night and retired to their bed and their own dreams.

Ma-ma Boudreaux tapped the live coal out of her pipe into the ash bucket by the stove, retrieved her cane and quietly opened the screen door to walk outside. On the little dock, she looked up as the clouds parted to reveal a thin crescent moon. She stood listening to the ebb and flow of water in the bayou and the far away surge of the tide in the gulf.

Gazing up at the moon, she quietly said, “Oh Andre, for a moment, I crossed the gulf of time and you were right there in my arms. If you could only see him, Andre. Your grandson, Little Jamie has your eyes!”

The world turned and the water rose and fell while the wind blew and the little boy grew. Thibault and Claire brought Jamie back down home to visit his Grandma-ma every summer where he learned the lore of the bayou sitting at her knee. It was her way to teach with a story or a parable to serve as an example to make a lesson easy to remember. Jamie hunted with Thibault and fished with Ma-ma Boudreaux while Claire praised their efforts regardless of their degree of success.

Every day was a grand adventure in the summer bayou with another of Grandma-ma’s stories and it was a great time for little Jamie to be alive.
 

FMJ

Technical Senior
Thibault and Jamie baited home-made wire traps with salt pork to catch messes of crawfish and fished for white perch in deep pools on lazy summer afternoons. While frog gigging at night by lantern light, they would often see the red reflective eyes of gators. Thibault taught Jamie the space in between those reflective eyes was a good rule-of-thumb indicator of a gator’s size. A four-inch space meant a medium size gator and a twelve-inch space meant ‘paddle faster’ Jamie!

Ma-ma Boudreaux taught young Jamie the nature lore of the bayou and how everything was connected to the water. He learned the names of constellations in the night sky and how to find his way using only the stars for direction. He learned to name birds by their songs and how to imitate them. Ma-ma Boudreaux taught him where to find edible as well as medicinal plants that grew in the woods, marshes and bayous. Under her experienced hand, he learned to recognize and avoid venomous snakes while quietly threading the numerous game trails. Recognizing and respecting the territorial displays of animals became an interesting subject for Jamie who quickly drew human parallels and began to form his own rudimentary psychology. Sometimes, it was hard for his grandmother to keep up.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Jamie, the young Boudreaux, is learning life's needed lessons from his grandmother....

Thanks FMJ for the chapter....

Texican....
 

FMJ

Technical Senior
(2)​

The year that Jamie celebrated nine summers had been eventful. Thibault was promoted to a job with better pay and they had moved to a new house in a different neighborhood. Never one to make new friends quickly or easily, Jamie had felt ‘up-rooted’ due to the mid-year school change and missed his childhood friends.
When they came to visit Ma-ma Boudreaux on the bayou that summer, the boy was quiet and withdrawn. His grandmother respected his silence, keeping her peace and asking him no questions knowing he would eventually say what was on his mind. She sat on the simple bench by the dock for hours where he sat watching the turtles, frogs and fish.
Ma-ma Boudreaux was ready to discuss whatever problem was troubling the young man, whether it be leaving the familiarity of his childhood home, losing his friends when he had to change schools or even not liking his new teachers. Maybe it could even be a girl!

Jamie drew in a deep breath and straightened himself as he turned to look at his grandmother with his dark eyes.

“Grand ma-ma? Please tell me about my Grand pa-pa. Tell me about your, Andre,” he asked with wide-eyed innocence. Ma-ma Boudreaux was taken aback suddenly remembering the loss of balance she felt as she gazed deep into Jamie’s dark eyes and felt his presence at the christening.

With greater frequency over the last couple of years, Jamie had been able to ask questions that took his grandmother by complete surprise. She had reluctantly, on more than one occasion, been forced to reassess the depth of the boy’s understanding. Perhaps, this was once again, one of those times.

“Yes, Jamie. What would you like to know about your Grand pa-pa?” she replied quietly.
 

FMJ

Technical Senior
“When I asked Pa-pa, he told me my Grand pa-pa was a soldier, but he would not tell me more. I can tell he doesn’t want to talk about him but I don’t know why. I want to know more about him; is that wrong?”

“The reason it hurts your Pa-pa to talk about your Grand pa-pa is because he died when your Pa-pa was nine years old, the very same age that you are now,” Ma-ma Boudreaux explained gently.

Jamie turned away to look down into the water that slowly swirled below his bare feet as he choked out, “I made Pa-pa remember losing him, didn’t I?”

“Jamie, you have done nothing wrong. It is not your fault,” Ma-ma Boudreaux quickly added. Ma-ma Boudreaux knelt down to gather the boy into her arms where he clung to her burying his face to hide his tears. She held the boy close till the shuddering stopped and he turned his tear streaked face up to hers. “Grand ma-ma, will you tell me about my Grand pa-pa?”

“Jamie, you remind me more of your Grand pa-pa than you know. First though, if I am to tell you about your Grand pa-pa, you need to know that he and I were both soldiers.”
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
FMJ,

Many paths the story is leading too....

Thanks,

Texican....
 

FMJ

Technical Senior
Jamie gaped at this new bit of previously unknown information but he held back his questions as his grandmother continued. “Your Grand pa-pa and I met in basic training, decided that we were meant to be career military and served in many parts of the world. We rose through the ranks and became specialists, called ‘operators’ in our jobs. That means we were very good at what we did and participated in special missions. We also taught other soldiers what we learned so they could become better at their jobs, too.

After serving four tours of duty, we retired from active service but soon discovered that we both regretted returning to a civilian lifestyle so suddenly and decided instead to try our hand as mercenaries. That means we became soldiers for hire.
We worked protecting people in some very bad places for money and because of our experience, we gained a reputation for being able to accomplish impossible things. As a result, people with no honor wanted us to work for them, but we refused and kept our honor. Eventually, we decided that the time had come to return home and settle down. To the place we both knew and loved..., this place, my dear Jamie.”

“Now I understand why Pa-pa always says, Ma-ma, It’s me Thibault, don’t shoot,” laughed Jamie to his grandmother’s delight.

“Yes, Jamie, your Pa-pa had to learn at an early age that even the bayou can be a dangerous place. When your Pa-pa says, ‘it’s me Thibault, don’t shoot’, it’s just our little joke today, but there was a time when it was not.”

Jamie wiped his nose on his sleeve and asked, “Grand Ma-ma, if I ever come to visit you by myself, I will say, ‘it’s me, Jamie, don’t shoot.’ Okay?”

“Yes, Jamie, my little soldier. That will be okay and I will know it is you.”

“Grand Ma-ma? Can I ask you another question?” Jamie said looking up into his grandmother’s eyes.

“Of course, dear Jamie. If I know the answer, I will tell you,” she smiled down at her grandson.
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....

“Grand Ma-ma? Can I ask you another question?” Jamie said looking up into his grandmother’s eyes.


Just what will be Jamie's question????

Only FMJ knows....

On to the next chapter to find out....

Texican....
 

FMJ

Technical Senior
“Well, you told me that the water tells you about things, but I can’t hear the water. You said that some of those things are happening now, but some haven’t happened yet, right?”

“Yes, that’s right. But you must remember, I had to listen for a very long time before I first heard the water. Just because you can’t hear the water now doesn’t mean that you will never be able to do so.”

Jamie drew his knees up to his chest as he sat quietly and thought about the things his grandmother had said while they sat on the little dock.

“Was that your question, Jamie, about the water?” inquired his grandmother quietly.

“No, Grand Ma-ma, I’ve never talked about this to anyone, not even Ma-ma. I’ve never heard the water like you, but I need to know something else. Can you hear things in the wind?” Jamie implored, his dark eyes shining. “Do you hear..., voices in the wind, Grand Ma-ma? Sometimes, they are so loud that I can’t hear anything else.”

For Ma-ma Boudreaux, the world lurched and tilted abruptly and if she had not been seated on the bench firmly propped with her cane, she might have fallen.
As it was, she had held very still till the world became steady again before she quietly continued, “Jamie, my Andre, your Grand Pa-pa, could hear voices in the wind.”

“Then, it’s okay that I can hear something that no one else can hear, Grand Ma-ma?”

“Oh yes, dear Jamie. It’s alright that you can hear these things. Hearing the wind is your ability, your gift. Like my gift is being able to hear the water. We will keep this thing to ourselves for now, like a secret because some people outside the bayou might not understand and those people fear what they do not understand.”
 

FMJ

Technical Senior
“Will you teach me to understand my gift, Grand Ma-ma?”

“Oh yes, dear Jamie, I will teach you all I know. Tell me, do you hear anything in the wind now?”

“Oh, Grand Ma-ma, there are many voices in the wind. They mostly scream for help, but sometimes they just scream like they are hurt and it’s scary. Sometimes, it’s so loud it makes my head hurt.”

“Do you hear them now?”

“Yes, Grand Ma-ma. It comes and goes, but today I have heard nothing else. I am so happy to be able to tell someone else about this. I was afraid something was wrong with me.”

“Which direction are the voices coming from, my dear Jamie?”

“That way is the loudest now,” Jamie explained pointing.

“Hmm, to the east, then. Let me listen to the water for a moment.”

Ma-ma Boudreaux sat quietly on the bench in the sunshine and listened to the calm water in Little Bayou Pigeon that eventually made its way down to the gulf and in turn touched the Atlantic Ocean. She could readily feel the strength of the waves and the rising tide, but there, riding behind it all was the surge of a vast storm carrying with it the potential for terrible harm.

She abruptly straightened realizing the significance of the voices Jaime had heard on the wind and the warning in the water. “Jamie! Go find your Pa-pa and tell him a storm is coming and we must prepare!”

“A storm, Grand Ma-ma? But there isn’t any wind and there aren’t even any clouds in the sky. The sun is shining. What did the water say?” asked the boy in confusion.
“Tell your Pa-pa a storm is coming. He will know what must be done.”
 

Texican

Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
FMJ,

Grandmother hears the water and the grandson hears the wind....

Great warning abilities....

Thanks for the chapters....

Texican....
 

Sportsman

Veteran Member
Thank you.
Okay, I started reading tonight and caught up already.
Pray tell, what is the wind and water telling them? The storm?
More, please.
 

FMJ

Technical Senior
(3)​

A flat bottom skiff slid silently up to the little dock and a young man stepped out. Kneeling upon the dock and bowing his head, he called out, “Marraine! Are you here? It is I, Henri Rousseau! Marraine, are you alright?”

“Yes, Henri,” Ma-ma Boudreaux said walking out onto the porch. “I am here and I am well. My son, Thibault and his wife Claire and their son have come to visit. Is your Pa-pa better, Henri? The wound in his leg; it is improving I trust?”

“Oh, yes, Marraine! Less than a day after you treated him with the poultice, the red streaks of infection stopped their spread and the swelling began to go down. He remembers nothing though; he was delirious from the fever.”

“Do you still have enough of the chamomile and honey salve left to dress the wound like I showed you, Henri? Do you need more bandages?”

“No, I still have plenty, Marraine. Thank you for coming to help us. If not for you, I don’t know if he would have survived the night. I believe you saved my father’s life and I don’t know how we will ever repay you, Marraine.”

“You are welcome, Henri. Acadians have always helped one another in times of need. It is our way, never forget that. You will repay me many times over by using the skills you have learned to help someone else in the future, Henri. This is all I ask of you,” Ma-ma Boudreaux said with a smile.
 

FMJ

Technical Senior
“Oh, Marraine!” Henri exclaimed suddenly remembering. “The reason I have come; Pa-pa told me to go quick and tell you, on the radio they are talking about a tropical storm in the Atlantic. They said the winds were picking up speed very quickly and it might become a hurricane. On the marine short wave, Marraine, they said the storm could be a bad one.”

“Thank you for coming so far to warn us, Henri. They may be right. I have heard the storm in the water, and my grandson has heard voices calling in the wind.”

“In..., in the wind, Marraine? Like..., like Monsieur Boudreaux could? Pa-pa told me that he could..., oh, Marraine! I must get back home and tell Pa-pa that you have heard this storm in the wind and the water. He will want to know this. Good bye and be careful, Marraine, I love you.”

“I love you, too, Henri, my dear godson. May the Lord watch over us all.”

The young man stood, stepped back into the skiff and with a final wave, poled quickly through the calm sun-dappled water back the way he had come.
 

ted

Veteran Member
Thank you, very different than what I have been reading yet not so different. (Bet no one understands that!)
 

RememberGoliad

redneck packrat
Thank you for this story. I'm enjoying it much!

I don't have any coonass in my family tree (that I know of, anyway) but Dad could read...or feel... the sky. It'd be a day looked like any other day and he'd walk up to where I was servicing the combine and tell me to drop the greasegun and get to the field because the "sky looks funny". Usually he was more like "go over it all again, be sure you didn't miss anything." Sure enough, a few hours later clouds would be coming up.

One Sunday during planting, we went over early afternoon to have supper later. (Unless there was some real urgency we didn't work Sundays except harvest.) We were sitting outside and I noticed he was rubbing his hands, kinda like rolling dice or little balls around in your palm. He kept doing this and looking out to the northwest. Clear as a bell, I couldn't see anything wrong. After a couple hours of this, he said that we needed to go plant the low spots on the homeplace or we wouldn't get in there until April. And we should plant crossways to how we usually run the rows. So much for the meat burn. I thought he was on crack or something but had learned by then that when Dad said, it happened. Long story short, we got four inches of rain right after dark. And the crossways planting kept the seed from floating out and winding up in the drainage ditch.

I've got a little of that but nowhere near his accuracy or self-assurance that I see/know what I'm looking at. Could be all the geo-engineering and weather modification going on now kinda throws all the natural action/reaction sequences out the window.
 
Top