Like most dogs, I love romping in the forest, chasing squirrels and rabbits and just nosing around. This was one of those afternoons when you never know what's going to happen.
I was way down river from the house, a place I'd never been to before. Something was wrong with my nose--it was twitching. Then it was sniffing. Sniffing about the best smell it ever snuffed up.
My nose pointed me down river and took me to a boggy area. Not swampy, there aren't any swamps in Oregon but maybe marshy. I rounded this bend and found myself in a clearing. In the center of the clearing was a small house; a shack maybe, and it was up on stilts and the smells were coming from there. They were cooking smells and they were wonderful.
I crept up close. Just as I started up the porch stairs this old man came busting out the front door swinging a broom yelling, "Git you outta'ere you thivin' dog!"
I couldn't understand a word he said but I understand what a swinging broom means and I set a new Rhodesian Ridgeback dog speed record in the "across the clearing dash."
The next afternoon I was running again, this time after a rabbit. He was quick but made the error of jumping under a hollow log. I went in right after him and got him.
I was taking the rabbit down to the river to enjoy him there, when I encountered that wonderful smell again. It led me along like I was on a leash until I found myself in the clearing again. I didn't approach the shack this time.
Suddenly I heard this stomping sound right behind me. It was the old man. I was so startled that I dropped the rabbit and ran to the edge of the clearing.
The old man chuckled and said "Hey dog, Mebbe ya ain't really a thivin' dog. Guess I don min of ay wan to stay seeings how yas brought the groceries wit ya".
With that he picked up my rabbit went onto the porch of his house, skinned and cut-up my rabbit, and proceeded to make himself some of the worlds best smelling rabbit stew.
But when it was done, he split it into two portions and gave me half, saying, "Hey boy, how ya lik dis kind ah cooked rabbit?"
I still had trouble understanding what he said but this dog sure knows what to do with a plate of food. I'd never tasted anything like it, this was great. I ate it all and almost ate the plate.
The old man stroked his full white beard and laughed at me saying, "Boy, cm bak anytime. Ya shore is a gud fren."
And I did come back, most every afternoon. Sometimes he cooked his own food, sometimes he'd cook game I brought, and sometimes neither of us had anything to eat. Most of the times he would tell me stories or sing to me in his funny way.
Many people think dogs can't tell good food but we really can. And this was the greatest cooking I had ever tasted, except the time he made crawfish. Crawfish--yuck!
All of that time I'm still living at home of course, and Chris has been wondering why I was gone most afternoons, I hadn't been eating much of my dog food, yet I was gaining weight. There was no way I could tell her of course; but one day without my knowing, she followed me when I went down the river. She followed me all the way to the old man's shack.
Chris came into the clearing just as I jumped up on to his porch. The old man sees Chris and shouts "Who you?"
Chris says, "Hi there, that's P.C., he's my dog."
The old man shook his head and said "No, ain't no bodies dog. Dogs is God's creaturs, just like peoples is. Peoples shouldn't own dogs any better dan peoples should own udder peoples".
"No," Chris tells him. "He's mine because I bought him and paid for him and he lives with me, and my name's Chris and I'm pleased to meet you."
The old man laughs and says to me, "P.C.'s yore nam be it. Ok P.C., let Chris ere call you 'herdog' an you jus call her 'yo peoples'."
To Chris he says, "My nam's LeGaux, mos fok call me Grandpa', that's okay you can eat some fixins with us."
Well Chris did stay and she and grandpa LeGuax got along like old friends and grandpa made his Jambalaya and something called Maque Shoux (mak shoo) which is corn and onions and a bunch of other stuff chopped together. He split it up into three portions and gave us each a plate.
Chris ate some then said, "Now I know why that dog's been getting so fat--this is wonderful! What kind of cooking is this?"
"Dis here's Cajun cookin', grandpa told her, "dis here's food what my momma tat me how to make and her momma her an' so on an' so on."
I thought, "Cajun huh? Now I've heard of everything. I've met Afghans and Labradors and I've even met a Cocker Spaniel once but his is the first time I've heard of 'Cajuns'."
Chris came back to grandpa's place with me many times and tasted a variety of his cooking. One day she asked him, "These recipes you use are incredibly good, why don't you write them down and make a cook book?"
Grandpa said, "Yup," and that's just what they did. Chris wrote them down word for word just the way grandpa talked, because she felt that the way he talked was part of the flavor of the recipes too. And they made this Cajun cookin' book so everyone could share.
Well I know a lot of you would like to try these recipes and I think grandpa might be able to use some extra money, so if you'll send in five dollars, I'll make sure you get your book and grandpa gets his money.
Now that's the good news. The bad news is that Chris and grandpa agreed I was getting a little plump. And it was ok for grandpa to feed me or for Chris to feed me, just not both. Oh well, the woods are still full of rabbits.
The most important thing to remember from all of this is that dogs like good food too, just like people.
It's a beautiful day and I'm a little hungry. Think I'll go see what's cookin' at grandpa's.