SPANISH MOSS AND PALMETTO LEAVES
mattress on my parents' bed got bigger and bigger with each hunting season.
It was stuffed with goose and duck feathers plucked from the game Dad brought
home. We each had a big feather pillow, too, but we slept on moss
had that feather mattress when he died, and Dee took it home to Texas when
we cleaned out his apartment. She had it made into several plump
feather comforters, and gave one to each of her siblings. I think
mine finished its life folded into a mattress which I put into the big
cradle that my husband built for Cissi. That cradle was big enough
for two babies, painted white and I had put pretty little decals on it.
The cabin in the marsh that this family lived in had a palmetto roof. They had cut and trimmed palmetto leaves and laid them in an overlapping pattern to form a good solid roof to keep out the rain. It was very efficient. I spent the night with this family once and it rained. There is no sound quite like the sound of rain on a palmetto roof. (The metal roof I have now runs a close second.)
Palmetto leaves were used for other things as well. There was some growing down by the bayou, and Grandpa cut a few nice leaves every year for Mom to make into fans, which we used to keep cool during the hot, muggy summer. She made palmetto fly swatters, too. We tried weaving strips of palmetto leaves into hats one year, but they didn't turn out too well, so we dug out our old tattered straw hats we had used the previous summer, and bound the frayed brims with strips of fabric, like Mom bound the edges of the fans she made.
I guess "times" were hard when I was a kid, but I never felt underprivileged. I learned to be creative, to use what was on hand to fashion things I wanted. We never thought of it as "making do" - we were too busy doing. That was the Cajun way.
Copyright © 2001 Aline T. Meaux, Abbeville, LA
this window to return to the "On the Bayou..." listings
(Left click on the "X" in upper right-hand corner of this window.)