Figs always remind me of all the MawMaws and Matriarchs I’ve had in my life.
Every house with that distinctive MawMaw smell also had a fig tree in the yard. Unfortunately, I don’t like figs. Something about them always disturbed me. Visually they reminded me of brains and texturally they just felt wrong. Luckily my MawMaws and Tantes made dozens of things out of figs including cake.
Along with have the amazing ability to make something out of anything, the matriarchs in my life had a very no-nonsense attitude. I still think back to some of those overheard kitchen conversations where they would lay down little nuggets of wisdom for me to pick up. Considering our current social and political atmosphere I think back on these more and more. I think if we all followed our MawMaws advice we would be happier as a people.
“It’s not your job to judge people. That’s God’s job and you aren’t God.”
“All you do when you argue with crazy people is make yourself crazy.”
“Never treat someone bad because of their job. All jobs need someone to do them.”
“Always work and be proud of what you're doing. Even if your digging ditches, be proud and make sure you dig the best ditches you can.”
“A baby should never be punished for their parent's sins.”
“If you don’t have everything you want, that's good. You will always have something to look forward too.”
“There is no point in fighting with someone who doesn’t care about hurting you. They will just keep fighting so they can hurt you more.”
“Never leave your roux. As soon as you leave it will burn.”
“Always keep Kleenex in your purse.” Just a little side note this wasn’t for tears, instead, it was so she could smuggle chicken from buffets.
“People tell you who they are, it is your fault if you don’t listen.”
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“No one likes a braggart or a whiner.”
Last but not least
“Brush ya hair, Brush ya teeth and Wash ya ass.” Hey, I said they were strong women, not perfect ladies.
I think this is the perfect place to put the one page my MawMaw Hebert wrote in her journal. It’s not perfect English but for that generation of Cajuns, English was not their first language and access to education was not what it is today. I love her ending, maybe we all should just work hard and try to be happy together.
“We work hard but we was happy together”