Cajun Homecoming

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 25, 2020 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | Comments Off on Cajun Homecoming


As we drive, fly, or find our seat on a Greyhound, many make the trek back home to gather around the table for good conversation and incredible food. – But, this year is different. – No matter where we find ourselves sitting or what dinner we’re having. – Let the reminder of past Thanksgiving’s warm our hearts, and allow us to look forward to when we’ll all be sitting around the family table again soon.

I worked with a gent who was from Louisiana. – Most are proud of where we came from, but he was defined by coming from the Big Easy. – His voice was a cross between a pure southern gentleman and Foghorn Leghorn. Everyone has character, but not everyone is a character. Except for Roy. He was a crayon that didn’t fit in the box with the others.

( In the voice of a roused up Foghorn) – ” Eddie, you people up here have no idea of what the f*** Thanksgiving is all about. You dumba** Kentucky folks only try and do your best. But, it’s no way close to home. Fair Grounds opened on Thanksgiving and the cajun riders would all come home for the celebration, but more importantly to ride where the best jockeys in the country come from.” – Names like Guidry, Simington, Ardoin, St. Julien, Borel, Meche, Emigh, Delahoussaye, Desormeaux, and Melancon just to name some of the best.

Roy would light up a Camel non-filter one right after the last, and tell me about some of the great traditions. He had a particular way of educating you on the finer things of southern living. – ” Eddie, now you’re a dumba** and have no idea. Women would cook for days and we would eat all day. – Did you know New Orleans had the biggest per cap of fat men in the country? – We would start with some bread and gravy. No, not chicken gravy, but a true Italian gravy of meatballs, pork, sausage, and spices. – We would have a little lunch and off to the races.” 

Foghorn made the day sound like an event. – His tales of great racing were interesting, but his style was a little lacking tact. Roy put the ass in class when it came time to imparting holiday traditions. – But, every year we worked together, he would dress up in black slacks, a black shirt, and a black and white tie covered in dice. I guess this was his costume for the day and would get more wound up as the first at Fair Grounds approached.

I loved hearing about the riders and storied connections. There was a tradition of racing and this goof was a proud member. – He would tell the same tale of how he lost all day and won in the last with $10 to win on Don Simington in the race. He had ridden 3,427 career wins and paid a whopping $103 to win. – I guess he was ready for rounds two, three, and four of family dining.

I love learning about new traditions and cherished days of opening days at the track. – He used to say there was a “magic” about Fair Grounds when the gates would swing open and friends and family would come from everywhere to take part. – “Eddie, I like to call it Cajun homecoming.” 

Past the insults and poor imitation of Foghorn Leghorn was a man who loved his birthplace. – The stories of racing were incredible, and the food sounded like ambrosia. – Looking back, I sure miss Roy. I’d sure like to hear the stories of Cajun homecoming just one more time. He’s been gone for years now, but his spirit lives on. When I’m watching the Fair Grounds first and grilling steaks and lobster on the barbeque for my son and myself this year. I’ll be thinking about Roy. I’ll be thinking about Thanksgiving’s past, and most importantly what we have to be grateful for. – From your friends at Winning Ponies, we’d like to wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving no matter what you’re having, or if you’re celebrating long-standing traditions. Be safe, and know that next year is just around the corner.