For today’s potato blog, we can thank [or curse (: ] the inspiration from my writer pal Aine Greaney. Apparently, not all the ladies are in my head.
Aine wrote a thoughtful post on her blog (http://writerwithadayjob.com/) about the hard-working people we should remember on Labor Day, including her da, who dug a lot of potatoes, and Seamus Heaney, a Noble Laureate poet who wrote about pens and potatoes. (Just look at her blog.)
Which got me thinking about Acadians and potatoes.
In 2010, brother Glenn and I visited Le Pays de la Sagouine (http://www.sagouine.com/) in Bouctouche, New Brunswick. I’d been looking online for something ancestral when up popped Viola Leger’s name and an advert that “for the first time” she would perform La Sagouine by Antonine Maillet in English. Whatever that force is that compels us to do things without our conscious awareness, it took over and I said “I’m going.”
Ms. Leger (http://www.nfb.ca/film/viola_leger_together) was born in Fitchburg MA, about 25 miles from where I live. Perhaps that had something to do with the front and center dinner-theatre table seating we had. Perhaps that was just Acadian hospitality. We were grateful and enthralled. So…
We spent the following day on the Isle of Fleas (where Le Pays is housed), and, though not fluent enough in French to understand all that was said, we had enough language memory to follow the antics of the musicians and actors.
Which brings me back to potatoes. Glenn and I talked about this, so we both think it’s true. There’s a Cajun/Acadian song called “Lâche pas la patate,” which translate literally as “don’t drop the potato.”
One of the performers at Le Pays sang a slant version. We’re fairly sure he said “lâche ma patate” and that the verses were colorful. From what I remember, the song took him around the world dropping potatoes, or whatever they were a stand in for. Maybe someday we’ll go back and find out.
In the meantime, Lâche pas la patate – don’t give up — seems a pretty good maxim as many of us face the vagaries of the changing workplace.
Aine’s da didn’t, and neither did our Acadian forebears.
Vive la patate! Ne la lache pas.