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Loss or Lagnappe?

March 24, 2011

Spring has come to OklahomaSpring has come to Oklahoma.  Sunny, longer, breezy days.  Okay the days are sunny, longer, and windy, but springlike nevertheless.  In the warmth of the sun we could almost forget the recent blasts of winter. Who wouldn’t want to forget?  After all, Snowmageddon  followed by Snowpocalyse paralyzed our state resulting in significant loss.  People lost power and income. Their property was damaged and their lives were compromised.  But what if there are things worth remembering?  Things that weren’t lost, but gained?

The word “Lagniappe” came into the rich Creole dialect of New Orleans around 1849, and is still used in the Gulf states, especially southern Louisiana. “Lagniappe” is a little bonus that a friendly shopkeeper might add to a purchase. It has been broadened to mean “an extra or unexpected gift or benefit”.

As the first week of the 2011 “blizzard” passed, I began to find “unexpected gifts” scattered in conversation, facebook entries, and my own experience. By the time roads began to clear I had witnessed the “unexpected gifts” of people spending time in the kitchen baking bread, making potato soup, cooking comfort food together, and recreating childhood food favorites.  As days passed I read facebook entries of families sitting at the dinner table eating home cooked meals, talking and laughing together.


We gathered around fireplaces to play games, tell stories, and cook smores. We helped shovel porches and driveways.  Grownups and children had snowball fights, made snow angels,  and went sledding. We worked, played, and connected as families, friends, community.


What could be better than the “benefit” of the winter lagniappe of 2011? Perhaps gathering around the table with people we love, for a home cooked meal, followed by an evening of playing games together.  Not because we’re trapped at home by a winter snowstorm, but because we chose to give and receive the “unexpected gift” of purposeful connection.

Lagniappe indeed!

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