The apparent correct spelling for “pock” in French is paque, like paque les oeuf (tap and break egg), and Jour de Paque for Easter Day.
For years I had thought that his version of how Parks was named made sense. But then I remembered reading an article in the Teche News years ago about the history of Parks, so I decided to do a little research. The newspaper edition of April 2, 1986, contained an article by Charlene Harrison in which a Mrs. Maraist revealed in the written memoirs of the late Mrs. Paul Melancon: “‘... in 1900, my husband bought a farm seven miles from St. Martinville at a place called Parks, as the railroad station there was called.’ The train depot was named “Pac” in French. Mrs. Maraist explains that “some people say that it was Easter time when the first train passed through here so they started calling it “Pac” which was later translated to Parks. Others say the conductor’s name was a Mr. Parks. There is evidence in old volumes of the Weekly Messenger that an L. J. Parks was indeed a ticket agent for the Southern Pacific railroad, though it is not positively known if he is the man for which the town was named.”
Easter time is celebrated worldwide, with religious ceremonies commemorating the rebirth of Jesus, and customs having to do with spring, rabbits, chocolates and eggs. Most of the games people play at Easter time involve eggs. One such game is tossing raw eggs. The first one to drop and break his egg is the loser and must pay a penalty such as giving up a piece of his Easter candy. This game is similar to the very popular egg and spoon game.
In Acadiana the “pocking” tradition begins with family and friends boiling and dyeing eggs. For those not familiar with egg-pocking, the game’s objective is to crack the other person’s egg. Each winner crowns a champion who will then go on to pocking another person’s egg, until a final winner is selected.
The rules of the game are as follows; first pock the smaller end of the egg against the other person’s smaller or “pointed” end, then do the same with the other or larger end until both ends of the egg are cracked. Chicken eggs can only be pocked against chicken eggs.Cheaters will sometimes try to slip in a guinea egg, which has a much harder shell. All cheaters will be disqualified but if not detected will have a big laugh at the unsuspected losers.
The history of Parks reminded me of Easter time. I hope that this year every family in Acadiana enjoys dyeing eggs, play egg games, and eating leftover boiled eggs – in particular my favorite, potato salad made with leftover dyed eggs.
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