Family keeps tradition

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 26, 2008

NATCHEZ — Twenty-one relatives spanning over four generations — from ages 4 to 73 — gathered together on Christmas day to uphold tradition.

The Bedson and the Gibsons met at Leah Bedson’s house Christmas morning to tear through Christmas presents and a hearty Christmas lunch of brisket, greens, gumbo and other fixings.

“We all pitch in and bring something,” Leah Bedson said.

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Leah Bedson said the family has been gathering together on Thanksgiving and Christmas for 16 years.

“I’m not from the South so when we moved here, we didn’t know anyone so the family stayed together,” she said.

And as it grew, so did the tradition.

Leah Bedson said no one misses the gathering — it’s just an absolute in the family’s lives.

“If you don’t show up you’re in trouble,” family member Jamie Gibson said.

The four children, ages 4 to 6, opened their presents first, and the living room carpet was found laden with Battleship pieces and remote control cars.

After lunch, the adults engaged in a rousing round of Cajun Christmas.

Leah Bedson said this is the first year the family has done Cajun Christmas, and it’s because the family has gotten so large.

The adults sat in a circle, drew numbers and selected presents from a pile in the middle of the living room floor.

The commotion grew as the pile dwindled and family members danced with glee with they stole a desired present and groaned with good-hearted disappointment as said present was snatched right back.

The family dogs — three out of the five — ran from room to room, the children bounced and played and voices competed to be the loudest in the room.

“Large and loud,” Gibson said of the family gatherings. “There’s no other word but loud.”

When the presents were opened and each family member accepted the present Cajun Christmas fate or strategy handed them, they moved outside for the traditional game of horseshoes and Bocce Ball.