for the life of me, I can't give a coherent account of mardi Gras, so I will tell you in a series of vignettes why I feel Mardi Gras is a time apart from the rest of life, that time spent at Mardi gras doesn't count in making you older...
teenagers that I have loved & taken to parades since they were babies (I call them my Mardi Gras orphans) lying all about my floor sleeping, unformed faces looking like the children they were up until oh so recently...
My oldest daughter, who hasn't been to a parade in 3 years , sitting on the barricade with the tens, covered in beads & screaming "I forgot how much fun this was!"
the Merry Widows...oh, dear, this will require some background...after the Late Unpleasantness (which is what we refer to the Civil War in these parts) our city was occupied by Union troops & public gathereings were forbidden. A young man by the name of Joseph Stillwell Cain had a bit of high spirits, broke into a friends hardware store, borrowed a rake & a cowbell & proceeded to parade down the street dressed as an indian, stating he was having a parade of his own! Several friends joined him & so was born the Joe Cain Procession, which today is as large as Mardi Gras Day! The celebration was originally held in an old cemetary, where people picniced on family plots & danced on old Joe's grave. It got too big for that,but the mysterious Merry widows, who are reputed to be ladies of high society, but no one knows because their identities are kept secret behind black veils, wail & moan & throw themselves upon the grave in hilarious silliness!
A little girl on Daddy's shoulders, screaming in joyful terror at the Dragon, a huge float that breathes fire, giving me memories of myself as a child.,upon shoulders that are no more...
Cas & Ian , my nephews by heart, not blood, ordering virgin Pina Coladas in a restaurant , having them delivered in a martini glass with a cherry & their embarrassment at having such an unmanly drink. Cas banged his down on the table & it broke in his hand!
My friends 5 year old's utter amazement at having a stranger hand her a giant stuffed animal
We stand at the same spot every year & it is perfectly acceptable to politely ask people to scoot over,
Things thrown from a float that land by your feet are yours & aren't picked up by others unless they are handed to you.
You hug strangers & wish them HappyMardi Gras!