I have discovered something fantastic while living in Louisiana. I have discovered the spirit of Mardi Gras.
I am sure when you think of Mardi Gras, the first picture that comes to your mind is drunken party-girls screaming and lifting their shirts, bareing their breasts for a set of beads. But here in our little city, it isn't like that at all. I have totally fallen in love with everything about Mardi Gras in our area...the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people...
Mardi Gras started this year right after people started taking down their Christmas decorations, replacing them with wreaths and garlands of purple, green, and gold. As the festival got closer, people started putting up decorative rope/garland/flag fences around their yards along the parade routes....I still can't figure out if these ropes are to keep people in...or to keep them out. Because, even if the yards got roped off, people still stand there for the parades anyway.
From our previous post, you know that the Big Apple particpated in a shoebox float competition. Little did we know just how seriously kids take their shoebox floats around here. When we took Big Apple's float in and dropped it off at the library, I knew immediatly that we were out of our league when I saw floats attached to remote control cars and floats with lights and sounds.
But fortunately for us, another Mardi Gras tradition lives on...the Krewe of _____ Elementary School Parade! Anyone that had a decorated wagon was welcome to participate. The Big Apple was specially chosen to ride in a float. She had the biggest smile on her face as she rode around in her little wagon float, throwing beads to everyone standing on the side of the road. The float, I thought looked like an igloo, but someone said that it was a King Cake. You be the judge. It was such fun for her...quite possibly the most fun moment that she has had at that school this year. Did I mention that schools are closed 3 days for Mardi Gras. My girls were very happy about that.
We attended 4 other parades over the weekend. The parade's atmosphere itself is very special. People pull their pickup trucks right up to the parade street, lower the tailgate and grill their lunch. The icecream man drives his truck up and down the street, chiming "When the Saints Go Marching In", and charging double price. The highschool marching bands practice their tunes under the overpasses of the highway, and the floatriders organize their throws and costumes. It's all very fun and festive.
I made a sign to commemorate our very first Mardi Gras.The sign worked. A little too well, in fact. You can see the Big Apple hiding behind the sign in this picture because one particular float rider read the sign, and proceeded to throw an entire ARMLOAD of bead in our direction. I later counted 5 clusters of 12 necklaces that that woman had thrown. The massive amount of beads hit my daughter in the head and the weight leveled her to the ground. She was pretty shook up for a while, and later asked if she could wear her bike helmet to the next parade. But she continued to either stand behind the sign or behind me for the rest of that parade. The floats are gorgeous...some very elaborate, some not so much. Some of the smaller ones are not much more than a flat bed truck with a couple of recliners thrown on the back. All very fun, and add to the flavor of the event.
Then there is the loot. I am afraid that my dining room table is in danger of collapsing under the weight of all the loot that we brought home from the parades. Don't believe me? See for yourself.....
Anybody need beads? We have plenty. Our favorite throws you ask? The Little Apple likes a blinking pacifier and a baby doll. The Big Apple has enjoyed some sidewalk chalk, while The Middle has favored some of the many stuffed animals tossed her way. My husband has enjoyed the beads with medallions on them, and I like the cups with lids, myself. I will be using them to enjoy my ice water this summer.
It's been a great Mardi Gras season. And now onto Lent. Did I mention I am giving up OREOs for the next 40 days for Lent? If I seem a bit irritable for the next couple of weeks, you know why.