Monday, February 28, 2011

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras - french translation meaning 'Fat Tuesday'.

I'm sitting here wasting time on the computer and grab my plastic cup of water and take a sip. As I set it back down on my desk I notice that it has the Mardi Gras schedule printed on the side of it. As I scan the dates I realize that Mardi Gras is now in procession back home. The plastic cup is one of the many that I have collected from parades over the many years of living in the city of Mardi Gras's origin.

You read right. Mardi Gras actually started in Mobile, Alabama in 1703 when it was a colony of French soldiers. After having survived a particularly nasty bout with yellow fever, they decided to celebrate, but since party favors were few and far between in the New World, the men opted to paint their faces red and just act crazy for a few hours....I'm sure they were probably hitting the bottle pretty hard also. Either way, they must have had fun because it became an annual event.

There are many uninformed individuals that believe Mardi Gras began in New Orleans...possibly because New Orleans's celebration is much larger and more well known.

My confession: In my 40 plus years of living in Mobile I never knew these facts until my history buff hubby enlightened me. Shame on me...I guess I didn't pay much attention in my Alabama History class.

Or maybe it was because I never really liked Mardi Gras in the first place. I can remember my parents taking me and my brother a couple of times as kids. All I remember is being trampled by over enthusiastic folks rushing to grab moon pies, beads and other trinkets. I could never see the parades because I was too short and there were too many people. As a child it was all too overwhelming to be fun.

I think mom and dad finally decided that it was not worth the effort to take us into the mass of over-indulgent crowds.

Then next time I ventured to Mardi Gras was when I was a teen. I had a friend who lived downtown close to the parade route so we headed there to find our spot behind the barricade and wait. I don't remember much about that night other than I had a bit too much 'liquid courage' and I tripped over one of the fallen barricades. Some paraders laughed at me and my friend took it upon herself to defend me and 'kick some ass' as we redneck girls liked to call it. Needless to say, we ended up escorted from the parade route.

The next time I remember going to the parades was with my ex and my son. Somehow it always ended up no fun then either. I was always the designated driver back then for a reason. Babysitting a partying hubby is never fun during Mardi Gras.

Heck maybe I'm just jealous that none of the floaters never asked me to show them my boobs for beads....

The very last experience I had with Mardi Gras was a couple of years before I moved to ATX. I have to admit those times were the best. I can remember a couple of pleasant experiences at Mardi Gras. Nonetheless, it's not one of the things I miss the most about Mobile...

That said, since moving to Texas, for whatever reason, every Mardi Gras season I have had the urge to book a hotel in downtown Mobile so we can celebrate one of the few things Mobile, Alabama has to offer.

Maybe one of these years I will actually get to implement that plan....

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know that about the origination of "Fat Tuesday"...thanks for the education.