Friday, February 20, 2009

Beggers

There's something odd about Mardi Gras parades. (Okay, there's a lot odd about them, but...) I find them quite fun, and as Jen pointed out in the comments about the parade we attended last week, we have really embraced this whole thing. True, in a lot of respects. But sometimes it's hard to stand there and realize that we're on the side of the road begging for a bunch of plastic beads and cheap stuffed animals that will end up in a closet and, at a later date, will be given away to visiting friends and family. I'll even pay to get rid of the stuff, mailing it to friends and family across the world.

(It must be noted that the May Queen is happily sleeping with several new stuffed animals she caught today, and will play with them for quite some time to come. She does also play with the beads...)

We try to be frugal. We try to teach the May Queen to not ask for and expect gifts. We are careful about excess at Christmas and other gift giving occasions. But put us on a parade route and we encourage her to aim for all the loot she can get.

You get swept up in the moment. In the culture. In the expectation.

There's more to it, of course. The parties beforehand are a great time to get together with friends and eat wonderful food. There's a whole social aspect to it that is becoming more and more my favorite part of the parades.

Sometimes I just stand back and wonder at it all. It defies simple explanation.

But I know that there is joy in my daughter's eyes. There are smiles on our faces. I know that there is community and friendship and, of course, food.

And I know that in my guest room closet there is a box of beads that weighs more than I.

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This Monday's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a sign (street sign, business sign, airport sign... you decide...)

12 comments:

Wayfarer Scientista said...

funny how that happens, eh? And how does one counter it?

Chrissy said...

I am so glad you have that culture to immerse her in. I wish we had something like that here.

We did get a king cake yesterday, and I thought of you.

wheelsonthebus said...

feel free to toss a few of those beads in the mail to us. my kids LOVE bling :)

Ambassador said...

PM - We had a similar musing last night. Every year, we get tickets to the stands at the Intercontinental Hotel for viewing Krewe d'Etat, Morpheus and Hermes - food, spirits, friends and screaming our guts out for cheap, sometimes-blinking trinkets.

I wonder what folks outside our madness think when they see the footage...

Oh, and I am sporting a nice mark on my head where a pair of heavy beads (with plastic parrots) clonked me - a well intentioned friend on the float hurled them my way, so I can't really complain.

Ah, the scars of battle...

All Rileyed Up said...

It is the spirit of celebration. PLEASE catch something extra for me so I can live vicariously through you. I miss Mardi Gras. Every day for the past two weeks, I have walked by a church that has a sign that says "Mardi Gras Pancake Breakfast Feb 24" and I think to myself, this is what I've been reduced to...

Emily said...

:) It's my goal to make it to Mardi Gras someday.

*sigh* Someday.

Mad said...

How can you not get caught up in it, really. We North Americans have so little access to true Carnival and that's a shame. I envy your ability to be part of Mardi Gras.

Amy Y said...

I am glad you take advantage of the culture that you have in your great city! Your daughter will be young and excited about this for a brief period of time in the grand scheme of things and I think you're doing all of you service by letting yourselves enjoy this!

Beck said...

I think, Biblically speaking, that there ARE times for wild abundance, that we're not supposed to restrained and unasking all the time.

Woman in a Window said...

Sometimes we engage in these traditions for the sake of tradition. Forget the logic (once and a while.)

JCK said...

But...you can never have enough beads, can you?

Louise said...

This is so funny. We teach our kids the same thing in regard to gifts. But come the 4th of July parade we're pushing them at yelling at them to get out there and grab that candy! I can't imagine how much "worse" that would be with beads and stuffed animals. (Probably no pushing or yelling required,actually!)