Guess who just booked a flight to New Orleans on her birthday for Mardi Gras? I'll give you a hint. Rhymes with ME THAT'S WHO.
My dad had his first round of chemo on Monday and feels great. I want to get down there and visit while feeling great is the case. And I want to take Carlie to Mardi Gras. She's never been. I haven't been in at least the 11 years I have lived in the PNW and probably a couple of years before that when I was living in Houston.
A brief and informal social studies lesson: Mardi Gras is on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. And Ash Wednesday is a lents-worth of days before Easter. And Easter kind of floats around. So Mardi Gras floats around, too. Sometimes mid to late February and sometimes it even falls in early March.
This made my birthdays as a kid really exciting. Because sometimes Mardi Gras and my birthday coincided EXACTLY, which was THE BOMB. And oftentimes they didn't, but my birthday still fell in the "season," and that was okay too.
I loved having a King cake for my birthday cake. If you have never had a King cake, go here right now and order one. They deliver! Anywhere! And I loved the years that my birthday fell on a weekend in the Mardi Gras season and I spent my birthday at parades. This was back in the day when kids chased floats and there were no barricades between the parade and the parade goers and no one got killed at a Mardi Gras parade, or at least not often. (After I grew up and left N.O. it seemed like all I heard about on the news was someone being run over by a float every parade weekend.)
When I was a bigger kid, I loved marching in parades as part of my school's drill team. I wish I could dig up a picture of that. Oh, wait! I can! When I am in New Orleans at my dad's house for Mardi Gras! I need to make a note to myself to search for old photos.
When I was an even bigger kid, one of my craziest yet most fabulous Mardi Gras memories includes a keg of beer being pulled through the French Quarter in a little red wagon. Back in the day, New Orleans did not have any open container laws and drinking in the street was the norm. (And in fact, they only passed the open container law in probably the last decade and it is not even enforced, especially at Mardi Gras I would imagine.)
But memory lane aside, I am looking forward to this trip immensely. Not for the drinking in the streets either, thank you very much, because I'll have my 10 year old with me and my sister will have her 2 year old with her. I'm looking forward to seeing my dad for the first time since his cancer diagnosis. I'm looking forward to seeing my brother and his family, especially their gorgeous not yet one year old baby girl. And my sister and her family. And since I am staying for a week, I may even have time to put the call out to hook up with old friends that I haven't seen in a long time.
This is going to be sweet.