It’s the height of Mardi Gras season. Endless parties and parades. Paczki and king cakes. Decorations and costumes, drinking and eating in excess, all in the name of a six-week long holiday. The one time of year when purple, green, and gold not only are acceptable to wear together, it actually looks good.
I lived in Louisiana for eleven years, so I get Mardi Gras. My life once revolved around this flamboyant, crazy holiday, too. Even after we moved to Michigan, my husband and I, and eventually, the kids, would travel back to Louisiana each year for Mardi Gras. We even tried to time it so we could join in two full weekends of fun instead of just one. We didn’t party like it was 1999; we partied like it was Mardi Gras.
And then the kids grew old enough that it wasn’t feasible to take them out of school for a week to head down to Mardi Gras, so we started throwing our own Mardi Gras parties here in Michigan. And yes, we still had king cake, rather than the far-more-popular-here paczki.
Never heard of a paczki? Well, check out this BLOG for a beginner’s guide understanding, as well as a couple key places where you can snag one of your own.
Anyway, back to me. So yeah, we’re big Mardi Gras fans. Rather, we were. Until last year. You see, last spring, my son died. Right smack dab in the middle of that next season following Mardi Gras: Lent. Yeah, you know the one, where Catholics across the world quit everything in excess and give up such things as Facebook or Coke or candy or beer for six weeks, as a way to show God that they really are good people despite the almost nonstop partying of the six weeks previous.
This year during Mardi Gras, instead of reveling in the fun and excess, I spent the entire time dreading Lent, more than your typical Catholic might. Because now I get to spend the next six weeks hearing about sacrificing my only begotten son. Yeah, I know it’s not remotely about me—or my son—but when something like that happens to you, messages tend to get skewed. You’d be amazed at the things that strike me and make me think about my horrific loss. Songs on the radio. Television shows. Books. Commercials. Seeing a blond headed teenage boy walking down the street. The reminders are everywhere—everywhere—and yet none are quite so poignant as the Lenten season.
This is probably going to sound weird, but the dread caused me to pick up one of my own books. It’s called PRIM AND PROPER FATE, and it occurs during Mardi Gras. In fact, the key characters end up partying during the final weekend of the six-week revel in an apartment located right there on Bourbon Street. And it’s really fun because some of them have never been to Mardi Gras before, while others had been, but it was a long time ago, like centuries, back when it was called Carnival, but that’s because they’re immortal.
I admit, rereading it was a nice escape from reality. Which is exactly what romance books are supposed to be, in my humble opinion. So I think, to get me through this next six weeks, instead of giving something up for Lent, I’ll commit to reading more.