The Mardi Gras that Wasn’t:
New Orleans, my hometown, had no Mardi Gras this year. We also faced the threat of multiple hurricanes in the fall as well as the cancellation of many festivals because of COVID. Many businesses have suffered, and as a teacher, I have faced multiple challenges in the classroom. The school board also added an extra half hour to our school day to “regain” that lost time. Because of this time addition, the school board “gifted” us the Mardi Gras break. I told my husband I needed the rest; we also were determined to make the best of what could have been a dreary time.
This year, Valentine’s Day fell the weekend of my Mardi Gras break. This date is always special for hubby and me. That Saturday, we went to Mandina’s Restaurant in MIid-City, one of my favorite places. To create the celebratory mood, I wore my Queen of Hearts costume. We drank glasses of Proseco, held hands, and kissed. Donning our masks, we stood under the picture of a streetcar and posed as the waiter took our picture. I’m grateful that even during this bleak period, I’m still his Queen of Hearts and that he IS my heart.
Tuesday was Mardi Gras. Hubby and I both donned costumes. He wore his medieval knight outfit; I chose my skull and roses dress with skull stockings. When I wear that, I call myself “the Black Death.” Another local restaurant, Ye Olde College Inn, boasted a special menu. Again donning masks, we ate a delicious meal, kissed, and took pictures. We were cautious and stayed pretty isolated, but we decided to celebrate what we had, not what we didn’t have. In this time of COVID, we need to celebrate what remains, not what we’ve lost.
Many of my books also contain characters that seize the moment. In Love at War, Nuala seizes the moment and fights the enemy. In From Ice Wagon to Club House, Jude Mooney follows his heart and meets the challenge of his time. In The Progeny, Jude’s descendants also rise to the challenge of their times with zest and grit.