Fat Tuesday! (And the dirt around my neck.)

Happy Mardi Gras!

Well, not so much in the Pacific Northwest, but where I come from, it’s a three day holiday. (For the kiddos, that is!)
I love that. It just goes to show you how important the holiday is to southern folk. We need a few days to celebrate. We could all use more days to celebrate.

I grew up going to parades in Slidell and outside of New Orleans. I can’t say that I’ve been in New Orleans on a Fat Tuesday. I also can’t say that I’ve wanted to. I’ve seen it. I’ve heard the stories. Not my cup of tea to move down Bourbon in a river of people. I’m a little too claustrophobic for that. Much respect to the people who continually make it out to do so. Because after all, being over-the-top is what makes Mardi Gras well…Mardi Gras!

The beads. Goodness gracious. The beads! Nothing is more prized than a good set of beads. We all know which ones are the money beads. Not the clear ones. The big shiny golds, greens and purples flung high from moving themed floats — hands reached high — kids sitting on their parents shoulders — “THROW ME SOMETHIN’ MISTUH’!”

As beads would hit the ground (and if they made it through the crowd of outstretched hands) we would immediately toss them around our necks. I would, at times, have them all the way up to my chin where I wouldn’t be able to rotate my head — like some beautifully crafted beaded neck brace.

When we would get home, I’d take off my layers only to find my neck streaky brown from the beads I’d picked up off the road.

It’s something that always sticks out in my memories. The beads that would sometimes pinch my neck skin and I’d have to dig through to figure out which one it was.

The dirt around my neck.

Washed off, but never forgotten.

Happy Mardi Gras to my Southern Folk and those scattered around in our little homes — I know what it means for you to celebrate…
And if you do so,

Let it fill you up.

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