|Our harried server dumped a bucketload of beads on our table.|
In my zeal to celebrate all holidays--even those that don't have ostensibly to do with me or are not part of any cultural tradition I grew up in (Diwali, anyone?)--I was determined (almost as if someone would prevent me from doing so) to observe Mardi Gras tonight with the kids.
It took me well into adulthood to be consciously aware that Mardi Gras is really part of the Catholic Calendar--a night of revelry and over-indulgence which kicks off the Lenten Season, the long stretch of denial and penitence and tightness (if you will--am I getting this right?), leading up to Easter Week and eventually Easter morning (when you can re-indulge in your sugar, cigs, pickles, Facebook, again). Mormonism has none of these rhythms and it's really a shame. Because what is a year without cycles and rhythms, indulgence and penitence? Just an endless succession of days? And the fact that I grew up a Mormon in a low desert meant that I not only lacked the rhythms that the many Catholics around me had, what with their extended Christmas season and Lent (getting ashed on the day after Mardi Gras--not fair!), but I also could not look forward to any significant change in the seasons. But that's another not so interesting story.
Anyway, this year I planned several days ahead. I had a family lined up to meet us at a restaurant, and the mom suggested the tiny Cajun-themed Great Jones Cafe, which she hadn't been to since the '80s. We arrived at six sharp and not a moment too soon, because by 6:30 the place was packed with the bar four deep with bodies.
(It's actually harder than you might think to find a kid-friendly place to celebrate Mardi Gras without a fat cover.)
But we had a table for five! (I am beyond dorky that I take so much pleasure in avoiding a wait.)
As we were pleasantly jostled in our seats by passing bodies, my friend and I ordered, over the cajun music in the background, jambalaya that came with jalapeno cornbread; the girls got burgers. We tentatively asked for beads and the server dumped two luxurious handfuls on our table. For dessert, we had key lime pie and chocolate pudding, although traditional king cafe was available.
And now we are home listening to Amy Winehouse, natch. I've been sitting here wondering about my love of holidays. It it the obvious?--that it gives one license for a bit of escape? That one's place doesn't feel so tight anymore, if only for a day?
Do you observe Fat Tuesday and Lent? I'm all ears.
|The menu's on the wall! CRAZY!|
|Everything went as planned!|