Sunday Bec held her annual Mardi Gras party. It’s a favorite for all of the family. Everyone comes. Everyone eats. Everyone drinks. Everyone laughs. The kids – and there are always a LOT of them – play catch and hide-and-seek and the girl kids play something mysterious on the side of the house that we all try really hard not to think about.
Sunday, sometime late afternoon, as we waited for Erik’s gumbo to be just PERFECT, Grace (who is the eldest of Dad and Mom’s great-grandkids and drawing dangerously close to teen-age) wondered aloud, “What does Mardi Gras mean?”
I spoke up first. “It’s French for Fat Tuesday,” I explained. “It’s the day before Ash Wednesday.”
Her blank look told me she didn’t know what Ash Wednesday was. Given that she and her family are faithful church-goers, I had to remind myself that not all religions recognize Ash Wednesday or even Lent. And my explanation would not have particularly impressed the nuns who taught me about sacrifice during the 40 days prior to the joyous celebration of Easter. Lord knows Grace wouldn’t have understood the notion of getting ashes spread in the shape of a cross on your forehead.
At the end of the explanation, I simply said, “It’s the day you eat and drink a whole lot before you start a period of sacrifice in preparation for Easter.” That worked. Eating and drinking and celebrating are notions our whole family can understand.
There was jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, maque choux, muffaletta sandwiches, and, of course, the final decadence – the King Cake. This year, there was not only a cake with a baby in it per the custom….
….but an additional dozen cupcakes in which a baby was inside one. And believe me, ladies and gentlemen, it was all about the baby. Asher (left) found the baby in the cake, and Carter found the baby in the cupcake. Both managed to avoid choking, and proudly wore the hats indicating their victory (after eating the candy that was inside)…..
Sunday’s Mardi Gras celebration included almost all the great grands, with the exception of Court’s kids, who were in Denver.
Today is actually Fat Tuesday, and we will enjoy a good meal tonight. Tomorrow, let the fasting and sacrifice begin!