Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mardi Gras

A lot of the cat people are stirring in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama, just now. With just three days to go, Mardi Gras is in full swing. Parades and masked balls compete with one another for time and space, and the street department in Mobile is busy sweeping up overlooked beads and moon pies, thrown from the parade floats to crowds vying to catch them.

These are not my kind of cat people. They are more playful and stay up later at night, and what they drink is not always milk.

For most of my life I’ve lived far away from Washington, Pennsylvania, where I was born, but a trace of the inhibitions bred into me in that Calvinist stronghold still lingers. I enjoy Mardi Gras, but as a watcher, not a participant, and I watch from a safe distance. Mardi Gras brings out the crowds, and the only place I’ve ever enjoyed crowds is in church.

So I participate in Mardi Gras from the comfort of my easy chair. I watch the parades on television. I don’t catch any beads or moon pies, but that’s all right. North of the salt line, where I came from, we didn’t live in expectation of such largess.

~ Bert Johnston, Author of Parson Campbell’s Breakthrough

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