I’ve always liked that part. (She made me weird.)
I like to attend a parade on a crisp sunny afternoon, look up to a reviewing stand and see the maids dressed to the tee, debutantes for a day in an array of colors, their hats dipped just so completing their individual look. They always seem to hang along the rail, bright smiles and loving the crowd, chalice in hand, waving and enjoying what it means to be that part of Fat Tuesday. I’ve never seen a maid who wasn’t having fun.
Also on the reviewing stand are the dukes, past or present, handsome in their black ties and tails, tuxedos that have changed through the years, but still, dashing as they seem to feel, as they should, they are royalty for a day, and today there is an air about them, not the wild reveler when riding in their mystic krewe.
In the middle, always the Queen, stunning as she presides over her court, always outshining the others, if for no reason other than knowing she is for today the upper echelon. Queens, on a reviewing stand remind me of brides.
“All queens of Mardi Gras look beautiful and don’t you ever forget it.” I heard that as a young boy from the person who dealt with them. She knew they were our livelihood.
And, yes, I enjoy the toast to the King and Queen. I know it stalls the parade but those who don’t understand are there for some other reason.
You see, the toast is when champagne glasses are raised, praises are made, and flowers are given to wives, daughters, friends, and dignitaries. A key to the city could be presented from a mayor or parish president, and all this pageantry, done high above revelers, I find freaking cool. And, when the toast is finished you can hear it, as they actually throw the glass down to the pavement to break it.
When I see the parade coming, I patiently wait through the motorcycles, dune buggies and clowns, and I smile when royalty stops at the reviewing stand and remember my childhood. It’s a part of my being; engraved from the earliest days. You could say it’s in my veins, not red, but the pomp and circumstance of purple, green, and gold.