(And takes the world with it)

By Beth Berube

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler – Let the Good Times Roll


tacoMy disposition is markedly improving. In a twist of good fortune, my last hormone stopped pitching a fit and is resting peacefully. And just in the nick of time because there are two momentous occasions just around the corner and I certainly don’t want them spoiled by a dose of bad attitude.

First, of all, my birthday is in a few days which means my husband Larry will be expected to pony up a willing attitude and do my bidding. It really does make a day a special one indeed.

Secondly, carnival is coming up and oh, how I do love a parade! A few years ago I had the good fortune of laying over (airline speak) in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. That is one crazy party! Anyone who has been a Jerry Springer guest in the past is there. After the parade ended, I headed for the French Quarter and almost drowned in a sea of cleavage. When I finally came up for air, I spotted a coed hottie teetering precariously on her buzzed, bonehead boyfriend’s shoulders. Her ponies were un-tethered from the hitching post and bangles rained on her from a balcony above. Today’s treasure, tomorrow’s trash. This woman flashed for a nickel necklace! I wondered what she would do for a toaster oven.

My favorite parade ever was in a small town in Washington. I went with some friends to see a concert and the next day we decided to poke around and soak in the local flavor. The main drag was blocked off and townsfolk were crowding the sidewalks. In the distance I heard a deep rumble. The local high school drill team came first, followed by the Model T Ford Club. What came next though knocked my socks off. It was a procession of High Octane Harvesting Machinery. There were tractors, balers and tillage tools. All of them spit polished and shined up for the big event. A Godzilla green John Deere combine with screaming yellow rimmed satellite dish size tires lumbered down the street.

A cutie pie farmer guy was sitting the cab. He rakishly tipped his straw hat and smiled at us. If I was a farm girl, and my prom date picked me up in that combine I would be delirious. The downside is that it would take all night to get to the dance. As you may have already surmised, I am easily amused.

The annual Fat Tuesday parade is in Barra and winds through the towns of Jaluco and Melaque. It’s a perennial crowd pleaser and last year I had the pleasure of helping some friends design and decorate a float. Our theme was “Feliz Carnival from Your Neighbors to the North.” We set an Arctic White backdrop with a giant inflatable snowman “masthead.” Artificial snow was piled up to look like drifts and icicles hung from white spray painted palm fronds. We even donned white outfits with fur trim. A moveable ice palace diorama right out of Dr. Zhivago. For the most part I am composed and ladylike type person. A sensible shoe-wearing woman who rarely drives more than 5 m.p.h. over the speed limit. Put me on a float however, and I become a gum poppin, hip–hoppin, Abercrombie shoppin’ Aphrodite. For three hours I am an exalted goddess of a white-washed rolling trailer tossing candies to ecstatic spectators. I forgot how to be a grownup and it felt good.

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