One of my life credos: No good ever comes from drinking blue-colored beverages. I first learned this in the mid 1980’s, where a local watering hole served “Blue Whales,” complete with immense amounts of liquor and a plastic blue whale toy perched on the side, just waiting to gouge an eye when defenses were lowered.
I violated this edict, along with a few others, this past weekend celebrating Mardi Gras, St. Louis style, with very appropriate-for-the-occasion friends.
I will brag and say I was one of the few participants not consuming beer during this day-long celebration. Our float’s keg was tapped at 9 a.m. by … (I’m not saying, but I am married to him), much later than many other float krews. Before I get on my moral high horse, I will say I did enjoy a lovely glass or two of breakfast Bordeaux.
I also am no longer a Jello shot virgin. I don’t like Jello, and I don’t like vodka (since the Great College Incident of 1982), and it was blue, so it seemed a reasonable choice? Yuck!
The pre-staging area for the Mardi Gras parade was in a giant parking lot just south of the stadium. Floats start arriving around 7:30 a.m., and it becomes a giant tailgate party. Food ranges from snacks to full-on buffets, every float has a keg or two, and not coincidentally, a porta potty. There is great camaraderie, music blasting, as everyone strolls along, sharing food, booze, and admiring other floats and costumes. Hey, you know it’s a great party when the Anheuser Busch Clydesdales show up (those crazy party animals!) Also, it was cold, very cold; wind tunnel, chattering teeth cold. I was dressed in layers, and my Catwoman costume morphed into a stuffed sausage getup. I still froze.
The parade finally starts at 11 a.m. Around the corner we go, to sparse onlookers, sporadic groups of two and three. Then … into Soulard itself, holy Batman! Crowds of mostly millennials, sometimes 60 deep, screaming for beads beads beads! As these beads cost a penny or two, and each float, well, floats in them, it is quite amusing the see the frenzy and tussling over such booty.
Many spectators were dressed in their Mardi Gras finest (I’m talking to you, purple and gold suit guy). I only saw three boob flashers, one was tolerable from an aesthetic level, the other two, well, bless their hearts for trying. There were a few children. One mom I saw was shielding her baby with her body, protecting him from the onslaught of flying beads. Perhaps this a good example as to why this is not really the best activity for little ones. That is why they have the family-friendly pet parade the week prior.
But she is not the worst example of parenting I have ever seen. That honor still goes to the teenage mom in Disney World who was filling a baby bottle with Diet Coke for the cherub in her arms. But that’s another story …
Too soon, the parade ended. It was just as I got the hang of throwing the beads. Although I am right-handed, I found that I had better aim and accuracy with my left. That makes me ambeadextrous, I suppose.
We soon were on our way back to the staging area, rolling through residential streets and then busy roads. I briefly lived up to the nickname the boys gave me years ago, “The Funcrusher,” when I realized we were 30 people, many having consumed more than one alcoholic beverage, zooming along at 35 to 40 miles per hour, standing on a backless flat-bed. Oh well, I distracted myself by yelling “You love Mardi Gras!” to every passerby.
Afterwards, many krews rent out space in nearby bars to congratulate and/or commiserate. Luckily ours was not in Soulard proper, but nearer the stadium. We never had to actually go into the crowds, which is my favorite type of mingling.
There was still plenty to see and fun to be had, topped off with the woman coming up to our table, apropos of nothing, and announcing “And I’m not wearing pants!”. No, you weren’t, just Ghostbuster undies. This will be added to my collection of memorable sayings, and I will enjoy rolling it out on suitable (or unsuitable) occasions.