Fat TuesdayPosted: March 4, 2014
Today is Mardi gras or translated for non-French speakers — Fat Tuesday. It is amazing the French have anything called Fat, but then again it is just one day. Today is the last day before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and it gets it name from the tradition that it is the day you get to eat richer foods before you go into the period of fasting during the 40 days of Lent.
Growing up Episcopalian we did not give anything up for Lent. I can only imagine what would have happened if the Mad Men grown ups around me as a child had given up something like liquor. The New Haven Railroad would probably have folded from the loss in revenue in the bar car.
Since we never gave anything up we also did not celebrate Fat Tuesday. The idea of eating richer foods would also go against the skinny mothers around me in the 60’s.
My first introduction to the Mardi gras life was when my Dad happened to have a business trip to New Orleans that coincided with my spring break at boarding school. My sisters did not have vacation so I got to go alone to the big easy with my parents and a wild bunch of my father’s co-workers from Avon — These were real Mad Men and Mad Women, this was Avon after all.
I was all of fourteen, but everyone treated me like I was older. Not such a good thing. One night the whole gang went to Pat O’Brien’s and my father let me drink two hurricanes as the two ladies at the pianos belted out Delta Dawn. The sweet pink drinks went down easy and helped cool my brow in the hot humid night. I don’t remember the two-block walk back to the Royal Orleans where we stayed, but I do remember how nice my bathroom was as I threw up all night. This was probably a good plan on my father’s part because I don’t drink today.
I’m not celebrating Fat Tuesday. Everyday for me is like Lent since I have basically given up sugar, flour and long, long ago liquor, but for those of you who make this your tradition I hope you are having a big time tonight, for tomorrow you fast, and the next day and the next. Well, I’m sure most of you aren’t fasting, but giving up something you value, and sorry giving up eating fruit does not count.