The school kids all get to celebrate carnaval here in the village each spring. Not too dissimilar to the epic Mardi Gras party you see in New Orleans, except here the kids don't get incredibly drunk and do insane things that would shock their mothers for beads.
The little people dress up in fun costumes, get behind the man with the accordion and march off through the village to the maison de retraite to sing songs and drink punch with the folks that live there. Along the way, the group stops at various houses and shares out candy or treats with the locals, most often giving out bags of beignets made by various and sundry moms. At that point, the kids are starting to get really jazzed up on the extraordinary amounts of candy they've already eaten so they start to dance themselves silly in that post sugar haze we all know and love.
The first year Mini-Husband was in school, we followed along with the group, enjoying the atmosphere even though neither of us knew the lyrics to any of the songs. The second year, when The Princess had started school, we trundled off in a near blizzard, then suffocated in an overheated room at the maison de retraite, and then bumbled our way back to the village to burn a giant man made out of wood. Supposedly that was to chase away winter and bring on spring. Said blizzard continued for another two days.
The following year, Mini-Husband was still recovering from his winter of near death (Scarlet fever, pneumonia, and a few other ills thrown in for fun) so we waited and watched from the front windows for the crowds to pass. Everyone showed up in front of ours, waved to the little man and then gave us the biggest bag of beignets you've ever seen.
Such a shame that our kids don't like beignets.
But I do. Oh, yes I do.
My grandma, who was raised in New Orleans, had introduced me to the joys of beignets years ago and I remember my mother keeping a pack of beignet mix from Cafe du Monde tucked in the back of the pantry. Sprinkled with powered sugar, there was nothing like 'em. And there is still nothing like a big bag of them made by French women who actually make those suckers from scratch. I think I ate the whole bag that day and denied it's existence to anyone else who asked about them.
Since that lovely moment several springs ago, I have to admit to being just a little bit reluctant to head off for the carnaval parade. Sure, it's fun to dance and sing with all our friends, but if we aren't home, we don't get the beignets! Screw fruit juice and songs about chicken heads! THE BEIGNETS, PEOPLE! THE BEIGNETS!
I guess you might have an idea as to what happened in the village this past weekend. We (OK, I) bagged the parade. In the end, Rosie needed to have her nap, the boys weren't interested and luckily The Princess was able to tag along with some friends.
So there I was, picture of all innocence, working out in the front garden when, just by chance, the parade passed by. "Oh joy and rapture! Quelle surprise! How very nice of you to give me such a lovely big bag of beignets!"