Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Mardi Gras Costume

I lived in New Orleans, and my mother and my aunt really got into the Carnival season with a vengance, with nightly attending parades, knowing where the best spots were, dressing in costume, collecting throws and doubloons, and occasionally going to a Carnival ball.

Mardi Gras day was, of course, the main event.  Each of us would go in costume; but Mom was not content with buying on renting them: as part of her pleasure she handmade each one, whether you wanted to go as a haunt, as a nurse, a pirate, or whatever was the fancy of the time and age.  She was a good sport, and she was sure to be thoroughly in the Carnival Spirit.

Several years ago, when asked in December about my Mardi Gras costume, I said that I would like to go as the anime girl Lum.  She inquired into it, and learned that Lum had little horns, dark green hair, and wore a tigerskin bikini and boots.  I thought that she would balk, or come up with a pale version, but my Mom totally amazed me.

Yes, she found the right shade of dye. It entailed dyeing blonde hair green.  As for the costume, she found faux tiger skin material and fashioned it into knee-length boots and a string bikini!  I must say that she put a lot of effort and imagination into it, and pulled it off nicely, even with the hidden little hooks underneath the panty strings.  I'm really grateful to her for satisfying my whim, but it gave me something to get used to!

In effect, she was giving a permission to go very daring, possibly even a little more than I was.  Now bad for a strict Catholic woman; but she likes her Mardi Gras!  She will always epitomize the Spirit of Mardi Gras, and was a great Mommy.

There was one hurdle: the visit to Maw-Maw's before we go to the parades.  This is a family tradition: because she was aged, our grandmother (Mom's mother) could not participate more actively; however, she enjoyed seeing the costumes and toasting us with champagne for Mardi Gras.  Cousins, aunts, uncles, beaux, and others would also be there for the occasion.

Both Mom and I worried about Maw-Maw's reaction: was it too daring?  Were we in for a scolding.  Not a worry: she pronounced it as charming and wished us all a merry time and expressed a wish that she was able to go also.

Mardi Gras was beautiful that year!  Even though only three strings being tied kept me decent, I am pleased to report that I went the entire day, even to the last hour, with no wardrobe malfunctions.  Thanks. Mommy!

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