This is the first post in a series of 5 that focus on the 5 most fun things David and I have done since we met in 1986. These 5 activities are varied and, interestingly to us, all of them involve some form of transportation. They are not ranked in terms of their degree of enjoyment; they were all equally fun! The first of our most fun experiences is the most recent. This was our experience riding on a float during Mardi Gras, 2018. As we mentioned in previous posts about Mardi Gras, 2018, we have had the pleasure of attending Mardi Gras on many occasions, in several places. In addition, we have been to Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, with all of their glamour and glitz, and we have been to Mardi Gras in the heart of Cajun Country, in Mamou, Louisiana, where there are masked riders on horseback in the traditional style. As much fun as it is to watch Mardi Gras parades and catch beads and other throws tossed from floats, it is way more fun to wear a mask and costume, ride a float, and throw the beads! David and I joined the Krewe of Pontchartrain, one of relatively few krewes in New Orleans that allow out of town people to be members. In addition to riding one of our krewe’s floats in a parade, we participated in other festivities, such as a second line (for the uninitiated, a second line is a parade, in which people march down a street behind a brass band playing Dixieland style jazz) and a balcony throw, during which we threw as many Mardi Gras beads as we could throw to passers by on Bourbon Street. In preparation for our krewe membership, we were provided with a list of rules and regulations, including the most important rule: Never, ever, remove your mask at any time while riding the float! I thought this was a hilarious rule, but the idea behind it is that no one is supposed to know the identity of krewe members. I have wanted to ride a Mardi Gras float for many years and it was great to finally be able to make my dream come true. The second line marching and balcony throw added to my extreme fun! As they say in New Orleans, “Laissez les bon temps rouler” or “Let the good times roll”!
We started this blog to share our work and life experiences, so it should seem natural to have a series of posts about fun. Anyone who has read our posts knows that finding ways to break up the pressures of work with an interlude of fun has allowed us to keep us keeping on. Riding a Mardi Gras float was a long time dream for Melissa so we used a milestone to make it happen. And, despite the rainy parade day, it was more fun than we ever imagined. We met other out of towners who have ridden in the parade multiple times and they helped us learn the ropes (including how to use the ropes that harnassed us to the float). The fact that these people have come back many times encouraged us, before we boarded the float, that we were on the right path. The Krewe experience was fun, including all of the events we participated. Getting the hang of throwing beads took time when we were on a non moving balcony – from a moving float, in the rain, it was more challenging. But, seeing the smiles that simple beads and toys brought to so many people was rewarding in ways we never anticipated. Being on the receiving end of many beads (and more) over the years has been fun, but now, seeing it from the other perspective was even more fun!