Now my favorite holiday came around that time. I think it was the end of February, but it could have been early March. It's so hard to tell with it changing dates every year.
I see, that you are all wondering just which holiday that could be...Don't 'Eta you must be mistaken' me! I of course mean Mardi Gras! You have to recall that I'm not originally from California. Transplanted from the deep south it's one holiday I still celebrate, even if I do have to explain it over and over again to the natives here.
Not that I'm complaining you see. Actually I've come to enjoy the explanation every year. It reminds me that I'm from a beautiful place and gives me a reason to reminisce about home. Oh, I'm sure I bore my children and their children with my stories, but that year, I had at least four new sets of ears listening, six if you count Maggie and Father Maghill...
Heading from the kitchen carrying a big pot of gumbo, I stood in the doorway to take in the scene before me. John, Father Maghill, and my son Jimmy were in jovial conversation across the room. Not too far from where they stood, Maggie and my daughter Mary were sitting on the couch discussing...probably men, one particular man in fact from the looks they were throwing the completely unaware John. And it appeared that BA had set aside threatening HM for a while as they both sat at the childrens table making miniture floats with my grandkids. I noticed that one grandchild was missing, Susanna, Mary's daughter, but she was probably in the back room on the phone talking to that no good boyfriend of hers. Turning my gaze toward the glass doors looking out on the ocean, I spotted Alison, Jimmy's wife, and Pete, Mary's husband. From the looks of it, they were having a similiar conversation as the women. I had to smile as I saw them laughing and motioning to the group of men across the room.
I realized just how long I had been standing there when Templeton placed a gentle hand on my arm. I gave him a smile to ease the concern in his eyes and hurried along to place the gumbo on the food laden table before following him back into the kitchen.
I was surprised when Templeton didn't bring a date to the party but my worry soon faded in light of the reason. Oh, not that he said anything, but I could tell. A mother knows...
It made me feel so sad that a young man like him had grown up an orphan. No one should have to grow up without the love of parents and it amazed me that after all he had been through, his spirit was still so gentle. I suppose that he would have been much different if not for the tragedies in his life. After all the tragedy of being an orphan had led him to Father Maghill and then later the tragedy of war had led him to John and the boys. Who would my Templeton be without the tragedies of life...
I suppose that he had let down his armor on that very first meeting, mostly because he was cold and sick, and then sensing something he had never had...well, he was curious. Oh I don't mind that he thinks of me in a motherly fashion. My heart went out to him too at that first meeting, and now I find it hard to stop myself from being too much the mother he never knew.
"I think Murdock went a little overboard with the decorating."
"Oh, well that's alright," I let out a little laughter as I nodded toward the living room. "It's Mardi Gras after all. It's usually accepted that the more gawdy it is, the better."
Templeton frowned at that, he doesn't really like disorder. I found that odd, since he seemed to have such a fun time helping HM decorate...
"It's just so..." his exasperated sigh almost made me laugh, "purple!"
I couldn't help myself at that point, laughing I put my arm around his shoulders and gave him a little squeeze, "I'm afraid that's my fault, I told him what the colors stood for."
Still frowning, Templeton cocked an eyebrow, "And that would be?"
"Oh, gold for faith, green for power, and purple..."
After finishing the last of the cooking and the baking, Templeton and I joined the others. He placed the king cake on the table as I popped in a tape full of Cajun and Zydeco music. I stood back to watch as Jimmy and Mary showed everyone how to dance to it.
After dancing a song or two with little Jenny, Templeton gave me a little bow and then offered his hand. I tried to gracefully bow out, stating that I wasn't as young as I used to be, but who could resist that smile. Jenny was practically bursting with joy as Templeton and I danced. Luckily it was a fairly slow Cajun Waltz.
I felt like I was at the prom. Everyone had stopped to watch as Templeton twirled me a little. I looked around thinking just how blessed I was as I saw Pete with his arm around Mary standing next to John and Maggie, similairly posed, and BA grinning in the corner. As Templeton turned me again I threw a disapproving look at BA as I spotted HM in a chair, tied up and gagged with beads and crepe paper.
As the song came to an end, Templeton gave me a gentlemanly bow and I returned it with a curtsy. Lifting my hand to still the clapping of everyone, I raised my voice, "Lassaiz le bon temps roule!"