There’s nothing like a little publicity to mess up a great local event. That must be what the folks in Gloucester, North Carolina were thinking when their down-east Mardi Gras celebration got written up in Our State magazine. As one volunteer confided, “We were hoping for a little bad weather, to keep the numbers down.”
Be careful what you ask for! The evening before the event, Mother Nature dumped an unprecedented foot of snow on the area. This was not a little bad weather. For an area where snow shovels are rare (we saw people raking their driveways), it was a LOT.
Still, Barry and I were only 15 miles down the road, and we had four-wheel drive. It was no problem to drive to Gloucester, a tiny town about as close to the end of the road as you’re likely to get. Our route was lined with snowmen, including one wearing a bikini!
When we arrived, we found friendly folks serving up seafood gumbo with big ol’ crab legs, chunks of fried turkey, red beans and rice, and king cake. Everyone seemed to be wearing a silly mask or hat, so our colorful outfits fit right in. “Wait a minute,” said Pam, when we ran into her, “don’t y’all live on a sailboat? Where do you keep those costumes?”
And then someone shouted, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” and rowdy dancing began. It was the zydeco band Unknown Tongues, who had started this community Mardi Gras celebration 18 years ago. They set our feet and hearts dancing, right there in that wacky North Carolina snow, especially when they played “You’re Gonna Look Like a Monkey When You Get Old.”
(Weird, small, coincidental world! I just realized, when I read the Our State article, that proceeds from Mardi Gras go to the Woodrow Price Scholarship Fund. That would be the same Woodrow Price I wrote about almost a year ago, when my Dad came to visit.)