I love to recall the moments in life that make it special. My daughter and I were talking about going to the Rice Festival in Crowley this weekend to introduce the tradition to my sister’s children. We have celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans with the family and I love the idea of giving Mikey, Leah, and Kyla the opportunity to enjoy a parade, festival, music, and fun, family style. Baby Mikey, who is 2, and I have extensive conversations about parade floats, and how he would love to ride on them. And I spend most of my time trying to stop him from actually trying to climb onto one of them. The beauty of taking the younger generation to the festival is that you get to relive your fondest memories through their new experiences.
My daughter Amber recalls being in the Rice Festival Parade and asked me, “Ma how did you do all that?” I tell her just remember when she has a child, 20 or so years from now, she better give her child every opportunity to make those memories.
I have pictures in my mind of myself walking in the parade and my mother waiting for me at the end. I remember Amber being in the parade and I waited for her at the end. It gave me a déjà vu moment. It is like watching your life from outside of yourself, and it made me smile for no reason, other than thinking about how life is so cyclical.
I am sure Mikey and I will dance when we hear the bands, and Leah will run and hold my hand when she hears the loud sound of the sirens, just like her mom, her aunt, and her cousin did when they were younger. The fact is, these memories are wonderful because they are like the ones I hold precious in my mind. They remind me of how great life is when you take time to enjoy the simple things, like a parade, cotton candy, marching bands, seeing people you have not seen in a while and the smells of food wafting through the air.
It is funny how I recall the dress I wore in the Rice Festival parade. My mom made the costume for me. It was blue and it was an old-fashioned dress from the “Gone With the Wind Era.” I loved that dress. It was beautiful and my mom made it just for the parade. I remember being proud to see my daughter in the parade representing Rice City Gymnastics. These images are etched in my memory, and when I see the excitement in my nieces’ faces, and my nephew enjoying every aspect of the parade, I will get to relive these moments again.
I love what Acadiana represents. The family connections and memories of childhood hold me here. I wanted to create those same lasting memories for my child, and now my sister’s children. These times remind us of how much fun it is to do simple things. On most days, families deal with their everyday lives. Festivals, fairs, concerts, plays, and other entertainment provide us with the way to stop and smell the roses.
I can taste those barbecue hamburgers now. The shrimp on a stick, cotton candy, apple candy, and rice dishes are calling my name. I am just glad we have a new generation of youngsters to make lasting memories with.