In my former life in Missouri, I attended kids’ birthday parties. They were usually held at skating rinks or indoor playgrounds, with apple juice for kids and grownups alike; over-sugared bakery cake; greasy, tasteless pizza; and awkward, tense conversations among parents who don’t know one another. The kids’ parties I’ve attended in New Orleans are just different. They are usually held at people’s homes with tons of neighbors and family, delicious homemade food, cold beer for the adults, fresh-baked cake and great conversation. It all speaks to how very different New Orleans is as a city, how serious we are about the things that are most important to us: food, drinks, friends and family. So yeah, the birthday parties are better here.
In my former life in Missouri, it rained a lot in the summer, and there were puddles, and kids jumped in them, and it was cute. But last weekend, after a heavy Saturday rain, as Ruby and I walked from our home in Mid-City to Brocato’s (because I can justify chocolate-covered cannoli if I walk to get it), she ran a few steps ahead of me splashing in puddles with the kind of glee that in other cities is probably unique to 4-year-olds but here is pretty ubiquitous. As she jumped with both feet into a big puddle on the sidewalk near North Alexander Street, water went flying, and something caught the light and sparkled.
“Look, Mommy,” she yelled, jumping again. “Puddle glitter!”
I looked down into the puddle and saw that, sure enough, it was a shallow depression full of rainwater, leaves and multicolored glitter. She couldn’t get enough of it, and it really was pretty to watch, standing in the humid air on the rain-washed sidewalk, oak trees still dripping, watching Ruby giggle and jump, as the glitter shone all around her in little splashes.
“Mommy,” she said once we were on our way again, bound for Italian pastries and gelato, “why was there glitter in that puddle?”
Some of Ruby’s questions are very hard to answer. This one was easy.
“Because, Ruby,” I said, “this is New Orleans.”
So yeah, even the mud puddles are better here.