Magic

I just returned from a meeting of State and Provincial psychology regulatory boards held in New Orleans. It was our first in-person meeting in two years, and the Louisiana Board was so happy and proud to have the conference in their state.

One of the Louisiana Board members is a native of Louisiana and the the co-founder of a Mardi Gras krewe. I don’t know much about these organizations, but they seem integral to the celebration of Mardi Gras across the state and host parade floats, wear costumes, and have all sorts of parties and concerts throughout the year. He gave out Mardi Gras doubloons from his krewe to the conference attendees this weekend. The doubloons are large, colored, cast aluminum coins that are thrown from Mardi Gras parade floats. He also made us honorary members of his krewe, and translated the “secret” Latin motto of his Krewe, which is “Sicut equites aggredtuntur hominem vivere oportet” . I forgot the exact meaning, but it had something to do with living life to the fullest.

Our grandson turns 4 today, and I told him over the phone that I had pirate doubloons to give him when we see him in two weeks. (It would have been this coming weekend, but his mother is afflicted with COVID, and we had to change our travel plans.) Our son told our grandson that we were in a pirate town, and he is so excited to see the pirate coins and the pirate jeweled necklaces I got in New Orleans. It is magical to him, and I love to feed his imagination with simple things that can take on such meaning. Those are the best toys, I think.

Have you ever been to Mardi Gras? What seemed magical when you were a child? What were your best toys? Translate the Latin motto, if you can.

42 thoughts on “Magic”

  1. I’ve never been to Mardi Gras. Not much of a partier, so I’ll probably never go. I’m with Clyde about the magic being outdoors. I was always curious about how magicians did their tricks but was never “fascinated” by magic.

    My best toys were probably my table hockey game, my1/32 road-racing track, my Risk game, and my chess set. Maybe I’ll add my GI Joes too. Lots of fun playing war games in my bedroom.

    Chris in Owatonna

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        1. Had a severe eruption of pain a few hours. Got to Sandra late. Now I see what you meant about “it might be something about the qualities of birch wood.” Cannot think when it gets that bad. Had intense PT session then got home and did floors. Guess that triggered flair up.

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  2. Magic of nature came in an email from the city: “The City of Mankato is piloting ‘No Mow May,’ an initiative designed to promote healthy habitats for early season pollinators, such as bees, by allowing grass to grow.”
    Sounds so promising. But below it were the cavets: “During this month-long pilot program, the City will temporarily suspend part of its ordinance (for registered participants only) that requires homeowners to keep grass less than 12 inches tall. Renters must have landlord permission to participate. Noxious weeds, which are considered a nuisance, will still need to be eradicated.”
    Not that the city is not going to cut grass, or so it seems. And I suspect the pollinators would not consider noxious weeds weeds or noxious. Ah me, the lawn is the highest form of American culture.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Talk about lukewarm embrace of the “No Mow May” idea. I suspect the dandelion is high on their list of “noxious weeds.” I’d really like to know their rationale for excluding people who aren’t “registered” participants from their temporary suspension of City ordinances in this regard? Seems like they’ve reluctantly acquiesced to some “liberal” notion that we need to do more to protect our pollinators, but don’t really embrace the idea.

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    2. I suspect No Mow May is being promoted cautiously by cities because they don’t like to be in the middle of the lawn culture wars. They’re sort of hoping that No Mow May will give them a rationale for not issuing a bunch of notices early in the year, but the message they’re sending is, if you know you’ve got neighbors that file complaints all the time, you might want to register your yard so we have something to point to that says we don’t have to be enforcers. At least not till June.

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  3. in norleans the streets are alive
    from midnight to just before 5
    with noises and motion
    with all kinds of commotion
    bouborn street is a bee hive

    music in dark smokey bars
    move by foot don’t use your cars
    people watching at its best
    this city never sleeps it rests
    love those jobs and jazz guitars

    the friends you meet in new orleans
    the drinking pals and drunken queens
    have stories that just make you smile
    paul up a stool and sit a while
    a special place with special dreams

    voo doo crawfads you’ll find em here
    and wash em down with a tall cold beer
    and tap you toes and tap your feet
    all up and down on bourbon street
    you must be dead if you can’t find fun here

    i love new orleans

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  4. The woods is certainly magical. There’s a certain transformative magic in spending time completely alone in nature. It creates confidence and inner peace that nothing else can match (for me, anyway). Note to self: Why am I not in the woods today?

    I found magic in water when I was a kid. I loved swimming and wading and looking for stones or frogs or snails. I loved digging canals and watching which way the water would run and how adding more water would just destroy it all. My favorite childhood toys were books, a bicycle, a unicycle, sticks, a bucket, an old spoon, twine, rocks and seashells. I had a zither with a few sheets of music that I loved. As I got older a guitar and a small radio shaped like an egg with a handle became my favorite toys. I also enjoyed crafts with yarn and beads: a knitting machine, a rope maker, and making macrame lanyards.

    I don’t know any Latin but I enjoy trying to figure it out. Something like, “As horses are aggressive so humans live with opportunity” (?)

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  5. Haven’t been to Mardi Gras, and would love to some time, except for seeing all the garbage left behind in the streets…

    I can remember when I first finally got the hang of riding a bike, the wind on my face and in my hair, the speed and the freedom of movement it gave me – it all felt magical. My friend Sandy and I could go all over the neighborhood. I could power myself to my piano lessons in the warm months.

    Later on, learning I could folk dance felt like a magical thing. And I consider it magical how a group of people can be divided into 3 or 4 sections, each singing different notes, and come up with harmonies that are beautiful.

    One of the best “toys” would have been the blackboard my dad built for us on the basement wall, where I could be Teacher to my sister’s Student (she may not have been as enthusiastic about this).

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    1. I’ve been to NOLA – twice – and had a wonderful time both times. Both visits were before hurricane Katrina, and neither time was during Mardi Gras. I can only imagine how wild that is. But the food, the music, the history and places to see, the nightlife is amazing. On one visit we attended a concert with Preservation Hall Jazz Band in their little old “concert hall.” What a trip. We also had dinner at K-Paul’s restaurant, and I was invited into the kitchen to visit with Paul Prudhomme himself, and I have a photo to prove it. I have no recollection of how I managed that, but I did.

      I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before, in Basel they have an annual festival similar to Mardi Gras; Fasnacht it’s called. My roommate, Annette, and I were eager participants in all of the activities when we weren’t working. Didn’t get much sleep that week!

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      1. They have over 300 festivals a year in New Orleans. It was the French Quarter festival when we were there. It was hopping still by 5:00 am.

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  6. I think the motto is “Live it up as long as you don’t have a horse gunning for you”.

    Have never been to NOLA – not something I seriously aspire to either. Although I do love beignets.

    Magic. When I was a kid, magic was in my imagination. I played all kinds of games where reality had to be suspended. At one of my childhood homes, we had a detached garage on a hill… so the car pulled in from the south but on the north there were steps up to a storage area above. We called this the playhouse and had two summers of marvelous make-believe games there.

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  7. Nature, just as a good book, has always had the ability to transport me somewhere else and make me lose track of time. I suppose you could consider that magical, though I have never thought of it that way.

    When I was a kid I would sometimes become so absorbed in reading or observing something that I was oblivious to everything around me. I know now what a gift that was. These days I have to work a little harder to achieve that level of concentration, but if the book is good, or the circumstances just right, it can still happen.

    Sitting on a bench in early spring, on a quiet morning, in the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, is one place conducive to that kind of reverie. So are Lebanon Hills and Dodge Nature Center. In winter the Como Conservatory is favorite place to soak up some peace and quiet and relax. I used to go there often with Ken on our weekly outings. Even in the fairly advanced stages of his dementia, it was a place where he felt at ease.

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  8. Magic, when I was a kid, was something that resided in books. The natural world, much as I appreciated it, didn’t strike me as magical, because it was all around me. The Mary Poppins and Dr. Doolittle books were magic.

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