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Give It Up for Lent in New Orleans

So I make my decision of what I would give up for Lent and it’s 4 fold…never have I given up so much for such a time. I decided that alcohol and sugar and coffee would go. Yep I would just cut those things out of my life and also go to Mass daily. I’ve been pretty stringent when it comes to these and I do this not without considering the health benefits for me as well.

Mardi Gras day I decided that after several weeks of going low on the booze I would just heck-with-it-all and drink some beers starting that morning and later a bloody Mary made at this place on Pirate’s Alley.

I think it’s called the Pirate’s Alley pub or something like that. A simple place to be sure with just a few chairs and one very popular toilet that during Mardi Gras you need to buy and drink and secure a ticket and stand in line that stretches out doors into a side alley that also includes a La Divina Gelateria. The line moves slower than molasses in an ice storm and if you really have to go very badly maybe the best thing to do would be to find a wall some place where no one’s looking. But I would not advise that. Because everybody is looking on Mardi Gras.

Why the line moves so slowly who knows. I mean just what are people doing in there. It takes me all of maybe 30 seconds and then a 5 second washing at the basin then a perfunctory drying of the hands and I’m outta there. Men always wonder just what the heck are women doing in there that it seems to take forever?

Anyway, these BMs are really really good, made from scratch and so yummy and tasty that I always feel like having another. But I don’t.

So although I had all this alcohol in my system I felt not the least bit tight or problematic. I thought this strange. In fact I felt good but could tell I had a little headache coming on. I have been given the gift of getting a slight hangover after my first drink so I guess I am pretty lucky in that regard. So that little discomfort gives me the impetus to go no futher down the drinking path.

That evening I ended my little drinking expedition, something I rarely do but decided that this year I would really get into the Gras spirit and give myself a reason to do a Lenten fast for, so I ended the day with a beer and found myself going to sleep by about 9 PM on the couch. I awoke the next morning not feeling the worse for wear strangely enough. Of course the first thing I wanted was a cup of coffee. But I restrained myself.

Giving up sugar is not that big a deal for me and have already broken the fast from that a couple times accidently, meaning I temporarily forgot it was Lent. Why do they call it Lent anyway? Giving up alcohol is not that big a deal since I have no craving for it, and really don’t like the feeling of being lit. It’s more a social thing, you know like sitting on the porch and having a Scotch with my mom.

But the coffee has been the hardest not because of desiring that caffeine rush, I can drink a lot of green tea to get that, but because of the taste and the bitterness and a good reason for going to Cafe DuMonde. I mean going there for tea and a beignet just doesn’t do it for me. It sounds weird besides — tea and beignets. Nope. Don’t think so. They don’t serve tea there anyway

Anyway, as Lent goes on it gets easier and easier to put those things aside and the desire for them gets less and less. Most times the hardest thing to remember is to not eat meat on Fridays. I sometimes find myself with a mouthful of meat when I remember or someone reminds that Friday in Lent is a fish day. Oops, I say, well, what the hell, I’ll just finish this roast beef po’boy. I’ll only temporarily burn in hell.

Now that Lent is almost over my desires to have the things I gave up are nil. Interesting how the mind works… the more you stick to your commitments and deny yourself the things outside of your commitment the stronger you get.

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