After the parade, Hud and I were standing by Tom's truck de-frogging ourselves. Hud was in a hurry to get some red beans and rice and flung webbed frog paws at my derriere. The party lasted way past our bedtimes. But oh! The fun we had. I even got a chance to dance with the queen. Then the party spilled over into the Bayou Liberte home. It was early in the morning when I finally climbed the spiral stairs to bed.
You know how anxiety can be so overpowering that it is palpable? As if it exasperation has a scent? I awoke the next morning, drenched in the feeling of hopelessness. Hud had his back to me. He had torn apart the room. "What's wrong?" I asked, rubbing the party from my eyes. He didn't even turn around. "I lost my ring..." he sighed in a small voice. I jumped to my feet, assuring him that we would find it. Since losing forty pounds, his rings have been loose. All during the tossing of the Moon Pies at krewe, he had been paranoid about them, wishing he had left them back at the house.
Downstairs, Tom was getting breakfast and Charlotte was beginning to stir. I asked her to keep an eye out for it. Then I remembered the frog paws. Charlotte said to get in the car and let's go look for it immediately.
We drove into town, trying to remain hopeful. But, as we made the corner and headed for the parking lot, the three of us gasped. A farmer's market was setting up on the very spot where I thought the ring might be. Surely, someone had seen it and gotten a pretty special Mardi Gras trinket this carnival.
I ran to the gravel beside the place where we had parked and saw...nothing. The gray of the gravel was like looking at a field of clover.
But the Furry Godmother has many talents. One of them is finding four leaf clovers. I can find bouquet of fourteen or fifteen in a single sitting. I circled the patch of gravel and...there is was! Face down so the carat diamond wasn't sparkling in the sun. I snatched it up. It was perfect! No car had rolled over it. No shoe had ground it into the sharp edges of the gravel. Slipping it around my index finger, I held it in the air to cheers of disbelief.
The ring is one I had made for our fifth anniversary. It is a wide platinum band. The top has a center carat diamond surrounded by sapphire baguettes and triangles of pave diamonds on either side. Inside, I had the jeweler engrave our family motto, Adeunt Etiam Optima. The best is yet to be.
Voo Doo? Witchcraft? Or plain dumb luck. It's all the magic of Mardi Gras.
*All photographs by Hud Andrews!*