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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St Patrick's Lost and Found: Geaux Saints

As we await our certified letter's redelivery, we continue to suffer dental stress and distress. How about St Patrick's Day (and the traditional New Orleans parade the Saturday preceding) as a stress-reliever? Celebrations were marked by things lost and found, but the stress of the lost was far outweighed by the de-stress and delight of the found. This is turning out to be a year of saintly interventions: I can now add St Patrick to St Anthony (the prayer of a thrift store customer to St Anthony led to immediate recovery of my grandmother's bracelet.) As the signs and tee shirts of football fandom proclaim in New Orleans:

THE LOST: The New Orleans St Patrick's Day parade is huge and noted for its throws: in addition to the usual beads and flowers, spectators vie for cabbages, potatoes, and carrots. So exciting! A frugal parade! Unfortunately, the parade was running rather late and Mr FS and I had to head home before the big floats with the cabbage-givers rolled by. Not to worry: we had Frugal Son in attendance. He wanted cabbage for his homemade kimchi, which is not a traditional Irish recipe. But Poor Frugal Son. He had a bag of seven cabbages. He walked a few steps away for a few seconds to say hello to a friend. When he turned around, the bag was gone. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

THE FOUND: As our group of four crossed Magazine Street en route to our chosen parade spot, I felt eyes upon me. I looked into the eyes of a young man. We were locked in a stare. Finally, he mouthed "Dr Frugal???" I ran over and he gave me a hug, reminding me that he had taken classes from me. I asked him to remind me of his name and he said "My name is Josh, but you always called me another name, which you said suited me better." As we walked away, I retrieved my memory from the file cabinet in my brain. Josh was a psychology major who took one of the dreaded (to many students) required literature courses. He was very smart and more interested than most. He fell in love with Paradise Lost and always vowed he would take a Milton course if it was offered while he was in school. A few years later, the course was offered and--lo and behold--there he was. He held his own with the advanced English majors too.

As we walked back from our stint at the parade, we came to Magazine Street once more. And there he was again. He came over and said "I always loved you as a teacher." And I said "I always loved you as a student." Another hug and then I remembered. I said, "Isn't funny? I always called you PATRICK."

LOST AND FOUND: A few years ago, I was whining in this very space about how I wanted a second Hermes scarf. Amazingly, a blogger with a beautiful spirit sent me one and, also amazing, it arrived on my birthday. The scarf was designed by Kermit Oliver, the only American to design Hermes scarves. When you read about him and view his artwork, it is clear that he too has a beautiful spirit. In addition to gifting the world with remarkable images, he has suffered tragedy beyond my efforts to process. Any powers of empathy I possess are not sufficient.

This scarf has come in handy. I wear it when I teach Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, whose plot hinges on the gift of a green scarf. I also wear it on St Patrick's Day. And when I looked for it in my scarf area, IT WAS NOT THERE. I looked and looked. Even though I am a certified slob, I always keep my two Hermes scarves in their place. This one is especially valued because of the giver and because of the artist.

I suffered through several hours before and after work of looking in various unlikely places. Then I found it. It had slipped from its spot (HOW???), crossed to the other side of a small closet, and ended up next to Mr FS's socks. Oh, how I hugged that precious piece of silk to me! Just like poor Sir Gawain, for whom, unlike for me, taking the scarf was a sin.

I'd say that in the LOST AND FOUND of St Patrick's celebrations, I have received much more than I lost. Frugal Son mentioned that the mom of one his friends might give him a few cabbages from her parade stash. So we may have kimchi after all.


MBH said...

What a fabulous post FS! How great to find this "Patrick" on St. Patrick's Day! Glad you found the scarf!

Shelley said...

Hate it when I lose things and have that adrenalin rush of sorrow; even the relief of finding them doesn't always make up for that shock. Love it when I meet people I know from elsewhere when I'm out and about. It enhances my 'village-y' feel, my sense of community, makes the world feel cosier. As long as they are people I like, that is; fortunately I like most people.

Frugal Scholar said...

@MBH--Thanks so much for your kind words! I had fun writing this.

@Shelley--I guarantee that if you come to New Orleans, you will run into at least a few people you know. It is a strange phenomenon.