Winter straggles, and we sigh.
But into the bony bramble comes a plump promise.
Into the wizened cold comes one purple-green day.
Into our leanest moment comes the largesse of cats. The largest cats.
It’s Mardi Gras, that gaudy bauble dangling off winter’s nose. Some will celebrate with a convocation of carbs; some will make haste for carnival, cartwheeling and carousing.
But you know how Fat Tuesday is meant to be observed: by observing our most enormous cats at their most enormous.
‘Twas not pancakes that gave Elijah his glorious girth, nor etouffee. He yearns for his very first muffaletta, promising he’ll keep a good Lent if granted just one slice of good gabagool. (My name is Angela. My ancestors would disown me if I called it “capricola.”)
But don’t pity our potbellied po’ boy.
Life is a bumbling gumbo of gelatinous poultry and hugs, and Elijah is living large.
But he’s far from the only big personality in this bayou. If Elijah takes care of the largesse, Baby will handle the lagniappe.
More pious than his partner in poundage, Baby wants little more than to give you gifts, extras, zaftig bonuses like head-bonks and love-gazes.
OK, he wants one thing more. He wants to know why the French have sandwiches that translate to “Mister Crunch” and “Mrs. Crunch,” and, more urgently, why he has never been gifted either. (Sacre bleu, Croque Monsieur!)
But almost as much, he wants to gather up all life’s gifts and glomp them into your lap, in the form of his formidable, Finland-sized self.
For the truth is, the cats who are generous in size are even more generous in grace. Their gras is not what makes them grand. Their bellies are the barest part of their bounty.
They are fat-hearted, plump-spirited, carnival-float gluttons of glee. And they are the grand marshals of our parade.
Even the leanest days of Lent are meant to be about love, a fact we forget at our peril.
Elijah and Baby are anti-peril and pro-jambalaya. And they sure hope we’ll party with them, even through our penitence. (They also hope we’ll invite Croque Monsieur and his wife.)
So let winter sleep-walk. We’ll be dancing — which may look like lolling and/or rolling — with the lovers who make life large.