“Vieux Carre please.” I wanted to say si vous plait, but I thought that may come off a bit pretentious. It was Mardi Gras, my favorite night after Christmas and Halloween. It was my final night before my Lenten fast from alcohol and I wanted my last drink to be my favorite drink, the Vieux Carre…Bourbon and Cognac, bitters and bayou, it reminded me of Home.
“Never heard of it.”
”It’s from New Orleans.”
“ I’ve been bar tending for 20 years, don’t come across that often. The bartender googled it, and began to prepare the cocktail.
“Watcha think?” I sipped and smiled…Home on my lips…I could smell Time once again.
”Thank you, it’s perfect.”
”So what do you do?”
”I collect stories.”
”You’re a writer.”
”Yes, but I moonlight as a VP of HR. I don’t force my art to earn my living. You’re an artist…aren’t you?”
”Yes, I paint and bartend..” I smiled. I could spot an artist as soon as I entered the room, tribe members, we can feel each other.
So began a 40 minute conversation about art and wives and babies and New York and and the pleasures of Cincy.
“You must tell me your love story! How did you meet your wife?”
“At the art academy…she’s a graphic designer now.”
”How did you know she was the one?”
”It’s funny…it’s like everyone says…you just know. I just knew…she was it. I knew when she held my hand for the first time She just grabbed my hand and held it Like we were high school kids or something.”
Yes…I understood, when you meet that person…you just…know.
I finished my drink, and paid.
”My name is Daniel…it’s a pleasure to have met you.”
”The pleasure is mine Daniel. Happy Mardi Gras! Thank you for sharing your story.”
”Madame Vieux Carre…it is an honor.”
Yes, we had met before…I could sense it…like I could sense the coming of things and the going of things. I was happy to have met him again, and happy to have placed him back on his path with a bit of conversation and listening.
Off I went with NOLA on my lips, a new story in my head, and the reminder that…well…life is the Vieux Carre, at least my life is, a celebration of music, art , and love. The honoring of, “You just know.”
On this Mardi Gras I honor… the “The just knowing” the soul’s wisdom, the magic wisdom of the Vieux Carre-Madame French Quarter, the old square.