Where are all the cops?
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Mardi Gras Fun in Texas
Where are all the cops?
We and maybe a thousand other curiosity seekers (a gazillion of whom have brought their dogs) mill about the county beach on Padre Island, Texas, just waiting.
We're waiting for the Island's first-ever Mardi Gras parade. Revelers jump up and down in the rear of open-bed trucks, just checking to see if the parade's coming. (They have to jump to see over the dunes.)
Others (much older than the jumpers) circle up their chairs in the sandy parking lot, partiers, revelers. They raise their cocktails in a unified toast. They laugh, down their swill, then laugh again.
The party spirit flows as freely as the beer and wine and tequila, but there are no cops. No one cordons off the parade route. No one directs cars where to park, or chases away revelers who've circled up their chairs in the parking lot, hogging six and eight slots.
A truck pulls up onto the beach, skirts the crowd, then backs up almost into the surf. A woman, dressed in all white with a fluffy white boa wrapped loosely around her neck and flowing teasingly toward her knees, hops out. Her guy-friend hops out the other side, shoots around to the back and pulls down the tailgate. And tailgates while the surf gently laps the truck's wheels.
No cops make him move.
Kids run back and forth from the surf to the dunes, criss-crossing the parade route. No one shouts "Stay back."
Where are the cops?
Oh, I see one, in a truck. He's just sitting there. Doing nothing. But smiling at the crowd that's already smiling a lot.
And, guess what. Nothing needs to be done.
The parade is coming and the revelers whoot and holler and jump up and down and every one laughs and grins and chases the candy and Mardi Gras necklaces paraders toss our way.
The parade is a tiny beach parade. Two horses, a slew of kids holding banners, a few politicians, a couple of bars, a Save Our Beach float, a mermaid float, a rock and roll band.
Oh yes, and a cop car. Holding up the rear. And his side-view mirror sports a Mardi Gras necklace.
At the end of it all, no one directs traffic, in or out, and amazingly we all know how to do it ourselves. No fenders get bent. No children or dogs run over. And that truck in the surf? She had to move it before the parade began because a wave tried to steal it away.
And no cops arrest that wave.