Merry Widow Float
Springtime in New Orleans: Azaleas free themselves from their tight buds, eager since the first hint of warmth to frolic in their party dresses of blazing hot pink, even hotter magenta, crimson, white, coral and lavender. Full-figured, matronly magnolia trees with leathery, deep green leaves are draped with crocheted MawMaw shawls of wisteria. Delicate sprays of bridal wreath dance in April breezes. Bees buzz, birds buss: Sex is in the air. It is the time of Persephone’s return.[i]
And this year, when Persephone returns to New Orleans, she says, “Jesusgawdalmighty, I hardly had time to unpack down there, and I gotta come back already?”
Actually, that’s not really true. Persephone would much rather run barefoot through red clover and what locals call buttercups[ii] at the Jazz Fest, catching strains of Irma Thomas[iii] and Little Queenie,[iv] two of our most beloved divas, than hang around the Underworld.
It is fitting, then, that there is one New Orleans woman who knows her sap has risen. Yessss-ser-ree! And she is about to burst for wanting to spread the news. Seventy-eight year old Esther Cohen Fingerman wants to share her good fortune with her best friends, Rose Pizzolatta LaRosa Scalisi[v] and Audamese Riccobono Waguespack. Although achieving one’s first orgasm isn’t the sort of thing one can just blurt out, say, like, “Langenstein’s[vi] is having a sale on brisket—thought you’d want to know.”
[i] Ah, Persephone: the drop-dead gorgeous, virginal daughter of the Greek Mother Goddess, Demeter. According to one version of the myth, Hades, king of the Underworld did what many Olympian males—as well as mortal ones—did when he wanted a little nookie: he captured the fair maiden, separating her from her protective mother, who had cosseted the girl and kept her ignorant of such things. In her grief, Demeter no longer tended her duties as nurturer of the earth. “Screw it!” she said, damping the sun’s warmth, which immediately brought about winter and the death of all crops. Meanwhile, Persephone, who actually got the hang of connubial bliss after a few tries, since Hades was nothing if not a masterful lover, was troubled. She’d found her calling as a nurse for the souls in the Underworld, yet also yearned to return to her mother. Hades found a solution when he offered her six pomegranate seeds, which allowed her to spend half the year with her mother half with him. So, after first six months passed, she frolicked upon the Earth once again, leaving crocuses in her footfalls. When Demeter came upon these, she rejoiced, crying out, “Persephone has returned! Persephone has returned!”
[ii] Actually pink evening primroses. Search Terms: (Images) Pink Evening Primrose.
[iii] Search Terms: YouTube Irma Thomas – “It’s Raining.”
[iv] Search Terms: Lil Queenie and the Percolators YouTube.
[v] Rose is now married to Louie Scalisi.
[vi] Search Terms: Langenstein’s New Orleans.