Thursday, January 29, 2009

"To the Beat of an Island Drum"

Occasionally I enjoy sharing a special book or website with you. With Mardi Gras season really gearing up, I have to add one more to my list...

Several years ago, shortly after I first discovered Pensacola Beach, I stumbled upon a book called"To the Beat of an Island Drum - a Different Kind of Mardi Gras," by Jane Waters Cooper, in The Market on the Island. My husband and I were headed out of town that day, on our way back to Tennessee, but knowing Mardi Gras was an integral part of the Pensacola Beach community, the book immediately piqued my interest, and I looked forward to learning more about the heart of this small beach paradise I had found

On the drive home that day, I read and laughed, then laughed some more as I read about the birth of Mardi Gras on Pensacola Beach and all the Krewes and 'Social Clubs' which have come after. None of the names had meaning to me at the time, as they do now, but I felt a rush of excitement knowing someday I would be a part of this unique and adventurous...might I add wild and of people.

Flashing forward seven years, I truly feel part of this community as I have no other. With Mardi Gras season upon us once more, I pulled my copy of "To the Beat of an Island Drum" from the shelf and starting reading it once again from the start. This time names have meaning or a tinge of sadness that I did not/will not have the opportunity to meet some of the special ones like Harry Gowens or Andrea Brunt. I also know some of the 'back-stories' now and have seen the generosity of these people first hand. They party hard, they love dearly, and they have open hearts.

I verified that Mrs. Cooper's book is still available through mail within the U.S., so if you would enjoy reading and learning more about Mardi Gras on Pensacola Beach, please send her a written request, along with a check for $13.00 (which includes shipping and handling) to:

Shelley Ink
P.O. Box 844
Gulf Breeze, FL 32562-0844

If you purchase the book, be sure to read one of my favorite chapters, Chapter 21, about the Krewe of Nauga! Better yet, read the book, then come join us for Mardi Gras!

"Just gather the tourists into your own parties, and make them feel like they are Beach people, if even for one day. There is no better gift to give a tourist than acceptance and togetherness as they walk in our shoes. (It's o.k. if they walk in our shoes, since we're all barefooted anyway.)"

~~ Jane Waters Cooper, "To the Beat of an Island Drum"

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