I went down the lane beside the house to see Bardot’s garden and received promises of many tomatoes this summer. As I was coming back up I ran into Jean-Roger and Francois coming to pick roses in Jean-Roger’s garden. He offered some and when I asked if he had enough for Marie and his mother he responded that the gesture of giving them to me was important.
Then, I saw Pappi, Marie’s grandfather working in his garden. A few weeks ago I had made a photo of him that I really like and now was a good time to bring it to him. I retrieved it from the house and came back to the garden. I showed Pappi the photo and his face lit up. Then his smile faded and he looked at me and said:
“Oui, mais full of life”, I responded and he smiled again. My French really is getting better.
Genevieve came in to the garden and he showed her the photo and she did the most unexpected thing, she invited me into the house. Genevieve lives next door with Mammi Pierrette and Pappi Serge and while we’re friendly on the street, I’ve never been in their house. Now I was in the kitchen, the muscat came out and a conversation began as Pierrette swept up the dirt tracked in and gently chided Pappi for not changing his shoes.
She looked at the photo and said: “90 years old” and I repeated my full of life phrase. She smiled and said: “Moi, 92”
“Merveilleuse, ma mere is 94”
Pappi went to get a bottle of wine as a gift in kind and promised me many tomatoes and eggplants this summer. This barter thing may work out just fine.
Genevieve: “Are you going to stay in Maury?”
“Oui, but I need to find a house or apartment to rent to be fair to my partners.” I asked if they knew the house next door to the beauty parlor, but they didn’t and suggested I talk to Severine at the Mairie. I said I had and she will let me know if she hears of anything.
We talked about my interest in their family and the history of the village and Genevieve suggested we meet next week for a discussion with Marie and Jean-Roger. I was delighted and hope we can manage to make it happen. I think getting Genevieve involved can help make almost anything happen.
A neighbor came in angrily waving a soggy baguette.
Sympathetic smiles all around and what a shame that the bakery is so bad. Genevieve picked up a loaf from the table and said: “Estagel, bon pain.”
“Oui, et St. Paul,” I said. She agreed and then shook her finger to strongly express disapproval of the Maury bakery, “pas ici.”.
Then she proudly showed the photo of Pappi and explained that I was an American professional photographer and have an exhibit at the Maison du Terroir.
Much nodding of approval.
Madame then changed the subject to our new paint job: “Une jolie nouvelle façade”
Genevieve: Oui, c’est tres bon pour le quartier.
I noticed a glance at the oven, realized it was almost time for lunch and wishing everyone a bon appetit, left thinking how much these little things mean in a village this small.