A Sunday lunch in France that lasts 2-4 hours is not uncommon. Food is pleasure, love and sharing. So it was no surprise to learn that my friend Veronique spent nearly a month cooking dishes for her own wedding (a 3 day feast in early August). Family and friends contributed wines, deserts, heart shaped wedding cheeses (the Neufchâtel) and specially made pates. I gleefully piled my plate high at the first of the four wedding meals. When I returned to the table, Veronique’s bemused mother asked if I was worried they would run out of food. For the French, every little item is savored as a course all its own. When the desserts came out. I knew what I was supposed to do; try each one individually. But really – why wait? And reader you should have seen their eyes roll when I told them at an American wedding you can dance between courses…
Another treat at Veronique and Catherine’s wedding was seeing people I hadn’t seen in nearly 40 years (not since my days at French boarding school). One of the curious things about seeing people you haven’t seen in half a lifetime is what remains the same. Faces change. Attitudes too. But our gestures, it struck me, don’t change. To my surprise, I recognized immediately the unique way someone stood, wrinkled their nose, used their hand or rested on one leg, rather than the other. It was as if these physical ticks were immutable. And perhaps – in some way I don’t understand – they are handed down through the generations. I say this only because of a surprising experience that happened this week.
At the end of a 1000 mile road trip, which concluded this Saturday, I drove my parents to Longtown where my great grandmother’s family had lived in the 18th and 19th century for several generations. We were looking at the church where these relatives were buried and at the streets where they lived, when my mother suddenly spied a butcher shop with one of the family names above the door, so she popped in and asked the butcher if he thought there might be a connection between our families. Even before he spoke, my mother and I noticed he looked a bit like one of us. Then his sister Patricia kindly invited us to tea and the way she used her eyes and her hands was startlingly like my brother. It was a little eerie and exciting to meet someone who is many generations removed and yet has a resemblance, not exactly facial, but gestural. How is this possible, I wondered and still wonder.
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Your curiosity always shines through!
Dear Lucie,Thank you for suddenly appearing in my mailbox :)It is always such a pleasure to read your postings!Thank you for sharing your experiences. You made me feel as if I was there with you.A big hug,Loredana 🙂
I look at your mom and I see you.
Like your friend above, I had a real sense of that wedding luncheon!
Now these are in my mind.