Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reflecting on Challenge

 I just got back from a walk to the Bricorama,  our nearby "petit" home depot.  Bricolage is the term here for  DIY .  And I am doing it myself , yes,  a "beauty project" for my little 1920's built house.   There comes a time in the life of a paint job know.

  I have put off the kitchen redo,  the kitchen being a hub;   always food being prepared in there , never out of use.   So I have put it off too long, but  now I am sneaking up on it,  knee deep in it but doing a little at a time and learning the techniques that work as I go along.

I did the grout for the counters first and successfully repaired a broken tile and that has encouraged me to take the plunge of repainting the cabinets.  The paint over varnish will be a colossal challenge,  I can't even get all of the hardware out of the wood.   It's been plugged into it so won't come apart.   I am not sure how I will deal with that yet.

On the walk to pick up the paint today I met two old gentleman from my neighborhood.  The one I am acquainted with has a wife suffering from breast cancer.  My friend does not expect her to survive it.  The other man too had the same story, a wife with cancer.  They were having a natter in the street and I joined them as they flagged me down.   I am now "mon amour, l'Americaine".

I asked how long they had been married to their spouses, thinking ...I don't know what...that my thirty years of marriage were proof of an endurance test, I guess.   SIXTY YEARS was the reply.  But they told me, a marriage is nothing, cancer and problems that come are nothing,  they had endured La Misère .

The new fellow began to launch into what had happened during the second war here in Nice as proof of  the  resiliency of the two of them.  During the war, no one had a sou.  They were starving and there were Germans everywhere.  He called it La Misère,  the French enduring, largely without food, without shelter and without hope until  "the Americans came".  And then he says they were still poor but they could buy a car on credit even without being able to put gas in it.  Still people lined up to buy cars as proof of their optimism for the future.

  This is all I could decipher from a story that spilled from his lips too fast for my correct translations.

"Youth today", he said , aiming an eagle eye at me....ha.  "Youth today don't know what life is.  Ils n'ont pas vecu. "  They haven't lived.

Then he laughed loudly and after kisses all around, sped off on his moto.


  1. The French starving and homeless during German occupation? I don't thinks so. ;-) BB