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At Home and in Paris

Updated: Jan 26, 2023


Now that I’ve published my memoir...

What now you may ask? Well, to tell the truth, right after that book went off to the publishing house, I already realized that I needed to continue writing. After all, that had been my plan for retirement before I became the eternal tourist in my own town! However, in that moment a light bulb went off in my head. I still had the mystery novel that I'd begun to write some 20+ years ago. It was stuffed in a drawer or in a box somewhere, just waiting for me to have the consistency of time to pay attention to the kind of rewrites that needed to be accomplished to make it a novel I would be proud of.

So I rolled up my sleeves and sat back down at my computer. After the 10th draft, I knew that it was time to hand it over to the editor to find out what he thought. In the meantime I’m praying. Seriously!

Sunday we attended the beautiful vespers at the Basilica of the Sacre Coeur after driving the winding streets of Montmartre. But this time we were fully equipped with the address of the back of the

church, which was relatively flat and only three minutes’ walk to the famous square, filled with portrait artists and quaint cafes and one of my favorites, the Musee Salvador Dali. I was reminded of one of his famous admonitions, “Have no fear of perfection--you’ll never reach it!”

After the beautiful services, complete with the grand organ and the singing nuns, we headed to the first spot for a light bite to eat. We laughed as we watched all the people, and spoke of how Paris seemed to be coming alive again.We were thrilled.

For the first time in a long time, it felt so normal, so wholesome, and no longer frightening to remove my mask for a bit while sitting in public in the open air.I knew that this all might be temporary, that it might come crashing down with a more complete opening of the borders of France in Summertime. But for now, it was truly divine! The only missing pieces to the day were our dear friends, Monica and Philippe, who have their home in Montmartre. Yes, their home is still there, but last October they fled before the third confinement and flew to Portugal, leasing a lovely apartment, furnishing it tastefully and adopting two kittens -- Cleo and Tony --- and now live in Porto by the oceanside. More than anyone else, we miss our time together with Mona and Phil, which was almost aways a weekly event. So many memories of our times together linger in our hearts and in countess photos that are continuing as one way of maintaining links that keep us together while apart.

On Monday we planned a trip to a splendid park at the edge of the Bois de Boulogne known as the Jardin and Parc Bagatelle. We found our way there with ease and parking was readily available near the entrance. We walked through the woods, the deep cool and life giving greenery seeming more plush this year than ever before. We ambled toward the stunning English-style rose garden, and after walking through it we found a seat on a mice wooden bench in the shade of an enormous Sycamore.

There we were greeted by the most magnificent peacock in memory and we discovered that he was not unique to this garden. Countless colorful males could be found huddled in groups, camaflauged beneath some large flowering shrubs, while others mugged for the camera showing off their finery as if we were potential mates. Some were even hanging tail down from the tallest trees.

The cries of these magnificent pheasants were ubiquitous, but in all our time there, not one peahen could be seen. Ted thought they might be nesting in seclusion. Not knowing the egg-laying and mating rituals of this variety of exotic fowl, I couldn’t claim to be an expert, but I did do a pretty good imitation of their characteristic screech. Hearing a familiar call, one cock walked right over to me where we were seated on the bench, that is until some picnickers rolled out their luncheon on the grass and suddenly the bird seemed to be much more interested in what they had to offer, considerably more enticing than I was with my empty if outreached hands.

We were sure to be reminded next time that, even though we might not be planning to eat lunch in a park, we should be generous and thoughtful enough to bring some leftover baguette along with us in gratitude for a most beautiful display of colorful tail fanning, shaking, and strutting, second only to the festivities on Bastille Day, July 14th.

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