My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Happy Fourth of July! [Joyeux Jour de l'Indépendance???]



It was May 27th. It wasn't Bastille Day—that French fete is coming up on July 14th. It wasn't the national Fete de Musique, that happens on June 21st. And it definitely wasn't the fourth of July. Still, for some reason, on May 27th, our last night in the small beach community of Saint Raphael, the town was putting on a feu d'artifices to rival any Independence Day celebration.



My hubby Mark and I had enjoyed one last day down on the sandy beach, taking a couple of quick dunks in the mediterranean and then strolled back along the promenade, looking once more for souvenirs from the south of France. 


We stopped at Spar, the small convenience store where we found ourselves shopping every day for sunscreen and shampoo, beach mats and beer. We picked up one more package of the sesame seed biscuits we'd grown incredibly fond of over the last few days for the road. My husband had his little chat with the pretty young blonde cashier who complimented him on his French. Really his language skills hadn't progressed much beyond bonjour and merci but she was sweet to notice his pronunciation had drastically improved. She always made us feel welcome and as though she were as happy to see us as we were here.  


Back at our hotel, we showered, rested, and caught up on texts, tweets and Facebook before heading back out to the promenade along the Boulevard de la Libération. We had a beer at one of the outdoor bistros and wandered down along the beachfront checking out all the menus, helpfully posted on sandwich boards out front.



After dinner we took a stroll and the day turned dark. As if it was timed with the precision of a church bell, a loud explosion crackled in the air. 



We turned just in time to see the sky light up. We ran across the street to the beach where other vacationers had begun to gather too. I was afraid I'd miss the show before I could get my phone out of my bag but I got lucky and caught quite a bit of it. 









Unplanned. No thinking about where to park and whether it would be too crowded to find a place to see the fireworks. They came to us, awesome and wow-worthy.  On that note I wish you the same this Fourth of July! Stay safe, be happy and enjoy the feu d'artifices. 


Comments

  1. Amazing fireworks photos. I can just picture you strolling along the road and reading restaurant signs, picking the best menu. Did you have hosts trying to lure you in to each restaurant? I always felt guilty if I turned them down. But we did go to a few restaurants that had persuasive hosts but not the best food. Thanks so much for playing along, and I'm sure I'll keep our Dreaming of France meme going even when I move to France. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

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    Replies
    1. We actually got that mostly in Italy. It's very awkward and a bit embarassing, especially when there's a line of them, close together.

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