Tuesday, June 10, 2014

On Your Marks, Get Set, Chill

...and watch, from my chaise lounge, as my mother-in-law plays cards with the kids, my father-in-law wakes from his nap in his own chaise and takes out the sprinkler for the little ones to run through, and the others read a comic book or leaf through a magazine. This is life in the afternoon in the summertime here.

We've had lunch, coffee with an extra uncle or aunt or three, cleaned the kitchen and are now free to drift and play until 4, which is the hour of the gouter; snack time, to be respected as religiously as lunch or dinner. What do little people eat at their gouter? Mint water, bread with a piece of dark chocolate, or maybe a biscuit (cookie) and a yogurt. In cold weather it might be hot chocolate. When out and about, it would definitely be a croissant or chocolate bread. 

I can still remember an occasion when my French host-father brought me along on an errand to Bayonne, a secret mission. He dropped me off at a tiny table in front of a shop. I understood zero French at this time of my life. He left, I waited. A while later, a server brought me a tray; a pot of hot chocolate, a pitcher of water, a mug, a glass, sugar and thick slices of hot buttered bread. I would not know it until years later, but I was in the very place where chocolate had been introduced to Europe by sailors returning from the Americas, and this was the oldest chocolatier in France. My host-father returned from his commission with tickets for the upcoming bull-fights of Bayonne. An entire day of unexpected adventures. 

I am not very good at this lounging thing. Yesterday I went back and forth between my computer, finishing up some loose ends, and my knitting. I will leave the computer home today and try to settle into a calmer rhythm, it may be hard, but I think I can get the hang of this. Wish me luck.

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