Me, Mémé, Jeanne, Aimee, Lise, Claire, Jean, Pépé, Etienne. (Cousins not yet born--Jennifer and Louise)
The farm was:
- Light suppers--milk straight from the cow, with morsels of french bread, eaten like cereal from a bowl
- Outdoor lunches that lasted three hours
- "Summer reading" on the terrace swing during la sieste
- A heavy cloth napkin, your own, tucked into a wooden drawer for the next meal
- Climbing barn ladders
- The place my father was born
- The place my grandmother was born
- The place I visited every other summer of my childhood
- Cherry picking
- Wheelbarrow rides, pulled by a work pony
- "Telephone" with my nine cousins at the kids table
- Card games with the adults, Bouchon!, until bedtime
- Hearing our parents laughing and staying up late
- Summer of '89--Sleeping on the floor of the old nursery, the room where my father once slept
- Summer of '93--Graduating to a bed
- Making rounds to see relatives I could never remember, but who remembered me, squeezed me, and kissed me. Wetly.
- Picnics; hiking to french marching songs, "Un Kilomètre à Pied"
- Sparklers on July 14th, instead of July 4th
- Waking up in the middle of the night to watch calves being born
Today, there's no kids table. Today, we used paper napkins at lunch, not the country-style cloth ones (I loved the cloth ones). Today the farm is still owned by my tonton Roger and tata Marie-Line, but someday soon, it will be run by my cousin Etienne (Jeanne's brother). Today, I turned twenty-five at my father's (far-off-but-steadfast) home, Les Guêrets.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go climb a ladder and see some kittens.