Sunday, April 13, 2014

Les Joies de la Vie du Village

Life could not be much more different for me than it was in Texas.

In Argeles-sur-mer, we walk almost everywhere ... because just about everything we need is within walking distance -- the green grocers, the bakeries, the butchers, the cafes ... even the mountains and the beach are each a leisurely stroll away from our doorstep. In Texas, you pretty much jump in the car to go to anything except a neighbor's home.

In Texas, I had a very low-key social life. Outside of work and professional acquaintances, did not have a wide circle of friends, certainly few that I might "hang out" with more than once a month. Lot of reasons for that; not simply the Texas terrain.

Here, living in the village, especially around holidays and summer, we can hardly turn around without seeing someone else we know. And I love it!

Yesterday, we opted for breakfast at La Noisette with a table along the sidewalk so we could "people watch" during the marche. We stopped counting at 20 the friends who came by, stopped for hugs, French two-cheek kisses, and catch-up conversation. At one point, our circle was getting so large we were completely blocking the entrance to the cafe.

Of course, Donna-Lane and I did our own tour of the marche before things shut down around Noon. First stop was C's, the British brownie lady, and we also picked up some yellow daisies and purple blooms for the two planters on the steps between the kitchen and dining room, plus a rotisserie half-chicken for lunch (using for the first time our new wood table and chairs on the sun-drenched patio).

Today, Palm Sunday, they staged the annual village flower show and sale, and the main street was an explosion of color and music. There was even a fashion show in which some of the ladies emerged from cocoon-style wrappings to reveal their trendy garb. Along the way we bumped into friends who just arrived from Denmark, and - 15 seconds after we said au revoir to them - new American friends from Idaho who are here for two months. We purchase some color for the patio - a reddish hibiscus, some delicate violet flowers, and a small multi-cactus planter as a centerpiece for the new table.

I also bought a framed black-and-white, hundred-year-old photo that depicts the street show below. In this village, of course, which goes back thousands of years, 1902 was almost like yesterday. For a small, out-of-the-way place, there's a lot of activity, culture, and history in Argeles-sur-mer. I feel very fortunate that we live here.

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