In The Club

end of summer

I went out for the first time in a week yesterday - the neighbors were having their annual get-together. Angeline from next door had been over to check on my progress and insisted we come. She said everyone would understand.

A little old lady demanded an explanation for my bandaged and battered appearance after I'd done the obligatory kissing, very gingerly, uncertain that we'd ever met before. "Chacun son misère," she said.

"To each his own misery." I'd finally made it.

France is full of little expressions that sum it all up. I guess American English is too ("it is what it is" springs to mind). I try to stay out of territory covered by pat phrases, but sometimes it's nice to be in the club. For a little while, anyway.

We told all the neighbors we'd be leaving soon, and that they will have a lovely new family in our place. With kids. I remembered Hazel joining us at the first neighborhood meal, and how she fled in tears from the farci and the toothless as they drank soup and red wine. The new family, will they join us, next year? the neighbors asked. They are really sad to see us go, and we feel sad too.

They've lived here there whole lives. Not much changes. They accepted us and now we're moving on. Their lives are very different from ours and in the end, there was never much to talk about.

The pears on the tree out back are coming in. When they ripen and drop, we'll be gone.

I get a little misty about that, and then remember what a nuisance they were, those damn pears. If you leave them on the ground, they ferment and gather wasps.

Maybe some day I'll feel like I have time to go collecting, cooking and preserving pears. But not yet. I have other things I want to do first.