Twelve

18 June

(Photos)

The large part of today was spent driving from Toulouse to Orleans.  We made a couple of stops along the way and one of those is really important.

We stopped at a village known as Oradour-sur-Glane which is really two villages now.  One new where all the people live, and one lying in ruins which stands as its own memorial.

According  to Eric a Panzer division with orders to move toward Normandy in anticipation of a suspected allied invasion and with additional orders to make an example should they encounter any resistance, encountered resistance (presumably) and make an example of Oradour-sur-Glane.

Many of the villagers were herded into the church along with cans of gasoline, the doors barred, and set alight.  The entire village was burned and any remaining humans were killed.  Only a handful survived by having been far out in the fields when this all took place and thus able to hide and avoid discovery.

The entire village was left untouched and simple labeled Remember.  So next time you think “Remember the Alamo” you can think also about Oradour-sur-Glane.  A disquieting but important visit.

We also stopped at a strangely excellent rest stop.

Finally we routed through Floeury les Aubrais (where Eric grew up and where his mom’s shoe store was for so many years).  There we stopped and bought a bouquet of flowers for Flo.

When we arrived at chez Olivier and Florence (Flo), I again got the full tour (they all must think me mad taking pictures of everything I see) and fell in love with their cavernous bath room.  One day I will bathe there with the assistance of three or four village girls and wine.  I have simple tastes.

The evening was spent at a barbecue for the building.  In attendance were Eric et moi, Olivier et Florence, Manon, et Hugo; Dominique (widower of Olivier’s sister) and his son Antoine; Stefan and his wife; Michel (metre d’ouvre) et Caroline; and some other children whose names escape me.

Dinner consisted of pork skewers (with tomato, bell pepper); a kind of pasta salad; a zucchini sauce; and Côte de boeuf.  This was accompanied by copious amounts of wine (eight bottles for twelve people), champagne, ricard, scotch, eu de vie de poirre, and maybe some other stuff (it all gets a little hazy at some point).

After a nice meal and a visit (for no apparent reason) to the dirt cellar I suggested we take a little stroll around the neighborhood (you all know how I love to walk).  So we filled our glasses and ventured out into the Toulousian night where we met a group of four youths in a small square just around the corner.

They were rolling a joint with blends of hash and weed (no tobacco so we stayed with them to help keep them out of trouble and to enjoy their company, and besides what one really needs after a night of opulent eating and drinking is a bit of marijuana.  Another group of their friends arrived and we all talked and joked and laughed together.

All very happy we said goodnight to our companions and made our way back home with our empty glasses to discover what sheets feel like anew around three in the morning.

JamesIsIn

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