We have returned! Though slightly crispy, we made it back unscathed. Florida was great! The weather was unseasonably warm (90 degrees), the beach was completely unoccupied, we saw manta rays "fly" out of the ocean, my family is well, we made a HUGE batch of chocolate chip cookies, mom&dad gave us a boatload of baby stuff (thanks!), we ate at Long John Silver's (I know, I know, all that FRESH seafood around, and we ate LJS... Blasphemy!) we got a 1 liter beer mug from our favorite Irish pub, my brother drank a liter of beer! (My hero), the wife and I learned how to play Texas Hold 'Em, and we had an AWESOME fish fry. All in all, our small vacation was a success.
Unfortunately, when we returned home, there was a message on our answering machine.
A woman who I've had the extreme pleasure of knowing and conversing with passed on to the next plane that morning.
She was a woman who was originally from France that upon meeting her husband during WWII, got married and moved back to the States with him after the War. This woman hipped me to so much in terms of how the world outside my own works. She was able to give me a broader world view than I had at the time. I won't go so far as to say I was an "ugly american", but at the time, I had specific ideas of how I expected to be treated abroad based on the fact that I was American. Foolish Boy.
Well, she set me straight, helping me relax on all that Entitlement bullshit. She also provided me with a working knowledge of
The Black Venus herself, Josephine Baker. (Thanks for that one)
She embraced me each and every time we met, and made me feel slightly more worldly when she would greet me in "typical french fashion".
I truly loved this woman for all the things she did to help me emerge from the bubble I shared with so many other
Ohioans/Americans, and for sharing all the pain she lived through during the War, the insecurity she experienced being a young woman in the states with a slight working knowledge of the english language-and the comedy that was also a direct result of that language barrier, the eventual grasp of the language, and the staunch refusal to lose her thick accent (Mrs. Clouseau, is what I used to call her in my best Inspector Clouseau accent), the emptiness within her heart after losing a husband, and the overwhelming joy of just being able to maintain a life and an outlook filled with positivity and love for everyone she encountered.
My Petit Pomme, you will surely be missed.