“Wait a minute now, you can’t pack a library of books in our luggage.” I pleaded that I would need the guide books and other essential reading material. I left my favorite choices behind as we thinned the contents for two carry-ons and one large suitcase. That’s how I happened to be visiting the large library in the big stone house next to the sweet cottage where we are playing like Duke and Duchess with furniture to match our occupation, if not the wardrobe.
Porter, the extra nice fellow you will need to contact to follow your own French dream here in Brehemont, suggested that I might like to read “Crazy in Alabama” by Mark Childress. A blurb from The Orlando Sentinel said the author is a “…skillful storyteller who fully understands his characters’ hearts and heads … hilarity and heartbreak go hand and hand.”
Sounded like I might want some of this; I could risk the chance of it rubbing off on me.
Just right away, I was caught up in the story about Meemaw, Peejoe, Aunt Lucille and Uncle Chester. Lordy me! I have an Aunt Lucille who ran a beauty parlor in Birmingham, and I named my son Chester. These folks in the story were talking about Monroeville and Andalusia. Andalusia is where I go to shop at Walmart. Monroeville is just a few miles past our friends John and Ramola in Evergreen. I was off to a good start on my book one evening while Jim slept beside me – he won’t allow me to tell you that he was snoring. All was dark except for my bedside lamp and a small light in the kitchen that cast shadows on the crossed swords above the mantle and the faded tapestry on the wall. Aunt Lucille was just beside herself telling how she was going to get into show business and play the part of Jethro’s girlfriend on the Beverly Hillbillies. Meemaw asked about Uncle Chester’s reaction and Aunt Lucille allowed that he wasn’t saying anything at all which evidently was not like Uncle Chester.
Suddenly, Lucille admits that she has killed Uncle Chester, and Meemaw doesn’t believe her and thinks she is just kidding. I’m hoping she is too, but she has done, gone and done it. Aunt Lucille says she poisoned Uncle Chester and then cut his head clean off. They are all shocked, and I’m thinking about hiding myself under the covers. But you ain’t heard nothing yet! This looney woman had Uncle Chester’s head in a Tupperware bowl. Don’t ask me about burping it to seal in for freshness. If I get invited to a Tupperware party in Alabama, I’m checking to be sure that none of the guests are named Lucille. Call me crazy, but I stopped on page 26 of the book. Gotta think about that one for a while.
Next day we were riding along one of the beautiful roads in France with cows in the meadows, fields sprigged with daisies and lined with purple and white lilacs. Clusters of farmhouses with gardens of new green vegetables tenderly reaching toward the sunshine appeared along each curve in the road. Inside a fenced courtyard, a shiny red car was parked with advertisement for Tupperware brightly emblazoned on its side. “Stop! Turn around. I have to get a picture of that car.” Jim thought I was out of my mind when I stalked around the fence and took the picture. I told him all about Meemaw, Aunt Lucille and Uncle Chester – especially poor ole Uncle Chester! I don’t think he believed me because he put a damper on my fun and said, “I’m putting a limit on how much wine you drink before you go to bed.”
We reached the Chateau Langeais and enjoyed our visit immensely. I’ll tell you more about it later. I loved the huge tapestries hung on the walls, and I was deeply engrossed in one when Jim said, “Have you noticed the French Tupperware lady in this scene?” Where’s a good guillotine when you need one?
I hope you like the pictures. Some may not fit the story very well, but then again you may not want to see any that fit the story.
Oh, and Mr. Childress, if you read this I just want you to know that I’m forgiving you for scaring me to death over here in France where my toilet is the other side of the cottage with a room full of antique furniture to stumble over after the fright unsettled my bladder. Hope you won’t mind, none at all, about appearing right here on A French Opportunity. Thank all of ya’ll, and please come back now.