October, 2016 – Our street is an atmospheric lane assigned a road number with no acknowledgement that I have any attachment, much less any claim to mention that it is our street – mine and Jim’s. I do not need legal papers prepared in triplicate, signed and witnessed to mark this street as mine to share with you and especially, my partner in life, Jim. The community of homes, people and surrounding vista of fields and mountains still remains as a memory, a road that Jim and I can travel anytime when we say, “Do you remember the ancient wooden wagon by the barn on our street?” Maybe the street will change in coming years, but I hope not too much. Before I take too many right and left turns, or stops at junctions on our street I will explain the location for you. If you have read earlier blog stories, you will know about the stunning and comfortable barn remodel called La Ruche in Samoëns, France, where Jim and I spent an idyllic autumn. We explored the area each day, seeing Mont Blanc, waterfalls and lakes. No matter how exquisite the scenery on our daily jaunts, we felt happy to return to our street for a walk after dinner, or perhaps we started our day with a meander to see what was happening. What would we see that we missed on our last walk? The weather cast a different light on the barns, fields and mountains with misty haze on some mornings and then golden rays in the late afternoon. Each day had its own special magic.Diamond-shaped pieces of wood framed windows and the balcony of one house. My daddy, who owned a cabinet business in Alabama, would have appreciated the simplicity of the decoration. He built cornices with scallops and curves for windows when they were popular. I still have a faded green cornice with a unique design cut into the wooden edges at the window with lace curtains from France in my laundry room. Styles come and go so fast, but the wooden houses on the street we claimed as ours are standing firm in tradition with watering troughs in the front yard embellished with dates from the 1800’s. Now, that isn’t something you can pick up at Ikea. A rusty, crumpled sign advertised Formica. Do you remember when colorful kitchen counter tops everywhere had Formica? Another style gone away in favor of granite and other new products, but the sign reminds me of my childhood when Daddy had sheets of the material in his shop and samples on chains for ladies to select. Would they go wild with orange, or classy with fake marble? I built a Roman amphitheater, using fake marble Formica samples for an eighth-grade class assignment. Now, after you stop laughing at my grandiose creation, try to imagine it assembled on a piece of plywood, built in tiers with an open field for the gladiators. You must admit that a small town girl who can build a classic Roman structure from Formica is likely to succeed and go places! Jim wasn’t in my school class and he didn’t know anything about my contribution to the fall of Rome when he married me, but he says it sure explains a lot about me now.When we walked along our street from La Ruche we kept seeing new places for firewood storage under the long, sloping eaves and other ingenious storage solutions. We were looking high under the eaves one day and saw an old motorcycle stored with the firewood.
Benches were near the front door at almost every house, built sturdy to last a long time in the weather. They looked heavy, probably weighing much more than I do. No smart comments out there! I didn’t see a one that I disliked, and I kept wishing with each artisan’s bench that I could take hand-crafted woodwork home with me.
Gardens with the autumn crop of vegetables growing in dark, loamy soil attracted me as much as a candy store. Onions, garlic and zucchini fresh from the garden would be packed with nutrition and delicious. I wanted to get my hands in the soil to dig and plant. The flowers trailing from window boxes and arranged along stairways reminded me of my window boxes and flower pots on my Alabama steps, so many that my guests can hardly find a place to climb to my doorway. Hearts were everywhere: cutouts of hearts in the timber framing of houses, hearts carved in barn doors, woven straw hearts, hearts on window curtains and painted red hearts on watering cans.
How could this not bring a smile to the face of even the toughest character? Red apples bobbing on trees and the trickle of fountains along the street added to the peacefulness. We saw more tractors parked near the front door than BMW’s. Bicycles zipped along the lane with families riding along together. A gray-headed lady whizzed past and I felt like shouting an encouraging: “Go Granny, Go!”
Roosters, hens, sheep and cows warily kept an eye on us when we said our greetings in English. Jim had some advice for the cows when he spread a tasty picnic lunch in the sunshine on a lovely day at La Ruche. The aroma of our delicious food was quickly overtaken by the odor of cow patties drifting our way from the fields. We stayed at the table as long as we could and hoped the wine would overpower our senses and drown the disgusting odor, but nothing could conquer the stench of the cow’s revenge for my daily photography. When we stacked our picnic goodies and went through the sliding glass door, Jim had a final word for the cattle: “I’m buying a Sam’s Club-sized package of Imodium for you cows, and then we can have our picnic!”
Another couple down the street from us had a lovely picnic spread at their front door when we passed along on our walk. On the return, I noticed that she was napping on a lounge chair. Another peaceful memory that I claim for our street…
I hope you enjoyed the short stroll with us. You can visit and claim the peaceful lane for your street. Just CLICK to Alps Accommodations where they are ever so helpful!!
I have another truly delicious recommendation for you. We were recently in Columbus, Georgia and found a French bakery that is to die for!!
You will think you went through the front door of a Georgia brick business building and landed in France. Just below the Eiffel Tower you will find wonderful, flaky croissants and other scrumptious pastries, fresh and perfect. Did I mention the coffee? Oh, just get in your car and get on over to My Boulánge, 111 12th Street, Suite 101, Columbus, GA 31901 !! Special thanks to the owner, Bruno Rizzo, for a beautiful beginning for our morning with pastries and coffee that I wish I could taste every day!
You can read more about travel in France in the book “A French Opportunity” (Kindle or paper back) during your warm summer days. Perhaps you would like to CLICK over to check it out. Thank you for taking the time to come around to visit us. I love to see your comments!
All recommendations are unsolicited with no payment received for my glowing reports. All photos are the property of Debbie Ambrous.