“I’m Late” – by Debbie Ambrous

November, 2016 – Samoëns, France – The digital clock in the kitchen said I was running late,yet I still needed to finish with the laundry and make the bed.  Jim said we would totally miss the big vide grenier sale that I was anxious to plunder for goodies to buy for my Alabama-French home.  Our wonderful rental house in Samoëns had a dryer, but I thought it only made sense to dry the laundry on a rack in front of the large expanse of glass, allowing the sun to radiate its energy.  See if you can guess who arranged the jeans on the right side of the rack.  It certainly wasn’t me, so I narrowed it down for you. Earlier, I saw another reminder of lateness in the form of a sundial on the wall of a building on the square in Samoëns.  I did not have an inkling of the warning about lateness from the words in Latin above the sundial, built in 1844 and restored in 1988.  The wording “Qua Hora Non Putatis Filius Hominis Veniet” is a reference to the words at Luke 12:40, rendered in modern English as: “You also, keep ready, because at an hour that you do not think likely, the Son of man is coming.”   Considering the importance of the wording, you would think it would be shown above the sundial in French, or some easily understood language.  I had to consult the computer for the meaning.

Jim wasn’t speaking in Latin when he reminded me to quit messing with my make-up, “Don’t blame me if all of the pretty junk you want to buy is gone.  You know that people get there early.”

“No wonder you’re late.  Why this watch is exactly two days slow!” – Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland

We made it to our destination, a big field with tables set up to sell everything from genuine antiques to faded tee-shirts.  Kitchen sinks and second-hand bras were sold on neighboring tables.

I know because a lady suggested lacey push-up models to me while the gentleman beside her was plying Jim with the value of stainless steel sinks.  No one is actually pushy.  The atmosphere is fun and good-natured.  I was grabbing a photo of old dolls and the sales lady positioned her real face among the doll faces, creating a much more interesting shot.  I found two pepper mills I thought I couldn’t live without and managed to bring down the price a small amount.  A large wooden antique chest was on the ground at my feet and I discovered that the vendor was putting his sales money inside.  With a grin on my face, I offered him twenty euro for the chest, including the contents inside, of course.  He quickly realized my joke and laughed heartily at my offer.  He and Jim continued with more nonsense while I explored.  I found enough new/old stuff to take home and had a wonderful time.  Now, when I review the photos I see items I should have bought.  Maybe next time…

Part of the fun for some of the sales is finding interesting things along the roads on the way to the site.  For instance, we passed through one village with a beautiful old bridge and Mont Diablo looming above. A marker on the main road nearby showed a photo of Henri Cornet, a French cyclist who won the 1904 Tour de France.  He is the youngest winner, winning just before his twentieth birthday.  On the sign you will see the wording “Le Rigolo” or “the joker” for his sense of fun.  Sounds like he could race with Jim!

We continue to race around our roads in Alabama for now with plans to return to France at the soonest opportunity.  Tomorrow, we plan to be in Troy, Alabama for a festival.  I will have my camera and hope to share photos and perhaps a story later.  Thanks for coming around for this short story with a reminder to watch the time because it is passing swiftly.

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