©2012, Mirror Image Presentations
AUTHOR’S CAVEAT: This post has not been edited since 2012. I offer no apologies for excessive use of the words have, had, and that, as well as missing and misplaced commas, and excessive use of the exclamation point!
First, I would like to again thank host, Etienne Grignon, for generously opening his home to us again. Etienne has a charming house with a beautiful private wooded garden and a wonderful pool. Just looking at it takes me back to an age of innocence when my main decision any day was whether to stay at the pool or go home to watch “I Love Lucy.” As a youth, every summer day was play — after I had tended to my 5 a.m. paper route (over three years) and my gardening business, taking care of four neighbor’s lawns. Yesterday was an opportunity to revert to being a child. I took it upon myself to be the first of the non-overnight visitors to arrive with The Pokey Little Puppy in tow. This, I thought, would give Etienne’s 9 month old pup Robin and Pokey a chance to meet and greet. After an immediate attraction like magnets, the two twisted themselves into a game of Tag & Roll and kept at it for the next twenty minutes or more. After ah friendly hump, they suddenly became buddies.
As usual, there was so much food, I almost feet guilty for being an American. Such feasts we take for granted are only a dream for most of the world. As a culture (American, French or otherwise) we are very self-centered. Had I known so much would have ended up in the trash by the end of the evening, I would have invited my new found artists Gertie and Garrett. Even their pup Archie would have had a delightful day. As a Germerican, I too have certain ways of thinking, not all of them healthy. It has taken me decades to allow myself to go into another person’s refrigerator, but when I see ice sitting on a counter top melting, or beverages losing temperature, I feel an obligation to put things in their place — denn Ordnung muß sein, order must be. Is this being controlling? Perhaps. Ice belongs in the refrigerator or there is no reason for it to exist. And anyone who has ever seen the documentary, “The Fly” knows that food needs to be covered in Cling Wrap. So much for my P.S.A..
There must have been fifty people and at least one dog per dozen under several elegant large umbrellas. Pokey was kept so busy that he was not about to respond to my commands. Like children, when a dog sees, hears, senses the thoughts and words of a person, “Oh, he’s so cute!! What’s his name? What kind of dog is he? How old is he?” “And no, he doesn’t bite.” Pokey had been prepared for this field trip all week. He knew it would be a day at camp with food dropping from three different tables and twice that many loose hands dangling a chicken wing. As I believe it was Etienne who suggested to me, I believe too that this was as social even for the dogs as much as for the humans. At this stage of the game at ten months, I don’t expect Pokey to listen when he is surrounded by so many strange smells, sounds, people and — loose hands dangling a chicken wing!
Hours we had fun in the pool, jumping, swimming (a few strokes at a time) and I was generally just as annoying as I was the summer I learned how to do a cannonball. In the process of my own healing, I could not have been more obnoxious. There was kissing and hugging (in the water) bouncing and playing like children, a good healthy dose of sunshine and H2O. One pet parent took his pup on a shoulder ride through the pool. Pokey would not come near the water. When I called “Pokey” his ears flopped down his eyes looked down and he went to hide, tail between his legs. Being outdoors in the sun and water was just what I needed, a good second best to being in the sun and water naked. Speaking of naked; there was some fun ‘pantsing’ going on and Alexis even put on a pool side show, promising an repeat performance at 7:00 which he did not honor. I guess he can be forgiven for having fallen asleep. I haven’t had so much fun since the previous year in which Etienne played host again to a similar occasion — the 222nd French Wine Celebration; a sad statement of my current life. And Pokey — it’s after noon the next dag and he’s still sleeping.
A big slice of Brie cheese arrived and one of our heavier members grabbed a knife and crowned himself victor of a third of it. “Vous-aimez bien le fromage,” I stated, “n’est pas?” I thought he was ignoring my sarcasm but it turned out to be a language barrier — his. I wish I could feel so comfortable in my body. My French she may no be so good but I know what I say. It would me A GREAT DEAL if YOU native speakers would slow down, face me when you speak, SPEAK UP and pronounce trippingly from the tongue!!! Listening to people’s conversations, without them being aware that they are being listened to, is one of the enjoyments I get out of life.
Most of us are unaware the words we speak travel and take root instantaneously. Among the many conversations, I remember hearing (again) from the member who never tires of telling tales of his latest travels, even if it’s the same tale he recounted for all at the last CAP gathering. After listening to how he ate Bratwurst in Munich for less than it cost him in L.A., he turned to me and said, “I ate reindeer in Finland.” I thought about engaging my brain before I engaged my tongue and replied, “they do that in those northern countries, don’t they?” Maybe I am jealous because it’s been years since I have wanted to subject myself to the TSA. I reminded myself that we are all seeking the same thing, to be liked, to be loved, to be a part of the group, to feel safe. In this group consciousness which we all share with few exceptions, we are all moving forward.
I had wanted to take the occasion to gather some viewers on my pets’ 150 videos on YouTube: “Meck & Miao and Pokey,” as well as to add to my dedicated seven readers on this blog. Any pet parent has an idea of the antics that animals go through every day. Two cats are far more fun to watch than one and two cats and a puppy are really fun to watch. I never tire of their little personality differences. I happened to be sitting ready with my camera — the one redeeming value of my i-phone. All too often, by the time I find the phone, turn it on, open the program, get to the camera, set the lighting, the animals have all gone to their own corners. For a good laugh though, check it out! We all want to be accepted, forgiven, included, loved, sent. Please, accept my apology; forgive me for this plug; include me in your prayers; love my pets’ videos; and send me your valued feedback. Thanks.
That being said, back to the pool. After a long game of “Toss The Cork”, documented by lovely Matilda and her digital camera, water soaked Dominique got out of the pool, perhaps frustrated because her team in the shade was several points behind our team in the sun. Our side had the advantage of having the sun at our backs. In all honesty, I think she just got tired of being bruised with a cork; all in good fun. My apologies for any blue bruises on anyones’ body. Maybe, just like The Pokey Little Puppy, once again, I was just too much (fun) to handle but such is the life of a sensitive person. Suddenly, Dominique appeared before me, dressed with a photograph on her bust. My suspicions were answered when I saw the handbag on her arm.
Her chauffeur was waiting, Dominique was leaving and we hadn’t even had a chance to talk, not that I need to talk but I did. Purposely, I had not called her all week in anticipation of sitting below the magnolia tree for a chat. In spite of having offered to deliver later, my offer was declined leaving me feeling alone again, un-ful-fill-ed. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been left in a predicament because of a woman. Maybe that’s why I avoid them. Come to think of it, that’s why I avoid men too. What is one to do?? Know that it is always better to be missed than to be avoided. And move forward.
I wish to thank all of the healthy (and less healthy) wine drinkers for their contribution. Usually, I am one of the last to leave a party. Before closing, I can be found gathering trash, organizing recyclables, and tidying up. It was my duty as a youth to clean up after the mess of others. As a non-drinker of alcoholic beverages, I am amazed at how much wine can be consumed in one afternoon. When Etienne was ready to throw the thirty pound bag of empty bottles into his blue recycling bin, I asked if I could take it. I used to toss my recyclables into my collector neighbor’s yard until I had to tighten my belt even tighter, pulling 34″ in to fit a 30″ budget. I have learned to save my recyclables for later rewards, leading me to the rewards which will tell me to donate my recyclables to the street collectors. Your investment will certainly fetch me at least twenty pieces of “gold” next time the recycling truck passes. Thank you!
Lastly, I would like to make a statement that may turn some people off. If it does, then that is of no concern to me but still remains of concern to those who may be annoyed. When a host graciously opens his or her house and home to a large group of people, many of them strangers, the least one can do is respect the premisis and clean up after oneself. Certainly everyone has heard the analoogy “leave a small footprint.” I ask myself, how can people just abandon a plate filled with what they are obviously not going to finish, food they are wasting with plastic utensils, napkins et al ON the serving table — when there are two large trash receptacles just six feet away?? I can hear my father saying to me, “forgive them, Alan, they know no better for they were raised in barns.”
But even if a person was raised in a barn, at every step in life we have the opportunity to learn and grow beyond our beginnings. Certainly, these are the same people who drive as if they were the only person on the road. It’s an inconsideration for others — and oneself and the planet as well. Those who are guilty take the fun out of every road trip other seekers embark upon. Know your place.
As a teacher, I took an oath upon myself to lead people to enlightening, healing and awareness, beginning with my own self. Rather than taking such a generous invitation for granted or worse, abusing the host’s generosity, it takes so little effort to clean up after oneself. Perhaps I am wrong to expect that people should be more aware of their space they occupy on this planet at any given time and then again, who am I to judge? I won’t answer this question but I will say to the general public, “for one’s own good; show a little consideration and display a little class toward our fellow passengers.” It’s obvious that we live know we live in a land of seemingly endless abundance.
But if I am not sure that I will like something, I take a small sample or pour a sip into my glass before loading up and filling it to the brim. There is enough to go around — for seconds, thirds, fourths, by fifths it’s time to re-evaluate one’s visit to the table. It makes no sense to waste senselessly just because the well looks like it will never run dry Pour a sip rather than abandoning a half full or however you look at it half empty glass in a corner, only to have it sit there for hours because no one wants to assume that someone is not going to return for it. In the words of Joel Grey’s Cabaret Emcee; “ein bißchen Verständniß” — a little understanding is in order.
In closing, I acknowledge that there is one life.
This life is God.
This God is whole, complete, and perfect. Wherever I appear, wherever I look, whether at a pool or a police station, God sent me as His messenger. I accept. I give thanks. I release.
Et il est donc.