My trip to revisit my boyhood home in France
|I've had some great ideas for blogs the past couple of days, but alas I couldn't find time to grab the threads blowing off the hem of my muse's dress. Too bad, so sad. If you don't act quickly when you snap out of a trance or awaken from a dream, then all too soon that sense of symmetry, beauty and good sense evaporates and is forever lost to the corporate memory of mankind.
I think Victor Hugo said it, however, it could have been Alexander Dumas... That you have to pour into the pitcher first, (READ) if you have any hope of pouring out... that when the flow begins into the cup that one must write quickly to take in the full draught and then gulp it down to the fullest. Time enough later for editorializing.
Would that I could recall now what those thoughts were. Sometimes if I relax and take a deep breath I can recall just enough to dredge them up from deep memory. Ah, yes, I remember one now, but it was a strange thread indeed and hesitate to put it to pen for fear my readers might think less of me, for oft what comes to mind isn't exactly politically correct or indeed correct in any sense of the word. Oh well.... in the beginning was the WORD so here goes.
I woke up yesterday and decided to go to Europe. As a child my father was stationed in France and we lived in a small French village named Fouras, on the coast. It was South of St. Nazziarre, near La Rochelle, and half again as close to Rochefort. The whole area is steeped in tradition and history. So I decided I'd go there, forthwith, the sooner the better. Enthusiasm has a habit of evaporating, you know like those muse whispers.
There is this Air National Guard Squadron that regularly sends flights across the Atlantic and retirees are allowed to hop on, space available. So I found their number and called and was told they don't release flight information to anyone not in their system... that if I wanted to know more I'd have to show up in person and get registered. No problemo. I told my wife, Linda, what I had planned and asked if she was interested in tagging along... she declined. Now if it were a trip planned by a travel office with first class accommodations she'd have been more interested, but she knows I love spontaneity. Woman tend to be controlling and want everything laid out in detail... She said she had a trip planned with a nurse friend and that she'd watch the dogs if I'd reciprocate later on. So that's where that fell out.
Anyway I cranked up my beater and headed off to get signed up. Needless to say I got lost in a major metropolitan area but I have a strategy for dealing with that. I drive into a McDonalds and look around for someone intelligent looking. Not "professorial" but someone with some street sense. Then ask them how to get to the airport. I write down the directions and race off until I once again become disoriented. So I repeat the process. As one iteration grows into the next I keep getting closer to my goal until eventually I'm almost there. The last place I stopped was an Avis Rent-A-Car servicing outlet and the lady behind the desk gave me some final instructions on getting there.
"Now it's the other side of the runway and tucked away....go down this street and turn onto that and you will see their LOGO on a big tail fin.... probably off one of their crashed airplanes. That's where you turn left onto this narrow potholed drive. You can't really see their facilities because of all the trees and cement barriers designed to thwart terrorists. Anyway you zig-zag carefully through the obstacles until you get to the security bunker. Approach slowly.... they shoot first and ask questions later."
I thanked her for the directions and advice and proceeded to the gate, which otherwise I'd have never found. There was an Airman sergeant in charge backed up by a hulking security contractor, dressed in black. I rolled down the window and the Sergeant asked what I wanted. I told him I was looking for the Space A Terminal. He asked for my ID card and went inside the blockhouse. There, I can only assume that he ran some sort of a check, cross referenced to my license and then proceeded to call his superior. After about five minutes he returned and told me to proceed." "Can you tell me where the terminal is?" I asked again. "It's down two stop signs, the building on the right."
So I headed down to where he'd pointed and found a park. As I got out I looked about for a sign but there was nothing written anywhere. Hmmmm....Maybe the guard said three stop signs... At that moment a security vehicle drove up and an officious looking fellow got out, dressed nothing like the previous two. He had a more commanding and confident demeanor. "You have a lost look about you, sir, may I help?" He addressed me by an old rank, I hadn't heard in twenty years. "The Space A terminal," I replied, "I'm trying to find the Space A terminal." He pointed to a building that looked like the abandoned set to a movie studio. "Use the glass door on the Left.... those on the right are locked tight. Down the hall, last door on the left."
"Thanks," I replied, This place has more security than Area 51... maybe there's a portal to Mars hidden in one of the hangers. . At the end of the dark unlit hallway was a door. Squinting, it was possible to read... "Space A Terminal." Inside a very nice Air Woman took my information and said she'd call if I got a booking.