Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Random Bit of Kindness


"How do you defeat terrorism?
Don't let fear rule your life.
Even if you're scared."
~ Salman Rushdie

Have you heard about Boston? Someone bombed the marathon. 2 dead. 75 injured.

I received the email from our son just as we were going to bed last night. His words put that thought out of our minds immediately, and we both tried to find out as much information as possible via the internet.  We both woke up around 2 am and, again, tried to find out what we could on the internet.  It wasn't much, unfortunately.

"It's times like these that having BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera English would come in handy," I said to Mike. The only English-language television stations we had last week were those three. We shouldn't have complained because we have only French stations this week.

It was a bit surreal walking around Avignon today knowing that something horrible had happened at home but really getting little information about it here. No matter where we were, the people of Boston weren't far from my mind, yet I felt so isolated.

We were out for a walk before dinner tonight, and a man and his dog turned a corner and ambled toward us.

"That's a cute dog," my husband said of the Yellow-Lab looking dog. I agreed, although I have to admit there are very few dogs that I don\t think are cute. I bent down as she came toward me.

"Bonjour, Pooky!" Her butt swished, her tail waggled, and her whole body squirmed with what I think was delight.

"Good boy!" Mike said.

"She eez a goo-rule," her owner said.

"Excuse me?" Mike has a problem understanding French-lish.

                        Le Pont du Avignon built 1177-1185

"Girl. It's a girl," I explained as the owner repeated what he'd said. "Tre bien, Pooky."

"Shjou air Een-glesh?" the young man asked us.

"American," Mike replied.

"Shjou hee-air aboot Boast-oon?" he asked. We nodded as he continued. "I joost hee-air eet en da rah-dee-oh. Eet eez say-ad."

"Very sad, indeed." Mike and he talked about who was responsible. I heard him mention something about extremists and domestic terrorists, and I mostly listened as I petted Raia and she kissed me on both cheeks (So French!)

"I loof Amair-ee-ca," the man said. "I half noot bean, boot I veal go."

"You should come," Mike invited him. "It is a nice place."

"Here hee-ztory eez zo zmall," he continued and held his hands about a foot apart. "Zee French hee-ztory eez vair-ee beeg."
                       The Palais du Papes built 14th Century

"Yes," Mike answered, "there are buildings here a lot older than our country. We talk about that every day."

They talked a little longer, and the Frenchman ended with, "I aim zoor-ee about zees. Be zafe." Raia nudged me for one more pet.  "Gobbledy-gook, Raia. Au revoir." They took off down the street.

In the grand scheme of things, the conversation was short and of no consequence.  That said, we both felt much gratitude toward the man for his kind words to us about our country.  There have been times we've encountered foreigners who have a pretty negative attitude towards us simply because we're Americans.  (And, yes, I know there are Americans who do the same thing about certain nationalities. Each is as ignorant as the other.)  I'm just happy that today we encountered such a kind man.

A pretty somber post for today, I know.  I'm sorry, but it is what hit home for me.

Side note:  We were going to go to Arles today, but we're both fighting colds (Merci, Paris.) and thought we'd just stay around here and explore.  Tomorrow, we plan to head to St.-Remy-de-Provence (and possibly Arles) via bus.  That should be an adventure.

By the way... God bless America.

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