19 February 2009

You're not in France any more

Thunderstorms in the evening in February. That doesn't happen in Saint-Aignan, but that's what we had last night on the North Carolina coast.

Six hours of heavy rain at one stretch. That seldom happens in Saint-Aignan either. The fact is, the annual rainfall total here in N.C. is 3x what it is in the Loire Valley.

Collards from a prison farm. You wouldn't get that in Saint-Aignan. My mother does volunteer work at a "food mission" where people in need — des cas sociaux, in French, I think — can get free groceries for themselves and their families. Yesterday, a prisoner who grows collard greens for the prison cafeteria came in, with his guard, to donate fresh produce to the mission in exchange for some canned goods, bread, and sweets. Since the food mission is only open three days a week (Mon., Wed., Fri.), some of the volunteers got to take some fresh greens home. We cleaned and cooked collard greens last night. No, I'm not in Saint-Aignan.

My sister brought her 4-year-old granddaughter over to my mother's in the evening. She wanted to "meet" me because she had been hearing for days that I would soon be visiting. When she came into the room, she eyed me shyly. Then my sister said, "Do you remember him?" — I've met her two or three times in the past but she doesn't remember. I was sitting on the sofa. She walked over to me, hugged me, and said "Grandpa!" Ouch! As I hugged her I whispered in her ear, "No, I'm Uncle Kenny, not your Grandpa. Your grandmother is my sister." She seemed to understand. She's very cute.

I haven't seen the ocean yet. Maybe today. The beach here runs east to west, facing south. So even if I squint, I won't be able to see France. Maybe Florida.


  1. We had those storms here with hail. There was some damage and the westbound lane of I 20 was closed for a while. The hail came down at an angle and the sun was shining- it was truly an odd afternoon.

    I bet you enjoyed those collards.

  2. heh heh :) There's not much of a way to hear "Grandpa" or "Grandma" directed your way without thinking, "Ouch" :)) "Grand -anything" is tough *LOL*. But, realistically, even to teenagers, someone who is in their thirties is waaaaaaaay old :)) I remember that when I was an au pair, I was 22, and the couple I worked for were 34... they seemed soooo adult to me. I remember mentioning to them that a friend and I had been "draguées" at a café by some "old guys" who, I said, must have been "at least 35!" *LOL* They cringed and whooped in laughter when I said that. So, don't worry Grand-Uncle Kenny, everyone is old in the eyes of a 4 year old :))

    Looking forward to photos of the NC sites and eats!


  3. I didn't realize your sister was a grandmother. Must have missed that story about Charlie! Wow. Time flies. I'm sure you'll enjoy spending time with your great-niece, though. Kids keep you on your toes. :)

    (Ha! I just glanced down at the word I have to type in for word verification today--to post to this blog without being a blogger myself--and it's "fogism!" Should be fogeyism or something but still funny.)

  4. Word verification is forkshi. Is that some kind of Western-style chopsticks?


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