B, now 88, and M., three or four years younger, were to become our first friends in the Saint-Aignan area. When we arrived here and started getting moved into our house in June 2003, they drove down from Blois, where they live most of the year, to begin their summer stay in the country. M had heard about us, and she came over immediately, rang the bell, and invited us to their house for a glass of wine and a get-to-know-you session that first evening. That's the kind of people they are. M is especially energetic and outgoing.
Yesterday's gathering may well have marked the end of an era.
M told us that she is turning the keys to their summer house over to their eldest daughter, who also lives in Blois. M said she can't take care of it any more, and B is soon going to have to stop driving (Blois is 25 miles north of here). To mark the occasion (and M's birthday), they also invited another old friend of ours, G, a woman who is also 88 years old and who seems to be fading fast. It was good to spend an afternoon with her, and I drove her home (the other side of the village) when she was ready to go. I think the crowd and commotion confused and exhausted her.