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692. NuPlanetOne - 6/3/2006 11:29:33 PM

Chapter 3 Joe Basil and The Ring

The idea was to use the incredible Turkish olive oil Joe ‘Basil’ gave me that he got from ‘doin dat ding’, you know, with Tony ‘Shishkabobs.’ Joe Basil was an unmade soldier. The stereotypical caricature of everyone’s idea of a mob wiseguy. He marched into the back door one day with a basket of beefstake tomatoes, a cache of young pristine arugula, and the most robust and piquant basil I had ever seen. This basil had an aura. Once you got your face next to it, the perfume, the unparalleled purity of the aroma had my eyes widening like an archeologist that had just dug up the missing link. I didn’t even flinch or ask who he was. He just plodded to the nearest open spot on a work bench, put down his treasure, and waited without a word or a sign. I looked up scrunch faced, then serious scanning face and sauntered over to check it out. It was a good season for tomatoes. His were the best I had seen to that point. I tasted the arugula; my eyes went immediately to his. He had the faked pained grin of a mother that knew her baby was about to be adopted. It was mild, no bitterness and the peppery afterthought was quick and inoffensive. Then I saw the basil. The sheen alone was worth the price of admission. It was like hearing Mozart for the first time, thinking you had heard a piano concerto before. Things raced through my head. We already did pesto the ancient authentic way, even though the commercial stuff made it a year round thing. But now, all in a second, I knew I could make my basil arugula pesto. My uncle Carmine invented it, he said, back in the old country. And to taste his, you could believe him. And as I remembered eagerly and tenderly fondling the basil that day, I remembered our first conversation when Joe Basil started talking.

“See, see how it rubs off,” he said with one eye frozen in a wink with his head nodding as he watched me squeeze a leaf. The resin was consistent and cloying. I cleared my sinuses and made a sweep by it with my nose like a crack-head doing a refresher line. The high was spontaneous.
“Ooof, Mingha,” he bellowed like he was verbalizing my reaction.
‘Nice, pure.” I sighed like a Drug Lord.
“Who are you?” I said as we savored the experience.
“Oh, scuza, Joe Giovanucci, Joe Basil. At your service. Joey D over at Fat Domenic”s Auto Body said I should swing by. Said you buy this shit. If it’s golden. Charlie, is this shit like ice cream, or what the fuck?”

Hearing him talk was like being home on the corner. Every other guy was just like him back then and back there. They always had a story. They might be in the middle of the most incredible shit in their day to day dramas, but they always had a story. A passion. An incredible slice of fiction or fact. Never about their personal business, the mob stuff, just an exuberant false analogy or coded allegory of some mischief or misfortune. And a bizzare logic bordering on philosophical truth. They would sum it up in a succinct maxim, then, like the coming dawn in the wake and residue awash after a sip of a true cabernet, it would smack you. They would then change the subject abruptly and coldly and fatally deliver the news. Might be you pissed someone off. Could be you had to double up on your payments. At worst, you might be shitting your pants the whole time knowing he would have to get to the point. Fortunately, I only got bad news like that once, and my brother just happened to be nearby. I got a pass, but even though it was over a woman, I knew I didn’t have the stomach or right stones for that kind of work. And even though that life killed my brother, the big son of a bitch saved mine. I didn’t understand the way it worked, but he used up one of his big favors with The Ghost, his boss, everyone’s boss. In the end he went down for some other shit labeled natural causes, but I don’t care what the coroner said, because at that point I learned to stop asking questions. I walked away on good terms, that is, I walked away.

693. NuPlanetOne - 6/3/2006 11:30:14 PM

“Giovanucci.” I said blankly. “North Shore, or South Shore?”
“Sout Shore.” He said nodding behind him. Then shook his head with a firm lip and pointed at the floor. “Right here, don’t like to go up there. Rat bastids everywhere. Dooshbags. No matter anyway. I’m a fuckin farmer now.” He chuckled under the big sarcastic grin with the automatic wink.
“Ya, how you know me?” I said with the make believe worried look of the guy with unbeatable hole cards.
“Fat Domenic,” he answered and grabbed a tomato as if he was about to raise the pot.
“Ya, what he say?” I picked up a tomato and weighed it with my hand.
“Dom, he don’t say nuthin. You know him. But we get talkin. I knew your brother back in the day. Nobody liked to see him come down here. He was like the god of bad news with the winged feet. Never came to see me, but we cooperated on a couple a tings. I loved the big prick. Sad what happened.”
“Sad? No, it’s sad when a baby dies. My brother’s death was the sadness of a wasted promise. The sadness was in no sadness. Nothing left behind. No tears. No tragedy.” I put the tomato back in the basket and grabbed another one I had been ogling.
“Oh, oh ya,” he muttered as if I just played my hole cards. “Absalutely! He coulda been anything. What a waste.” He screwed his face up like a pug.
“So what’s your deal?” I just dropped the subject and his face fell to normal with a thud. I could tell he wasn’t ready to go down that path.
“My old man ran the west side down here. I was like the Prince who couldn’t be King. Couldn’t be a made guy either. Trouble on my muther’s side. Just like you, well, your brutha.” He made the pug face for a split second. “Anyway, that shit’s done. I’m out. I survived the Feds, they got what they needed without me, and I did some easy time. First class accommodations. But it’s all gone. Now, I got my little spread out in Stonefield and almost two fuckin acres to grow shit like this.” He fanned out three bunches of basil like he had just called the pot and was going to lay down his cards.

That’s the part I remember. When he held the basil there was a look of genuine affection. I could see, I could feel; that part was sincere. It was his identity. People that have done things all their life that they didn’t believe in always had that one real thing that made them glisten. Gave them their connection to reality. Gave them the tranquil solitude in which they could debate their morals or identify their spirituality. I’ve always had the notion that sanity was the result of successfully managing a dual personality. Realizing that contentment lies in understanding our individual interface with this so called reality we exist in. And because you can not really know what lies on the other side of a person’s eyes, you have to decide on what to let in. You know it can contaminate. You know it can wreck your world. Yet, if you are solid in your identity and have tweaked the firewall, your sane self will survive. It might even prosper. You might even be happy some of the time. And I would see this connection, this sanity, on my old man’s face when he worked in his garden as he meticulously manipulated his tomatoes.

694. NuPlanetOne - 6/3/2006 11:30:47 PM

As for me, it was in kneading bread. That having got the dough right, I was now tenderly shaping my creations. I have a memory of each loaf, it would seem. But in the whole process from flour to oven, in the quiet of watching and guiding each step in the process, I could dwell in a place where thinking things through, daydreaming, making plans, was like a cathedral. And most important, I could analyze stress. In settling into my little house of worship I could avoid the combustion of my adrenalin glands and slow it all down. That is actually when I thought about food. I know most Chefs that pursue cooking for glory or fame or financial reward might have started out truly engrossed in a love of food. And, like myself, had stayed loyal to that motivation at some level. But any Chef worth his salt shaker eventually becomes driven by the sheer force of his success. You start to believe you are special. Even the cook at a greasy spoon enjoys some measure of celebrity when he hears the phrase ‘compliments to the Chef.’ Getting a nod of respect and satisfaction from smiling patrons who exist in the front of the house make the chaos and hell of the back of the house appear connected. You become a slave to their expectations and just cooking what you know is right and simple, becomes impossible. Even when you open your own place you insist you will do it your way, and then the slow nights come. But this time the bank has your ass just as tightly as the customer’s expectations. And before you can pronounce a new French syllable describing that recipe in Food and Wine, you are back to trying to decipher what your actual check paying buffoons are demanding. Everyone from the mute dishwasher to the crisp maitre’dee watch for you to get off your high horse and get on with the 2 for 1’s and family specials, and perhaps even that vulgar piano bar thing. They had watched you spend 3 hours delicately working your confit and lamb stock demi-glace and wondered just how the fuck you were going to get all that other shit on those stupid looking plates you special ordered on line. So you fight it and little by little you let the Sous Chef get back to basics. Before you know it he has things humming again as somewhere along the line you take over credit for the plan and make it your own. You become the owner. The manager. That euphemism called the Chef/Owner that vendors and working Chef’s pronounce with a wink and smile and a head nod toward the office. At that point in your career you buy the golf clubs, nice car and try to screw every new hostess you personally hand pick. Then you die. Or write a cook book.

But I’m alive and still chopping onions, even if I got one eye on the hostess. As for now, the other eye was looking tenderly at the faux boutique bottle containing the exquisite Turkish olive oil. And it was an elixir to be sure. For once you have acquired a taste for good olive oil and find a consistent source, you wonder why anything other than just good bread, fresh garlic, salt and olive oil are necessary to sustain a worthwhile life. Where I grew up, everything else was just dessert. That is, if I may insult the tomato and cannoli gods, not to mention Bacchus or beasts, or fowl and fish and fruits and French. Yet, the point is, if one must break bread, one should dip it in something rich and luxurious. And rich and luxurious were in that bottle. And Joe Basil didn’t get the stuff by accident. It is available if you know about it, as Joe explained it to me as he rushed in one Sunday morning desecrating my bread making solitude.

695. NuPlanetOne - 6/3/2006 11:31:19 PM

“Ooof, Madone, I can smell fresh loafs.” He went right over to the rack holding the batch I had just pulled from the oven.
“Don’t even think of touching those,” I spit without moving a muscle. It was like I woke up in a dream that I wanted real bad to go on with. I hoped that if I held my pose and kept the rapture I could jump right back in.
“Oh, yes. Definitely. They gettin quiet, the music is dyin down.” He had his ear to a loaf at head level and looked like the guy in the motel with his ear to the wall who heard good sex going on in the next room. The frozen wink, then the pug face.
“Take one of those,” I said pointing at the lower rack holding yesterday’s bread. “What are you doing here? You know I hate interruptions on my bread day.”
“Chahlee, I know, but this couldn’t wait. I got some oil that is like nectah. The nectah of the olive laurels. The ones they put on the gods in Rome.”
“What are you talking about?” I said giving in and dropping my stance.
“Olive oil, compadre, olive oil.” He placed a pint sized fancy looking bottle on the edge of the bread bench. “And we gotta have a fresh loaf!”
“OK, let me shape these last loaves,” I exhaled. He watched nodding in approval as I quickly finished the process then lay the proofing blanket over the 24 balls of dough. I grabbed a loaf from the first batch below the fresh ones and spun and grabbed a knife.
“Like a fuckin machine! You gotta teach me this shit C.” He pulled a garlic bulb out of his top pocket. I sliced the bread first then grabbed the garlic and made a flat paste out of four cloves and a pinch of salt. I pulled out a squeaky clean ramakin from the cabinet below the bench and Joe opened the bottle of oil.
“Let me do it, don’t touch the bowl! I can see shit all over your fingers.” I held the bottle and ramakin up to the sunlight coming in the back door. I poured it slowly and was damned if I could see anything but pure golden cleaness. I got out my tasting spoon.

Joe looked like the crazed soul assisting Dr. Frankenstein. I knew he lived for simple pleasures like these, but so did I. I dipped the spoon, looked sideways at Joe, then tasted. I know my forehead might have appeared to frown in some kind of disappointing shimmer. But it was amazement. It was a fear, an innate fear, a fear of disappointment, that tickled quickly at my left side, like an allergic reaction, and I scratched it. And now Joe was Edison, and I was Watson, and I could hear him loud and clear. This was not a thing of aftertaste. Not a decision of which parts and when they occurred in the perplexity of a bouquet or bite. The purity and freshness pervaded instantly and you could chew the thickness and distinct olive flavor while not for a second feeling boulders of bitterness rolling through the effluence that get trapped as residue like flies in amber. This was the nectar of Joe’s gods. And we had a pint of the shit.

696. NuPlanetOne - 6/3/2006 11:31:55 PM

“Talk to me. Where’d you get this stuff?” Joe was reaching for a slice of bread. “Wait, get a clean bunch of flat leaf. Top shelf down the back in the walk-in. His eyes said nice idea, pug face, and then back before I could double check my rising loaves. I took the parsley and chopped some perfect leaves and sprinkled a little in the oil. I lightly pressed a chunk of bread into the garlic paste and handed it to him. He took up some oil onto the bread and chewed off a clump. The frozen wink looked like it was trying to squeeze out a tear. A happy one.
“Tony the Roache,” he said after savoring the last bite. “He does collections for The Ghost. Just da big clients. Special rates. Only prime. Just like da juice the real banks charge each other in that overnight bullshit.” He watched like the little dog that waited for the big dog to move away from the bowl. I got my chunk oiled and he lapped what was left on his next slice.
“So,” I said after a blank reverie of chewing in which I wondered if Jesus and the apostles had oil and bread like this at the last supper. Thinking, what good are supernatural powers if you don’t zap up this kind of purity and flavor.
“Well, me’an the Roache, I went along cause I knew Shishkabobs. He had some unpronounceable name, so they named him Tony Shishkabobs. Big, ugly fuckin Turk. Soupastar or something in the opium trade in Istanbul. Owns a joint there. Shishkabob heaven.” Joe peeked under the bread proofing blanket and took a sniff. “These gotta be close,” He said.
“No, 10 minutes,” I said as I moved passed him and opened the first tier of the top oven. I grabbed my oven broom and swept out the burnt cornmeal. Then did the second tier.
“Anyway, I know Tony Shish on account’a he is stuck here in the states for 3 months. Heard about my basil, plus the other shit. I owe The Roache a favor so I go along cause Shish is paranoid about wiseguys he don’t know. The Roache said Shish got money movin problems cause of the war in Ganistan. So they hold him here and I’m sure they are lookin afta his old lady and daughter back in the homeland. You know the drill.” He shrugged with his hands in front of his crotch. “Gabeesh?”
“More than I need to know,” I gave it a sincere tone out of respect and an understanding that the possible bad parts were collateral expectations.
“So, Shish gives me this olive oil cause I bring along some basil and a basket of tomatoes that could be the balls on the gravy god himself. Meanwhile, I’m shittin bullets cause The Roache tells me to be ready in case it goes bad. An the fuckin Roache ain’t afraid of nuthin, but he was edgy. I’m afraid of everything, but my gift is I go calm when shit might be happenin. So the Roache comes out, tells me Shish can go home and the big ugly prick scrambles out and kisses me on boat sides of my face. The Roache is by the car on his cell smiling like a whore that fell on a football team and waving for me to saddle up the horses. He gives me ten large and drops me in the next town.

697. NuPlanetOne - 6/3/2006 11:32:27 PM

“Ten fuckin large!” I looked at him
“Ya, tens and twenties, solid pocket candy.” The unwinked eye had a glint of focused admiration, like a pirate in a cartoon picturing gold and jewels with the treasure in a cloud above his head. “I had to give it back, course.”
“Back?” I said halfheartedly absorbing his tone.
“I tried to give it back. I’m out, can’t do no more work. Feds made that clear. If shit gets back, I go bye bye in the real shit can. So on the give back the Roache says him and me are square. All even. Then gives me the ring.” He looked side to side as if he was going to whisper in my ear and slid off what looked like a highschool class ring. “See, class of 56.”
“OK, what’s that mean?” I held it and confirmed his description acting keenly interested.
“It means, my compadre, I have his sincere gratitude.”
“The Roache?”
“No, fuck The Roache, that scumbag, The Ghost! He only gives these out when he is truly pleased. For some reason Tony Shish gave me credit for coming to terms, whatever the fuck that means. Bottom line izz..it was something fuckin huge to the Ghost. I guess he stole a whole box of those rings when they booted him outta highschool. The legend says you get one, you graduate. Dat means made guy or not, long as The Ghost lives you are untouchable. I mean, if you don’t cross the lines. Anything else. You are golden.” He made a flourish in the air with his arm and a nodding pug face.
“What if The Ghost dies?” I said looking side to side in a hush aping his superstition about the subject.
“Hey, amico mio, deer’s no pension plan in dis shit, you know that. But the guys who got these rings, we’re a club. But I can’t talk about that, suffice is to say, the rings live on. Gabeesh?” With a smarmy yet not offensive self confidence he gave me his best straight look in the eye.
“Wow,” I said without the wow. “Who knows about this shit?”
“Just the guys with rings.” He was watching me as if he had heard thunder in the distance and was now waiting for the lightning strike.

And it struck. My brother had a ring. I only noticed it in the last few months of his life. But he always wore rings. And gold chains. He kept a locked box at my place in which he swore he would never put anything that could harm me or our family. Just his personal shit. Legal papers like everyone else, his excess chains and items only special to him. He always opened it in front of me and told me to use my key if I ever was short on cash. Sometimes he had a lot of cash and always some kind of document to cover the amount. When he died there was over forty K in the box along with meaningless little keepsakes, 2 decent sized diamond earings, some rings, gold and jeweled, and several gold chains worth enough to start a small company. The lightning flashed a snapshot of the ring. I saw it in my mind at the bottom of the box sliding against the little cache of gems. Joe watched my brow furrow and eyes dart up to his as the flash snapped to the ground and left a smoking hole in the conversation.

698. NuPlanetOne - 6/3/2006 11:33:04 PM

“OK. I get it.” From nowhere my testicles were tingling like I had just been given the news. “You guys want the ring.”
“Depends.” Joe looked mildly confused but mostly cautious.
“Joe, c’mon, I’m further out of this shit than you are. You’re scaring me ova here. I’m not even sure I got that fuckin ring of his.” I found myself slipping into the vernacular of the corner.
“Hairs da deal,” He stood up close, not menacing, but like the guy he used to be. No pug. Pitbull.
“OK,” I half whispered.
“If you die with the ring on, and you wasn’t whacked, it stops there. It is collected and next to the initials inside the band The Ghost etches a double X. But, while you are still breathin, you can ask to pass it on. The members vote and dat decides if it’s allowed. Your brother gave up his ring and we OK’ed it. Almost unanimis. One veto. Fuck him! Look thru ya bruther’s shit closely. Along with the ring there will be a piece of tin that looks like a business card. On the front it will say Cabal Enterprises, on the back some numbers and a bar code. If you got the card and the ring…well, compadre, gabeesh?” His eyes twinkled like he had cornered an adversary. Then the pug returned. And it waited like it expected a biscuit.

If I tell you, I will have to kill you, echoed in my mind. But it all made sense. After my brother bailed me out of my jam he was hardly ever fully relaxed or as confident as before. Meanwhile, I never heard a peep from that other life. Even about money I owed. Nothing. Until Joe Basil waltzed through that back door. So that was it. My brother gave up his membership to save my ass. I remember the day he sat in my apartment and said, ‘Charlie, you can go away over this thing. This guy wants you taken for an appointment. So I fixed it. You gotta move. Start fresh.’ And by giving up the ring, he must have been an open target. I felt a love, and a desperate sickness swimming in my gut. I knew I had spent my life taking hits for that big shit, giving up stuff, always there at all the bottom outs. But this… he knew the only thing that mattered to these guys was some imaginary and ancient honor. And the only abuse of their earthly vow of honor was the passion and embrace of vengeance. You followed the sacred rules of omerta, but vengeance allowed for discretion, and the rituals of vendetta could be sanctioned if they didn’t threaten the silence. I stole a made guy’s woman. I knew too late. And I thought it was real. It wasn’t. It couldn’t be. I never heard from her again. I got out, and now I knew how. I wondered if Sofina Maria was alive. She felt alive at that moment.

699. NuPlanetOne - 6/3/2006 11:33:45 PM

“Yo, C. Come back!” Joe was looking at me just like he was before I went blank and wandered into my daze of recall.
“Ya, ya, capisco.” I focused. I tried to picture the lock box with its phone book covering mixed in with the phone books at the bottom of the end table along with the stack of newspapers. Clutter. It would take a dedicated ransacking of the place to happen upon it. They could get in the building easy enough, but it would take noise to get through that door. Sixth floor. 2 dead bolts, rods going into the wall. The latest thing in apartment security. It could be done, and just because I was paranoid at that moment, didn’t mean someone wasn’t out to get me, as the saying goes.
“Good. You bring me the card, I turn it in, then you can wear the ring,” Joe said precisely as if I was waiting all my life for the instructions.
“Why did this news take so long to find me?” I said as it dawned on me.
“Your brutha died, what, a little ova a year ago, right?”
“Right,” I said trying to look like I wasn’t paranoid.
“Well, while you was tuned out amico mio, big shit was goin down.” He was nodding up and down like I had slept through the apocalypse.
“Fill me in.” I lifted the proofing blanket and looked over at the timer.
“Well, feds, finks and people dyin. The Ghost was outta the country for 9 months. And he wasn’t knocked up. All business was on hold. It all cleared up when Tony Shish put the wheels back on. That’s why I got my ring. Then I get my orders. Now you been told. The game’s back on. New business, same old fuckin rules. Plus, you need the fuckin ring. There are people that will be lookin to finish old business. Like I said, The Ghost is breathin, so you’re safe.” He lifted the blanket where he stood and gestured down with a severe pug face.
“OK. It’s time. Spread out.” I peeled the proofing blanket up and off the dough. With three folds I tucked it away and had my bread paddle dusted with cornmeal and took hold of my pastry cutter. As I placed the loaves on the paddle I said, “Top oven,” and Joe pulled open the top tier. I slid four balls of down evenly spaced along the back wall horozontically.
“How the fuck they come off that smooth!” Joe jumped back because I was right back in with four more.
“Practice, so what about this oil, will you be able to get more?” I had twelve balls in and snapped open the second tier of the oven before Joe could react.
“Ya, I guess it can be had on the world web thing. And, a few tight-ass goodie shops can get it too. Shish tells me it is hand pressed by some Turk Doctor who is a afishanado, or a fish some-fuckin-thing about being a snob olive oil lover. Half the Olive oil outta Italy comes from Turkey, accordin to Shish. This Doctor dick-up-his-ass only makes a small batch and until he saw the dolla signs, he only sold it local. Now he’s expandin. I asked Shish for details, acetera. He said to go google it. Fuckin Turk bastid. I let it slide.”
“You crack me up Joe Basil, now scoot. I gotta get shakin.” I slid the paddle back up above the rack. I couldn’t wait for him to leave so I could collapse in private.
“OK Chahlee, have the card Tuesday when I deliver the tomatoes. Leave the rest to me.” He stopped by the door and stood there holding up his left hand. He wiggled the finger with the ring. “Never leave home without it.” Wink, pug face. “Ciao bambola faccia.”

Anyway, that was the idea. Use the incredible olive oil and build my scallop entrée. I mean, I had cooked up most of my ideas with even less time to play with, and shit, I had at least a half hour for this one.

700. webfeet - 6/6/2006 5:53:39 AM

Bravo! More roses fly down from the third and the fourth rings. You would be crazy not to pursue this. A fishinado! You have the mob thing down beau-ti-fully. You have an insider source. I know it. No-one can just channel that. It's fantastico!


Um, excuse me. Doesn't anyone here have a pulse?

701. Magoseph - 6/6/2006 12:08:25 PM

Web, I do, see this: Message # 19584 in thread 142

702. Macnas - 6/6/2006 2:31:16 PM

What a great first thing to read after my few days away from the Mote!

If it was a book, I'd buy it.

703. NuPlanetOne - 6/10/2006 8:39:41 PM


Well then, I have decided it will be a book. Written entirely in here. Imagine how long that might take! Then, with the blessing of The Mote copyright police I will set off and option it out. Perhaps when I get my first huge advance, I will open my own Bistro and become fabulously wealthy! In any case, I will hopefully entertain you all as I plod along and actually fashion a plot somewhere amidst the food and fodder simmering on the surface.

704. webfeet - 6/14/2006 3:45:36 AM

Yes, and I will look on, proud from my post as a part-time bookkeeper in a vacuum-cleaner company. Then, I will later wrap up my opus in a neat little parcel, and drink myself to death with Cherish and Roy and throw darts at my NuPlanetOne kewpie doll.. And, oh nevermind.

You have a very good ear for dialogue. And that is half the battle.

705. concerned - 6/24/2006 4:51:03 AM

Say, what's a 'herione'? I've heard of 'heroines', of course.

706. Ulgine Barrows - 6/24/2006 9:54:14 AM

yeah right, Let's get together on these 'heroines', of course.
Before we get much older

707. Ulgine Barrows - 6/24/2006 10:04:58 AM

mmm
fuck me now
or fuck me later
strategy

708. webfeet - 6/27/2006 5:55:27 AM

Well, ding dong dell..who do we have here?

I hope that wasn't a haiku. Because, if it was, I've never heard such a strange little melody put to music. Yes, yes it might actually be a haiku! Lovely, ulgine. Unprecedently lovely.

709. webfeet - 6/27/2006 6:08:58 AM

I suppose I should be telling you all now. Get out your hankies.

No, no, I'm not not published, yet. What I'm doing is leaving the country Friday to spend ete en provence with belle-mere and it is highly unlikely that you shall hear from me for the entire summer! All those 4th of July Barbecues I will have to miss, oh, I can't stop sobbing. City heat inthe dog days of summer. Please, someone hand me un mouchoir while I dab my eyes.

Of course, I am landing straight into the jaws of death. But, what's a fool to care? There are tartes everywhere! And I can dance in the street every time her back is turned and dream under the parasol of a small cafe, in total silence.



710. alistairconnor - 6/27/2006 9:45:14 AM

Middle of Aix en Provence if I am not mistaken?

Classy big village. Plenty of pretty fountains for the kids to splash around in. Though perhaps Aix is a bit prim and strait-laced to tolerate that.
I hope les grands-parents have enrolled the progeniture in a centre aéré, so they can tough it out with the locals?
Perhaps Clément is old enough for a week in a summer camp? That would be formative.

711. Magoseph - 6/27/2006 11:43:03 AM

What I'm doing is leaving the country Friday to spend ete en provence with belle-mere and it is highly unlikely that you shall hear from me for the entire summer!

Why is the ordi’s sacrosanctity still in effect, Web?

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