Oh, the excitement just reading about the party at
Castles Crowns and Cottages -France Simply Irresistible.
France - Simply Irresistible - isn't it just!
I knew exactly what I would share.
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I'm big on lists - To Dos, I Want, Favorite Books, etc.
One of my favorite, incomplete, lists is my TOP 10 DAYS.
There are days, and then there are DAYS.
I don't include the obviously special "big ticket" days.
I focus on days that were out of the ordinary that happened for no special reason
horseback riding in the rain forest of Costa Rica - monkeys eating from my hands
sitting on the top of a pyramid at Chichen Itza - scared to death to climb back down
moving into our own beach house - 30 years in the planning stage
kayaking in Summerland - the dolphins jumping so close to our boats that we could hear them 'talking'
My #1 day was not with Steve and it happened with little thought or planning.
July 13, 1999.
I was in Paris with my daughter, my sister and my niece.
Below is the story I wrote and submitted to Victoria Magazine - it was rejected.
It was really written as a gift to my sister who gave us the gift of Europe -
and did not reject my story.
. . . in the garden . . .
We all have special days in our lives - graduation, marriage, the birth of our children. But most special are those stolen moments which happen unexpectedly that we savor forever.
My sister and I were taking our daughters on their "Grand Tour" of Europe. Marcia, who is more than a frequent business traveler had indulged us through seven countries viewing museums and monuments she had visited on numerous occasions. She wanted to do something new to her. When we arrived in France, she suggested a trip to Giverny - Monet's house and gardens. The girls were quite unenthusiastic about relinquishing a minute of shopping time in Paris. We decided that it would be their loss. 1200 francs apiece and metro passes satisfied the girls for a day. We, on the other hand, grabbed our rail passes and packed our art supplies for a day of leisure in the French countryside.
A relatively quick train ride - compared to the 22 hour ride from Oslo to our relatives' homes in Northern Norway - brought us to the quaint French village of Vernon. We strolled about admiring the houses and flowers and picked up the requisite loaf of French bread for sustenance.
Bicycles were a tempting offer, but due to limited time, we opted for a taxi ride to Giverny. We were unprepared for the bus loads of school children and tour groups that rivaled the crowds at the Louvre. Undaunted, we lined up for the wait. Marcia got out her sketch pad and I my journal to pass the time.
Once inside the gardens, we were stunned by the beauty, a new color and scent greeting us at every turn. Each new view was breathtaking. We located a stone bench with a view of the house peeking through the pinks, purples, oranges and reds. As a dabbler, I merely sketched the abundant array of flowers in each direction. Marcia took out her water colors and began to paint Monet's home.
Light sprinkles and the sense that we were hoarding the bench sent us off to see the lily pond. We located a new bench with a charming view of the water lilies and a bridge tucked behind a weeping willow tree.
Marcia was engrossed in her artistic endeavors. I spent more time admiring my surroundings and people watching than actually sketching. Her efforts came to the notice of most people who passed. Some simply smiled, others were intrigued with her work. Many stopped to chat. We met a family from Toronto who winters near us in California, a London couple who gave Marcia their son's address since he was job hunting in her field, and a Blackpool couple over to see the tall ships in Normandy. My favorite was the little French girl so in awe of Marcia's art that she lost track of time and her family. She yelled, "Mama" and ran away, but soon returned with her mother.
July 15, 1999 has been added to my "List of Days".
No bells and whistles, no ceremony - I was simply sitting in a garden, with my sister.
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I'm (figuratively) on the road, bound for France, with many others at