Reunions on Foreign Soil
Isn’t it true that our lives are often too busy to reconnect with neighbors. Aren’t we a society of good intentions? “Let’s get together soon? How about dinner? Let’s meet at the beach!” Yest time passes and those unmet promises linger in the air like empty commitments.
Nancy and I have been friends since high school. We live on opposite shores of Cape Cod. There is a 25 minute ride between us yet the most time we spend together is when we reunite in foreign countries.
Marcy was my assistant director at the Armed Service YMCA (A life time ago)! So great to see her annually on these trips!
Every year we reconnect by traveling to some foreign soil ready to pedal the country side with other adventuresome folk. Our friends come from the Cape, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina and we reunite.
The Upper Cape Ski Club hosts these trips and Michael Finegold does a superb job of making all the arrangements. These bike and barge trips have become so popular that the “club” now offers several trips to accommodate all the would be cyclists.
we are missing some of our favorite characters this trip!
The Popes Palace Avignon
ypu can Wikipedia all you need to know about this medieval site of the Catholic rule so I won’t give a history lesson. Just goggle it!
i was fascinated by the technology that has improved education for tourists. This was really cool. We travel a lot. We visit a lot of sites but this is the first time we’ve been handed an iPad and earphones.
artificial intelligence ‘
As you passed thru a doorway the story begins. Like magic. Then if you use the iPad to scan the time portal you are jettisoned back to how the Popes and Cardinals would have viewed the room. It’s a very quiet tour because the hundreds of guests are transfixed by their devices and this virtual tour of a time long gone.
This place is immense. The history is powerful. The views spectacular. But mostly, it’s humbling.
All right, all right,
I know you’ve been waiting for my blog. I’ve heard you. But fortunately for me I just been too busy to write.
There are so many stories to tell.
But let’s start here. It’s 530 in the morning on very quiet boat on the Rhône. I am the only one up.
If this River could talk. The centuries of life it has hosted and endured would be colorful, brutal and amazing.
The changes that have occurred through man made dams and locks to the ecology and flow of this river have been documented. On the bridge of Avignon we learned of how the currents changed as a result of dams causing undo stress on wooden bridge leading to its collapse... we learned how the cardinals used the bridge to get from the abbey to the popes palace but once the Pope moved back to Rome the bridge lost its usefulness and maintenance became too great.
Now the bridge to no where is a tourist site. Where people like me go to marvel at the engineering wisdom of the humans from centuries ago.
The Rhône is swift. Today we travel down it... I believe there will be whispers of the past as we go... Castle’s, Fortresses, Turrets all monuments to a different time.
April 10th, 2019
Jazz Man and Story teller
I wasn’t excited about the last seat in the last row of the small plane from Boston to Laquardia! Ugh! And they took my carryon to baggage claim . Double ugh!
I got my last seat and my seat mate was having a medical event so the sweet flight attendant asked if I could stand outside the lavatory for a few minutes while they decided the gentleman’s fate.
His name is John. He’s a recording artist. Jazz musician who teaches at NE Conservatory and flies to Boston twice a week to teach.
He is a survivor. An artist and a bit of a poet. He sang me some “scat” and I know the people at the back of the plane wished they were me! He told me of his digenerative muscle disease that has him “wheel chair committed”. His hands are mangled from the disease but he’s still playing trumpet. His “label” had two left handed trumpets built for him so the world would not be deprived of his gift. He has special sterling silver “mits” that allows his fingers to grip the “horn”. He says audience members just think he bejeweled but these are medical devices. He took a year to lear to play ‘lefty’! This man is driven.
we talked the whole fight about life and it’s curve balls. I opened his snacks, water and medication for him. His hands were unwilling.
He’s 70 ish and said there were days he just didn’t want to go on but the songs in his head had to go somewhere... they needed to be heard. Inspiring.
He he told me of his favorite meal at a dive bar in Paris during his 36th year. He was touring and he had garlic buttered escargot and Armenac. He’s not sure he loved the snails but remembers fondly the armenac!
He takes this flight a couple times a week. The flight attendants are like family to him.
His wife and driver meet him at laquardia. It’s clear he knows the gal who greets him at the plane with his wheelchair. I walk with them. I’m not sure I want to let this Jazz man go. They share stories of her newest addition to her family.
He is beloved. I guess the last seat at the back is not the worst seat after all!
Ive been touched by an angel!
The pencil test...
The "pencil test" decreed that if an individual could hold a pencil in their hair when they shook their head, they could not be classified as White.
William told us of this class defining technique from his childhood. The government had job positions for “pencil test operators”. These employees would go to the schools and if your hair could not hold a pencil you were considered white.
There were 3 classifications White, black or colored. This method of classification was stopped in 1990. William shared that the sales of blow dryers and flat irons sky rocketed in the 70’s as straightening your hair on pencil test day could effect your future and class status.
william, our guide, shook his head and said this method of classification was developed by the top minds in the country....
Learning every day...