Saturday, April 19, 2008

France - Part 3 A Church on Acid

Anyone who has been to France knows the French are into churches. In Paris, Notre Dame is only the beginning. St. Chapelle is not to be missed - if you are lucky enough to be there during the annual 22 minutes when the guards are NOT on strike. We finally made it for the first time in eight visits to Paris- and at least 16 attempts. It was built by Louis IX in the 1240's to house relics from the Holy Land believed to be the Crown of Thorns and part of the True Cross. Its stained glass windows, which essentially surround the entire upper floor, make it feel as if you are in a tiny jewel box. The steps of the Basilique du Sacre Coeur afford a stunning view of the city. St. Surplice, made famous in Dan Brown’s book, The Da Vinci Code, is a worthy destination on the Left Bank.

Further afield, there’s Chartres, Mont St. Michele and the cathedral at Rheims. The chapel at Omaha Beach in Normandy, sitting in the American Cemetary will bring a lump to your throat. Almost every chateau will have a private chapel. Finding a church to look at in France is easier than falling off a log. Every town, village and wide spot in the road has an ancient catholic church. And that is not saying anything about ruins, abbeys and holy sites.

Every evening on the barge, as we gathered for our cocktails on the deck, we would listen to the church bells calling the faithful to evening mass. It was quite the charming backdrop to our end of the day libations if not a bit of a contradiction to the start of our evenings of booze, food, wine and general merriment.

So by the time we arrived in Celon, we had seen *plenty* of churches. Touring yet another one was not high on our list of destinations. Kathy Missen, the proprietress of our bed and breakfast, Le Canard au Parapluie Rouge, was very clever in convincing us to go see the church in Le Menoux across the Creuse River.

“Well, it has an, um, *interesting* interior.”

“You mean like it has unusual stained glass windows?”


“An early baptismal font?”

“No, not exactly.”

“Oh, a mural by some Godly ancient French painter or, even better, by an Impressionist painter!” Now I’m getting excited. I LOVE impressionist work.

“Well, yes, that’s it…sort of.”

So off we set. We find our destination but are not too impressed. Like its brethren all over the countryside, it looks like just another dusty, quiet church.

But then we ventured inside…

HOLY SH...cow! I mean, Oh My G...Goodness. Well! Sorta leaves you breathless, doesn’t it? (You didn’t think I was going to curse, did you? C’mon, I writing about churches here…CATHOLIC churches. And right under the picture of Jesus - jeez.)

Boy! What I wouldn’t give to have been present at the opening. Do you suppose they really KNEW what the artist was going to do? And let him? I’ll bet they had a fifty gallon drum of smelling salts right there in the vestibule.

Of course, the artist’s signature sort of gives you a clue. *Paging Dr. Leary. Timothy Leary, please* Gotta love the 60’s.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Idiot Games

We settled into our site in Williamsburg late in the morning; we were visiting Jeff and Julie for the weekend. We had an uneventful trip up from Florida over the past couple of days. Weather and road conditions were all fine. Chris was off running errands and I was doing a little work on the computer.

It was such an ordinary afternoon, this. Who could have guessed what was about to happen…

I just had a moment of such immense stupidity, it defies measure. It deserves the Stupidest of the Stupidest Award. The Gene Pool Would Be Better Without You Award. So stupid I’m embarrassed to tell it….but when has embarrassment ever stopped me before?

It want something like this…

I reached for the iPod remote control in my usual graceful way and somehow knocked over a picture, which knocked over another picture, which knocked over a tray leaning against the window which

........i ..n....... s.. ..l.. o.. w ..........m ..o.. t.. i.. o...n

knocked over the big, tall, cool glass of water I had just poured for myself onto the table. The table with my digital camera, my pocket book, my cell phone, calendar, address book AND MY COMPUTER.

The only thing the water missed was the dog - only because he was on the other side of the room.

I would like to say after the initial shock, I calmly rescued the contents of the table top and swiftly wiped up the spill. NOT.

What ensued was me channeling Lucille Ball - with her hair on fire. Or a three Stooges vignette. It could even be called, if I do say so myself, a Basil Fawlty moment. If there had been two of me I would have slammed into myself.

“Grab a towel, you idiot!!” my Mind screamed.

NO I thought

Pick up the computer NO the camera oh God, the phone NO the books - they’re paper!

“A TOWEL, A TOWEL.” Mind keeps screaming. over.and.over.

I’m not sure if this conversation when on in my head or out loud, but I heard something that sounded like a cat howling in the distance.

The argument between me and my Mind continued for a few more seconds until Reason chimed in with a compromise. The carpet will act like a towel.

RIGHT … throw it all on the floor. Since the dog was now hopping around enjoying the new game, all 85 pounds of him, scrap that plan. Maybe I should have grabbed the dog, I could have used his curly butt to sop up the mess.

Finally, I just gathered it all up and took it to the little, tiny, itsy bitsy dish towel at the kitchen sink.

I think all is ok…at least I’m typing this on the computer and it seems to be working. Water has stopped running out of the phone and the camera has stopped making that funny gurgling noise when I turn it on.


And people wonder why I drink.