Martha and I just returned from two weeks in France on vacation with another couple we travel somewhere in the world with each year. I will not divulge their names to protect the innocent, but we always have fun together,and share a lot of laughs and memories together. Since couple “X” is almost as country as the Cox’s, we generally fare well when we get out into the country side while struggling in the big cities.
We spent three days in Paris before escaping to the Normandy region for the balance of the trip. Our first observation of Paris is that there has to be something wrong with a place that will charge more for a coke than a glass of wine. Our next “eureka moment” was that the Eiffel Tower was a much more impressive structure than we had envisioned from photos. It was a sight to see, and was right outside of our hotel room door. Speaking of hotels, I assume that our hotel really enjoyed having me there since they decided to trap me on an elevator for 30 minutes. Have I ever mentioned that I am extremely claustrophobic? Well, I am, and that is no joke. Maybe it comes from spending my life in open spaces. At any rate, the elevator was jam packed,had no ventilation, and had four heat lamps for lights. there was no “call box” or emergency button on the elevator. What saved us was having an employee of the hotel stuck with us. She was able to use her cell phone to call for help who took their own sweet time about arriving. I should have taken that as a sign from the Lord to go home, but I failed to listen.
On the next day, we visited Versailles where I was trapped in a restroom the size of a shoe box. The handle on the outside worked, but there was no handle on the inside of the door. I did not panic this time because I had sized the door up, and had determined that I could kick the sucker off the hinges. I gave one loud shout for help, and was going to wait one minute before busting the door down. Luckily, my friend heard me, and opened the door. Of course he was laughing so hard that he could hardly turn the knob. It was at this point in time that I realized that the French folks loved me so much that they were determined to keep me in their country.
A third observation is that all churches in France have the same name, Notre Dame, not to be confused with the football team. I did not see a single First Baptist Church in any town. This Notre Dame lady has the market cornered on churches there. Their churches also appear to be more museums than places of worship. I was disheartened to talk to many young French people who seem to think that religion is a thing of the past, and is only practiced by old folks. Almost all of the young French folks that I was able to talk to had formed their entire opinions of the U.S. by one visit to New York City. Now I have been to NYC many times and know many folks who live there, but folks that ain’t typical of the USA that I know and live in.
We spent most of our time in the Normandy region and absolutely loved it. We visited farms, apple orchards, and cheese production spots. That was where my buddy and I excelled with our small travel group because we knew what the folks were talking about at these locations. We visited one goat farm where they make cheese. The old stud Billy goat services the nannies 24 times a day for two months. One of our Yankee ladies on the tour asked why they called him a “Billy goat”. Before the guide could respond, I said,”Hell, lady,he doesn’t care what they call him with a job like that”. I’m still nursing my bruised ribs from where Martha elbowed me.
By far and away, the most memorable part of the trip was our visit to the site of the American forces landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day and the American Cemetery there. Martha and I found the cross of a Georgia boy and placed a flower at the base of his cross. I am not at all ashamed to say that I wept!
For me my most favorite part of any trip is seeing my house and sleeping in my bed when I get home. I could live without these dang gnats, but I sure do love south Georgia. Since hunting season is fast approaching, my next blog will be more about what’s going on here.