August 26, 2007

Open Season

Whew! We’re not sure what just happened….

Today was Pat’s birthday, I’m not saying which one, but it was pretty nifty.

I’d like to say it started with breakfast in bed, and ten-lords-a-leaping, but we’ve been celebrating for about a week, since Dan’s birthday (he’s sorta-sore), and there was our town yard sale going on, So Daniel went shopping and Pat followed a couple of hours later. Oscar too, he was the only one with a purpose, as he was selling! Old books and toys, he did sell more than he bought, but it was close. Anyhow, back to the story, the town yard sale dragged on all day, then at 5:30 there was the “rue Droite fete”. I’m still unclear on why, but it was picking a date, the 1950’s, and showcasing what was happening on rue Droite. Which houses were which stores and where the artisans ateliers were. It included a small play with the Mayor, the mailman and 3 others, and it then a wine party in our courtyard. We are still unclear why, but as our courtyard is in the middle of the block, and is a large open space adjacent to the street, we were asked to provide the space. Then we thought we would sieze the opportunity to show off the house to neighbors and friends who hadn’t yet seen it. Where everything started to go right was as we invited folks up and into the house (one by one) everyone else followed in what became a steady stream of familiar faces and enough strangers to make me hide the silver! Probably 100 people came through our house! It became an extension of the block party and the yard sale! It was a wonderful moment.

One must take a moment to understand the French….. maybe more….. one doesn’t invite another into their house in this manner, the concept of an “open house” is unknown, and never without a direct invitation and never past the first room or two. Now here we had 100 french people, and a not a few Belgian tourists wandering about. Dan was working the first floor, and Pat was on the second, Oscar was in his tree house, and it really was exhilarating for us. We got enough “chapeau”’s to motivate us through at least the winter. The Mayor was here, the vice mayor, the farmers and the Boulanger, the guy who makes false teeth, the news agent, the priest (who still thinks Dan IS jesus) and his mother. The real estate agents, the marriage counselors, our doctor, artists and even a few friends. It was spontaneous and culture clashing, we weren’t breaking rules because they are the unwritten rules of French society, we were mixing and matching and surprising everyone.


Seth said...

What a great story. I love the idea of the McBains hosting the Rue Droite festival (of course!). And think how fun it must have been for all those neighbors to actually get to show themselves around your house - like an elicit french fantasy come to life :)

Next week we have our version of the Rue Droite festival (AKA the Solano Stroll), and if we have the usual number of friends dropping in on our house to rest, use the bathroom, get a cold drink, etc, it may feel just a little bit like your weekend. We'll be thinking of you!

Ruth Todd said...

Bonjour, les McBains! Thanks for the interesting stories, adventures, and images. All looks wonderful (human and man-made)and makes we want to chat. Will try to call sometime this week and say happy belated birthday (to both of you) since the email wishes never made it to Martel. Take care.