This French Country Travel Life Legacy is one of many I am fortunate enough to claim. But, more than any other, it is perhaps the most bittersweet. And isn’t that the best kind?
Paul is dead. But I have his glass. The one he toasted the Mexican sunset with on his seaside porch. It’s not your standard issue. Like Paul. Unlike the classic Whiskey tumbler only thick on the bottom, Paul’s glass is thick all over. Rounded edges. A kalidescope of colors. With air bubbles happily spiralling upward. Indented on all four sides. As if it”s creator somehow held it while molten, leaving the impressions of his thumb and fingers.
Bottom line: beauty and utility. Aristry and practicality. Perfectly reflecting the sensibilities of it’s owner. An artist. Who happened also to be an architect. And Although He was retired when I met him, Paul still drew every day. Because, as you may understand, artists can’t stop expressing themselves. Whether they get paid or not.
Paul’s last architectural project was his vacation home. A retreat as artistic and practical as his Whiskey glass. A circular plan totalling 3000 sq. ft. With an open circular courtyard. All rooms facing it, and on one side, the (often) blue Pacific. On the other, the silent desert tumbling into the mountains beyond. it was in those mountains that Paul harvested Black Palm for the house. Now illegal to protect it from total deforestation.But Paul was there at the right time. As He was for many other things in his life.
It was because of this house that I came to know Paul. My first contact was with his son-in-law, Denis (“Den-ee”,the french pronounciation) a vigneron. Whose wine found it’s way to my table regularly. And I, because of his great hospitality, found my way often to his table. And the exceptional cuisine of his wife, Michelle.
At one of those exceptional evenings, I was fortunate to meet Paul and his wife Bettina. This was,as the saying goes, a “May December” marriage. With Paul, at 83, being December. The second marriage for both. I got the impression they “got along”, but that this union was not the great love of either. But, then again,(happily!) I’m not a marriage counsellor.
One morning I got a call from Denis.Could I come over for lunch? You know the answer, dear reader, do you not? Bettina was there – but not Paul.I wasn’t puzzled by his absence, as Paul was more active at 83 than most men of 38. (I later learned He was – without being asked – digging fence post holes for a neighbour!) Bettina had a favor to ask of me. Paul would soon be going to Mexico to remodel the house prior to putting it on the market. Would I go along to “keep an eye on him?” You’re ahead of me already –
Next Time – Part two of my French Country Travel Life Legacy
THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?