By now, you’re probably getting the impression, as I was, that the Toussaint’s life was totally sunshine and blue skies. Not. Remember that old rant: “Into each life a little rain must fall?
A big raindrop – particularly for Marie Andre – were her two daughters. They were seriously squabbling over the inheritance of their late Pere. (Marie Andre’s first husband.) The sunny sky here was their children. Making Bernard and Marie Andre grandparents. The doting happy kind. As most are.
The other raindrop actually had a cloud with a silver lining. Marie Andre’s Mother. Who lived with them. While she had her own suite and “did her own thing” she was definitely part of the household. And seriously engrossed in Italian. Not for a voyage. But just because it interested her.
Ok, so far so good. So – where’s the raindrop? Her health. Not the best. Which pushed a desired move to southern( more sunny )climes to the bottom of the “to do” list.
Then there was the garden. Of course, a pleasure, like most gardens. And like most gardens – a lot of work. For Marie Andre and Bernard, REALLY a lot of work.
Here’s why: Back of house. Patio (bien sur) below it sucessive rows of flora and fauna descending to a (more or less) level expanse of grass. Beyond the grass, bush and forest. So not only flowers and herbs to be nurtured. But grass to be cut and bushes to be trimmed. (Can you say: ACTIVE backache?)
These “raindrops” didn’t seriously dampen the spirits of Bernard and Marie Andre. They continued to greet each day with a smile. A joke. And unfailing appreciation for their good fortune.
A particularly fortunate moment for me was the day I accompanied Bernard to an “Old Rabbits Skins” rehearsal. (his band, remember?) He’d brought along the blue Les Paul Special for me. As it was ordained that I absolutely MUST “jam” with the “rockers of a certain age.” While, in all modesty, I do have a few “pas mal” moves on the acoustic guitar, I hadn’t hung one of the electric variety from my shoulders for many, many years.
Oh never mind! Of course no excuses would be accepted. The quandry was the usual one. What would we jam “on?” Since I was familiar with but couldn’t really contribute anything worthwhile to their 50’s “Rock Nuggets” – I suggested “the Blues.” A classic “fail safe” when musicians groove for the first time , as it has only three basic chord changes.
The first, and only Blues number that ever interested me enough to learn (part of) it was: “Hideaway” by Freddy King. (Brother of you-know-who!)
“The skins “(as do all guiartists) knew this tune. So, I managed to make it through, relatively unscathed. And, possibly add some “street cred” to Bernard’s rep.
Alas, alack, and gosh darn it – After 6 days of incredible hospitality ,great adventures, and not a few fine photos, it was time for the exotic stranger from the far away lands to do his “Willy Nelson.” (“On the road again….gee it’s great to be…”)
In spite of our warm connection, I don’t get many emails from them. But, each time I phone, the reception is the same. Plus 10. The number one question being: “When are you coming back?”
While I don’t know for sure, I would be suprised if Bernard and Marie Andre are not still kidnapping strangers and zapping them with their saintly vibe.
Happily, I was one.
THROW ME A BONE HERE,PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?