About the Author

author photo

The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

See All Posts by This Author

Live French Saints – Part Four




Authors note: If this is your first time on this page, checking out Parts One,Two and Three of this engrossing narrative might be instructive. (but, no promises!)


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.


What are ya thinkin’?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

33 Responses to “Live French Saints – Part Four”

  1. i,m thinking this entire series would make a great video. am i the only one?

  2. michael – can’t speak for the other commentors, of course, but the same thing did cross my mind. easily, i might add!(lol)

  3. clary – good to know i,m not alone in my brillance!(lol)

  4. hector ramos says:

    do the “old Rabbit Skins” have a CD out? checking out the video of them i get the feeling it would be really cool.

  5. john elton says:

    hector – good point/thought. no idea. but the obvious is…”GOOGLE IT!”

  6. as other commentors have noted – we,d all like to see more adventures like this on video. BG are you listening?

  7. ralph – with ya there. 110%!

  8. carl randle says:

    would have loved to see you jammin’ with “the skins!”

  9. sean mullins says:

    count me in there too carl……i wonder…is there a video?

  10. sean mullins says:

    as a gardener with fairly big plot i can sympathize with the toussaints. “green thuumb” always = “aching back!”

  11. larry croman says:

    if i’m ever gonna be kidnapped….i hope it’s by a couple like this!

  12. harvey dempster says:

    thats a very big “10-4” larry!

  13. quentin forrester says:

    while i enjoy all your posts….this one is especially excellent.

  14. sheila watson says:

    absolutely quentin…and i might add that for me DA BG’s style..
    so effortless (at least it seems so) is never preachy or long winded. he just tells the story the way it happpened and let’s us relive it with him.

  15. fran dennis says:

    you’ve really nailed it sheila…..in a sentence….DA BG is a storyteller.

  16. ellie brenner says:

    fran..DA BG is THE storyteller!

  17. jack coleman says:

    amen to that ellie!

  18. marly starwater says:

    well of course the bad news is that this fantastic series…like everything in life must end…..but the good news is that DA BG will be bringing us more adventures!

  19. dave winston says:

    thanks for keeping things positive marly….(as you usually do)
    if only more folks could look on the bright side…

  20. rachel forfait says:

    with ya there dave…..especially needed during these times of
    negativity and world problems.

  21. barry mcmaster says:

    when i was in school and they asked me what I wanted to be hen i grew up….i wish there would have been a option for : “exotic stranger from the far away lands!”

  22. cal worthington says:

    hey barry……maybe now there is!?…..oh to be in school again!!! (lol)

  23. harvey wallman says:

    i hate it when your posts end! Espêcially this one!!!

  24. gail reimer says:

    i second that emotion harvey! such a great series! Hopefully there will be more!!!

  25. kandi sloan-carr says:

    gail…if there’s one thing you can count on from DA BG it’s “more!”

  26. gail reimer says:

    yeah kandi – you’re right. what was I thinkin? (not enough coffee i guess – lol!)

  27. uno levi says:

    inspired choice..the opening image…

  28. fran kimmelman says:

    hit me too uno…..just the right touch of melancholy…or something just like it!

  29. dave emmerson says:

    jammin’ with the old rabbit skins – yet another feather in the BG cap!

  30. ab rosen says:

    yeah dave…except that i’ve never seen DA BG wear one!

  31. earle birde says:

    the way you never shirk from adding the negative elements of your adventures make them all the more real and, for us, believeable.

  32. larry croman says:

    i get your drift earle…..and although i’m not an english professor…..”more real” is redundant. something is either “real” or it’s not. it can’t be “more” real. real is as good as it gets.

  33. bev ross says:

    right on larry! and no one gives us the goods like DA BG!

Leave a Reply

Loading Facebook Comments ...