In France we were entertained by French friends who invited us 'A la Bonne Franquette' which, loosely translated (we thought) is a simple supper, not standing on ceremony.
So we were agreeably surprised to discover that in reality this meant an al fresco five courses of fine food with different wines served at each course. (Exactly like the simple suppers we have at home...) Conversation was entirely in French which meant much nodding and pointing as far as I was concerned, though my fluency seemed to increase directly in proportion to the amount of wine consumed. Hearth-Father lead the international-relations charge.
It was five hours from start to finish - how splendidly French. The kids, however, were not as impressed as the adults with the timescale, and were restless after a couple of hours. Ice cream perked them up for a bit, as did some French television. Then one of our hosts, Kevin, seeing Gilby in his Arsenal shirt and recognising a kindred footballing spirit, presented him with an Olympic Marseilles teddy bear to play with. 'Say 'merci' to Kevin' chorused the adults. Delighted with his new toy, Gilby marched off to find the others. One can only imagine the scene that took place in the next room.
Eddie, all three years and several teddy-deprived hours of him, marched back outside a few minutes later - to a group of nine adults speaking an entirely foreign language. He stood framed in the doorway, chiaroscuro lighting, hands wrapped around his body, every muscle quietly and dangerously accusing. With a pitch that Marlon Brando would have been proud of, he rasped,
Which one of you out here is Kevin?
whilst flinging his arms outwards to encompass the gathered diners.
Poor Kevin, with his limited understanding of English, needed no translation to send him scuttling off to find a second OM teddy bear - for the godfather twenty years his junior.
A fait accompli, to borrow a phrase from the French. Fearless and ready to fight for what he wants. Never shall I worry about the youngest and smallest fending for himself again.
|Which one of you out here is Kevin?|
Currently reading: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (better late than never)