A French Noël
My North American friends headed home for the holidays as I made my way to the countryside for a traditional French Christmas dinner with Elodie and her family, who were incredibly hospitable throughout my séjour.
Guests included Elodie’s sister, three married couples, seven children, and an American girl wearing impossibly high heals. (C’est moi!) As soon as the loud, obnoxious cousin entered the door – and we know it’s not a family affair without a loud, obnoxious cousin – he announced grandiosely that smoking indoors mustn’t be prohibited on this holy of days, which got me thinking ... What would Jesus do?
Theological ponderings aside, I spent the evening eating turkey, wondering how many years the cloud of toxic smoke would shave off my life, and trying not to be disturbed by the three-year-old son of the loud, obnoxious cousin expertly holding a (thankfully unlit) cigarette between his index and middle finger and pretending to inhale and exhale.
I also played with the children (read: allowed a ten-year-old artiste to use my face as her personal canvas).
After the kids had opened their gifts at midnight and we had finished our feasting, I was off to bed. On Christmas morning, Elodie swore to never invite the loud, obnoxious cousin over for Christmas again. We cleaned up, ate leftovers, and watched two films: one, a hilarious French Christmas flick form the 1970s; the other, an incredibly depressing Italian movie about a castrated operatic singer. (Fun!) Christmas cheer was restored when my cousin called from her house in Miami to announce she was having a baby! She won’t be letting the little one play with any cigarettes.
I spent another night at Elodie’s before heading back to Angers to pack up for my next world-travel adventure. Details to come in Confessions of a Europhile in Thirteen Volumes: VOLUME IV.