Welcome to the Patrol!    SCROLL DOWN ...

Tales from the South of France with Paul Shore

Quick Overview

The year I spent living and working in the South of France, back in 1999, brought with it many valuable personal realizations and left me filled with many fond memories.  What follows is one of many short stories that will forever make me laugh and reminisce about my time in France.

Tales from the South of France with Paul Shore

Double click on above image to view full picture

Zoom Out
Zoom In

More Views

Full Article:

The year I spent living and working in the South of France, back in 1999, brought with it many valuable personal realizations and left me filled with many fond memories.  What follows is one of many short stories that will forever make me laugh and reminisce about my time in France.

 

 

I learned to play Pétanque (boules) during my time in the ancient village of Saint-Paul de Vence, where movie star Yves Montand had frequently played the game, while modernist painter Marc Chagall, worked in his studio nearby.

 

 

One hot, humid, lavender-scented afternoon, my coach, friend, and teammate, Hubert and I, played very well in our first game of a match against a couple of strong local players; and then, for some inexplicable reason, I lost my touch and went cold in the second game. I made uncharacteristically bad shot after bad shot for several rounds in a row—yes, it happens to even the best of us high-performance athletes.

 

 

A weathered older local who played often (and quietly watched from the edge of the grounds even more often), clearly knew who I was and had a good sense for how I played. I had never heard him utter a word; he just watched with his arms folded and smirked from time to time, without ever passing comment. Yet on this day, he couldn’t resist the urge to blurt out a zinger when I missed a very easy shot; the latest in a long string of misses. His interjection was like a blindside tackle in football. I didn’t see it coming and it stunned me badly and left my ears ringing and my chest hurting for several minutes, due to the gut-wrenching laughter it provoked inside me.

 

 

Without warning, immediately after my bad shot stopped rolling, he snapped out just two words with strong emphasis from his perch several steps behind us: “Canada Dry!” It nearly dropped me to the dirt; whoa, that was clever and funny, and 100% unexpected. It caused Hubert to make a guttural noise from gulping in a mouthful of air that he hadn’t planned on inhaling during the normal course of breathing, which only amplified its impact on me. The laughter prevailed.

 

 

I still don’t think the older gentlemen was cheering for our opponents or meant any ill will towards me; he just couldn’t resist letting his clever thought out of his cranium, and was probably curious to see if I had the fortitude to absorb it and rebound. I laughed loudly, gave him a nod and a wink to show how much I appreciated his wit, then tried to dry my eyes so I could carry on playing. We made the game close, but I never regained my form completely and we lost the match --- though I would never credit his jest for any part of that loss, of course!

 

 

For the humorous, and at times heart-warming and inspiring, account of how I came to live and work in France and eventually become partially accepted into French culture through the game of Pétanque, visit www.pshore.com and read my book “Uncorked - My year in Provence studying Pétanque, discovering Chagall, drinking Pastis, and mangling French”.

 


Santé (to health),
Paul Shore

 

July 1, 2017

Leave a Reply