Thank you to Mrs. Thalacker, Mrs. Van Wersch, Dr. Conwell, and my grandmother for teaching me French. It has come in handy on the French side of St. Martin where everyone kisses once on each cheek and speaks French and only some speak English. Je parle francais plus que je remember! I speak with Mrs. Van Wersch’s singsongy accent. Lundi! Mardi! Mercredi! Vendredi! …. All the conversations in my head are in French too. I am even speaking French on the Dutch side for no good reason at all other than it is fun.
Nous adore le pain and le fromage (je pense que…). We love all the bread and cheese. We go to this wonderful patisserie each day that bakes baguettes fresh into the evening.
The cheese is cheap and smelly and gooey and delightful. When we were leaving St. John, USVI, we did some grocery shopping in a sort of island Whole Foods and Graham picked out some $13 brie without us noticing the price (I am accustomed to buying it at Trader Joe’s for $3.50.) It was delicious and gooey and worth every penny. When we arrived in St. Maarten (Dutch side) I bought 2 ½ times as much brie for the same price to prove a point. As Matt and I enjoyed sundown in the cockpit later that night he confessed that while he loves a bargain as much as the next person, Graham’s brie was of a much higher quality. Then he told me the sweetest story that I keep thinking of as we go around enjoying notre pain et le fromage (our bread and cheese!).
When Matt was first out of college from the University of Iowa, he moved to Washington, DC temporarily and lived with his parents. He commuted with his father downtown and on the way home they would stop at a cheese shop in Old Town, Alexandria. Matt’s dad taught him the difference in quality between melty old cheese and hard old cheese. Matt remembers the shopkeeper commenting on when a cheese was too firm, how it wasn’t quite ripe. Graham and I love hearing stories about Grandpa. Here’s to family cheese traditions new and old!