Early each December, France is plastered with posters and banners promoting the Téléthon — an event that’s so well known that the posters actually convey very little detailed information about it. I think it’s just one of those things you’re supposed to know about.
Here’s the banner hanging over Daglan’s main street, near our Salle des fêtes, or community hall:
As it turns out, the money-raising event is sponsored by l’Association française contre les myopathies, an organization aimed at fighting neuromuscular diseases, like muscular dystrophy. It’s supported by French television (obviously) and radio stations, and it seems a popular cause to support, since the funds raised are seen to be helping children with these illnesses. In the poster shown below, featuring a brave-looking lad, the caption near him says: “Raphaël is feeling more and more strong, despite his illness.”
In our village, several volunteer groups join forces to promote the Téléthon and raise additional funds. Tomorrow night, for instance, there’s a dinner in the Salle des fêtes that villagers will pay to attend. Local chef Jacky Vasseur is cooking the dinner, and today was our day to pitch in and help. So this afternoon, my wife Jan and I grabbed our vegetable peelers and joined other volunteers at the Salle des fêtes to attack a small mountain of potatoes, turnips, carrots, onions and cabbages, and get them ready to be cooked on Saturday. Here’s the action:
With all the knives and peelers flailing away, we managed to get through the vegetables in well less than two hours, and to the best of my knowledge there were only two injuries. One of the women cut her finger with her knife, and one of the guys whacked off a chunk of fingernail with his peeler. Yes, that was me — but it barely hurts at all.