A sweet memory, and a bittersweet day

About 10 years ago (September 4, 2010), not much more than a month after Jan and I moved to Daglan permanently, we witnessed (at a distance) a wedding that took place in the village church near our house. My post that day was called “Four kisses and a wedding,” and I used it partly to explain the French tradition of the bisou, the “air kiss” or “cheek kiss,” used to greet family and close friends.

Well, surprise surprise! Today I received a sweet comment from a young woman named Emmanuelle. In part, she wrote: “How funny, I just came across your lovely blog. I’m the bride and you’ll be pleased to know we’re still happily married 10 years and 3 boys later!”

Of course Jan and I are more than pleased, and were delighted to hear from her. As it happens, since that wedding a decade ago, Jan and I became integrated into Daglan life, and became friends not only with Emmanuelle’s mother but also her grandmother and grandfather. Jan became particularly close to them, and Mme. Pasquet referred to my wife as la marcheuse canadienne, because Jan (a Canadian citizen) so often walked through the village and surrounding hills for exercise.

A couple of years ago, I described the village’s Bastille Day ceremony and included this information about Emmanuelle’s grandfather, Jacques:

The ceremony included the usual features — the speech by our Mayor, the group singing of la Marseillaise — but the highlight was the presentation of the Legion of Honour to a notable villager, Jacques Pasquet.

Before making the award,  retired General Raymond Wey. another notable villager and a municipal Conseiller, outlined M. Pasquet’s dedicated service, both in and out of the armed forces. The Legion of Honour is the highest French order of merit, and was begun in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte.

— Radio Free Daglan, July 19, 2018

Sadly, since then, both Mme. and M. Pasquet have passed away. But Jan and I remember them fondly. And now we have a special sweet memory of their granddaughter, the bride, shown here on her wedding day:

A bride prepares to be greeted
The bride awaits a bisou.

A bittersweet day: Jan and I have been particularly faithful at attending the November 11 ceremony to mark Armistice Day, and so it was sad to know that the public ceremony would be significantly scaled back this year, because of the Covid pandemic. We did mark the occasion with two minutes of silence at 11 a.m., in our home.

Soon after that, however, I drove out of our quartier on my daily run to les poubelles, the public garbage and recycling bins, and saw that there was indeed a small ceremony taking place at the village’s war memorial. Here’s a look:

Today’s small ceremony, from a distance.

And here’s a closer look, which shows that the ceremony included only a few village officials, who had raised the French flag and set out flowers:

Flags, flowers, and a small group of officials.

Although he is hidden in the photo, our Mayor, Pascal Dussol, was on hand, and as I passed by, I saw him reading from the prescribed text on le jour armistice. Fittingly, the weather was quite grey in the morning — cool and misty. But as the day has progressed, it’s become sunny and bright — a welcome relief on any day during our national lockdown.

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1 Response to A sweet memory, and a bittersweet day

  1. Kathy Schreiber says:

    What a lovely story. Just listening to our Canadian ceremony being broadcast from Ottawa.

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