Laughter. I brace myself for the peels and squeals of laughter shared between my husband and his friend, Jacqueline as her husband, René and I sit back and cast each other knowing glances…as in, “they will laugh, you and I will go for a walk.” My husband met them years ago, in another place and another lifetime with other people, and they became quick, thick friends who’ve stayed in contact, shared stories and shared visits across the miles, watching from afar the raising of children, and now, at least for Jacqueline & René, the raising of grandchildren…
Our last visit to the country outside of Paris took us West, to Oisseau & Mayenne in 2009, with those three children in tow referenced in multiple posts this trip, and to a farmhouse of family friends who were entrenched in remodeling the 200-year-old farmhouse that had stored hay in the upstairs where there now are bedrooms. This visit takes us to a home with a deeper family history–Jacqueline’s mother & father bought this house that Jacqueline and René have now finished. And it also takes us to a somehow extra-sensory connection between my husband and Jacqueline, who share a relationship like siblings complete with secret stories and jokes that no one else knows and deep love of language…not only does Jacqueline speak English, she also speaks German, so between the three languages, they have quite a laugh shifting between the three…I call it Frenglishman.
René is “the chief” when it comes to food preparing a herb-rubbed pork roast over a wood-chip grill last night and tonight tomatoes stuffed with three meats, onions, garlic and herbs; the steady, strong, and at times silent Frenchman, and my side-glance companion during the laughter on the other side of the table.
But here’s something interesting. Today, during our excursions, Jacqueline expressed how happy she is to have us here. “It’s so easy,” she said. And I agree. But it’s tough, especially in a later marriage, to find people with whom you feel it’s easy. These are people you can laugh with, travel with, and live with, breathing together alongside one another in the sun or the rain. We have great friends at home, but it’s always a trick. And when one finds that it’s easy, it’s easy to enjoy.