J’adore la France, Aussi

I can’t admit how much I love England whilst ignoring its more colo(u)rful, flavo(u)rful relative, France. You see, I once had an ardent affection for all things françaises.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My obsession began in my twelfth year. We were required to pick a foreign language class in junior high school (ages 12-15). So, I looked over the options:

Spanish? ¡No! Too common!

German? Nein! Too much angry phlegm!

French? Oui! Just right!

Between pain au chocolat and Mont St. Michel; le Tour Eiffel and croissants; 400+ fromages officiels and Versailles; chocolat et chocolat; I fell for France like a pre-teen falling for a boy band.

Photo by Tamas Pap on Unsplash

The language was s-i-l-k. I loved calling a dog un chien, a car une voiture, and a pizza une pizza. I loved slurring words or artistically dropping endings. I loved expanding my lexicon; I could soon exclaim, “Zut alors!” or suggest we go “chez moi.”

I studied the language all through high school (ages 15-18) and into college. The relationship moved from underage crush to fangirl stalking.

If I could go anywhere in the world, it would be to France. Cream puffs were my favorite dessert. I knew to never cut French bread at the table. My 1’s had a serif and my 7’s a strikethrough. My months were janvier à décembre and my days were lundi à dimanche.

Then… we drifted apart. It was primarily communication problems -I simply couldn’t talk to France the way I could to England. I admitted that, all those times I’d promised to visit, I was lying. And, despite a brief fling with Astérix, I didn’t quite understand the French sense of humor.

Alas, we were never meant to be. C’était, peut-être, l’Angleterre. Peut-être…

What of you? Have you ever loved and left? Which country’s heart did you break?

—–

Aaaand, here are the things I wrote since last noting the things I wrote:
Wednesday, May 19: Asked about your favorite desserts.

Friday, May 20: An egg-cellent Friday Photo!

Sunday, May 22: Quoted Stuart Danker.
Declared Not Pam as the winner of the Terrible Poetry Contest!

Monday, May 23: Mormon Monday! Sundays are for taking the Sacrament.

Tuesday, May 24: Expressed my emphatic emotions of England.

Wednesday, May 25: Re-formed D. Wallace Peach‘s words to make a poem.

Thursday, May 26: It’s another Terrible Poetry Contest! YOU SHOULD ALL ENTER since this is the last one before I take a break. It’s a sonnet about soup. What’s not appetizing about that?

Friday, May 27: Yo-Yo-Yo-Toy-Yodahhh!

Saturday, May 28: Wrote a terrible poem that still needs work, to deal with the pain of Uvalde.

Sunday, May 29: Quoted Holly Whitaker.

Monday, May 30: I’m a Mormon, so I keep the Sabbath Day holy.

Tuesday, May 31ish: The Open Book Blogger Award!!

©2022 Chel Owens

There is Hope in the Flame of Notre Dame

Is history really that important?

In answering this query for an online assignment back in college, I decided to play Devil’s Advocate. The teacher clearly wanted everyone to affirm that history was vital; it was a history course, after all. And, like little ducks in a line, all the students did.

If there is one thing I cannot consistently stand, it is following after all the little ducks.

No, I argued, history is not important. We don’t actually need it.

  1. No one learns from the past. The proof is in the repeated mistakes.
  2. Conditioned to luxury and entitlement, we behave as Huxley predicted and always seek for what is new.
  3. History is written by the victors or their fans, and is redacted and altered by current social climates. 1984 (George Orwell) proves that.

Though I did not make the following points, I could reasonably add two more for our modern times:

  1. We have a glut of information and lack time for the general public to ingest it. So, instead, most people only follow useless, instantaneous fluff.
  2. Technology has the capacity to 3-D print what we need, thus eliminating paltry ideas like stonemason or architect skills.

The online repartée with my professor ended unfavorably, by the way. He acknowledged all comments in a general, summarizing paragraph at the end of the week. He specifically mentioned “one student” who had argued this and that against his statement, said I’d referenced 1984 erroneously because it undermined my main point (it didn’t), and suggested I ought not to argue too far out lest I “find the branch cut off behind (me).”

I’m still sore that I had no way to post a counterargument.

That aside, I do not believe that history is not important nor that we ought not to learn it. Instead, I lament that most people do not respect history. Most do not seem to know its significance or beauty or work …until it is removed. Stolen. Ripped away. Burned.

This morning I had intended to write a different post. I thought to list my hectic schedule, thereby garnering a few commiserating comments and explaining my abysmal online presence. Instead, in catching up (somewhat) on blogs I follow, I read a very-well written piece about the recent Notre Dame catastrophe. The Feathered Rose, in “To human ingenuity,” described “both the stillness and the motion in (her) thinking” as she contemplated her feelings about history.

A friend of hers suggested that Our Lady will be rebuilt and will continue on as she has. Other buildings of historical significance have undergone changes and rebuilds, right?

“My friend, speaking through the words of Douglas Adams, is correct that, once rebuilt, the Cathedral will continue to serve its purpose. Architects, historians, engineers, builders – these people will no doubt admirably restore the ideaintentiondesign, and essence of the building. Tourists will continue to flock there. The faithful will continue to pray…”

So, really, what’s the big deal? Why was the horror of destruction not sated by the consolation of repair? Fortunately, she finds and gives us an answer:

“Human ingenuity isn’t only about intangible progress. It’s also about the evidence of our past.”

That is one sentence stolen -ripped, burned- from paragraphs she wrote of beautiful reminisces of history. Reminders of what the past means and why we need it. Pasting any more of her post would require at least half a page, but I highly encourage everyone to read it.

I love the voice she gave to my own unrest. I love the poetry of her memories.

If given a chance to state my enduring and authentic hope for history today, I would counter-argue my previously-stated points:

  1. We all learn from the past, though we may take a few revisits to retain what it taught.
  2. The flashy and new appeal to the young and inexperienced. Once they run out of money or solid chairs to sit upon, they will change to old and reliable.
  3. History may be written less-accurately, but all information must be taken with a pinch of salt. Assume bias, watch for author’s flavor and preference, and remember your own colored glasses.
  4. The general population will always grab at fluff; the important and durable information will endure.
  5. A handmade work is impressive and appreciated, and even a computer needs to be ‘taught’ the skills.

Why do we walk the halls of the past? Sometimes it is merely to feel the echoing footsteps of the people who came before. Wouldn’t you wish for the same, of those who will come after?

maxime-naillon-1494952-unsplash

How has the destruction of Notre Dame touched you? Is the past important enough to retain what we may for the future?

—————-

Here is what I wrote last week. I intend to take the remainder of the week in stride, as I really am quite busy:
Wednesday, April 10: Spent a happy reminiscence discussing children’s picture books with “Picture Books Are Always in Season.

Thursday, April 11: “The Cure for Depression: Get Some Sleep!,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, April 12: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Everyone who entered!

Saturday, April 13: Announced the 22nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is an acrostic of the person you detest. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, April 14: “In The Beginning, There Was Distraction,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Slipped in a tongue-in-cheek poem titled, “(Real) Life Advice.

Monday, April 15: A book quote from Something Wicked This Way Comes. I am slowly, very slowly getting through this one.

Tuesday, April 16: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety.”

Also, posted, “Mental Illness Really Sucks” over at JES’ site.

Wednesday, April 17: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Religion in the Home” and a fantastic poem titled, “A House(work) at War.”

I’ve a part-time job writing stuff for Kids Are the Worst‘s blog now; and publish scintillating works like “10 Actually Easy Easter Crafts for Kids.” I intend to keep things real and funny over there.
Speaking of writing jobs, I see that one of my vacuum reviews is online and it’s not even the re-write DumbFace demanded. Funny world.

 

Photo Credit:
Maxime Naillon