Tag Archives: history

Road Trip 2019

Trains, the metro, and automobile

The trip began at the wrong train station. You’d think that would be hard to do.

The main train station in Montpellier is, and always has been, the gare St. Roch. We were vaguely aware that a new train station was under construction nearby, and indeed, in July, 2018, that new train station did open just south of the city. But we had never given it a thought, until suddenly, we had to. On a Sunday morning in April, as Catherine and I walked into our usual train station, up on the screen that listed all departing trains, our train was not listed. I was pretty sure about the departure date, and with they twenty-four house clock there’s no confusing the time. I looked at our tickets and sure enough, instead of listing ‘Mont St. Roch’, the departure station was listed as ‘Mont Sud’— that new station. Damn. Continue Reading

Sans frontières

“The more primitive a man is, the better he believes himself to be…Doubt and tolerance are the characteristics of civilised man.” — Marill to Kern, in Prague East Berlin In January, 1984, one of the few places you could cross into East Berlin was at the Friedrichstrasse station, a transfer point for the U– and… Continue Reading

April was not the cruelest month

April was not the cruelest month

We were due. I had not been back since 2014. Catherine and Annie had not been back to the United States since we moved to France in 2011, and therefore had not seen any of my family. Catherine had the first two weeks of April off for Spring break, and because this summer we had… Continue Reading

Hommage: Fathers and Soldiers

Hommage: Fathers and Soldiers

On the last Sunday in May, clear and blue, I was driving along at 130/kph by 8:00am.  What to wear, not lately  a consideration, was a problem that morning: the most appropriate outfit I could come up with was khaki pants, grey shirt, and an Ike style waist cut tan coat. I do have some dress coats and ties, but… Continue Reading

Why the French don’t shoot each other

Why the French don’t shoot each other

May I be permitted to invoke Tom Wolfe and engage in some light, contemporary, anecdotal comparative cultural anthropology?Americans shoot each other rather frequently, while the French don’t. Pourquoi? Below are some observations on how some res Francaise – customs, culture, logistics, and history –  make it less likely there’ll be a shooting in France. It’s not a… Continue Reading

Guns ‘n cheerleaders

Guns ‘n cheerleaders

Who did I vote for? Why did the United States do this or that? Is is true that all Americans own/believe/drive/ –  a gun/in Jesus/a Hummer? Have I ever met <actor name here>? And so on and so forth.

The setting was a one hectare nursery and home outside La Garde, on a glass enclosed terrace. A post Sunday morning swim on a beautiful sunny day was followed by an invitation to coffee, followed by some mid-day beers, and then turned into a meal, with baguette and mergez sandwiches, washed down with some local rose. Continue Reading