My parents lived in Claremont-Ferrand, France before I was born. Apparently it was a love nest and an idyll and they ate horsemeat and rabbit and and generally whooped it up with bloomy-rind cheeses. I will not mention the bathing suits. They were too tiny to mention anyway.
A French country village life has always been there in the background of my family life looming in its unbearable adorableness. I mean, just look at that unattainable and classic store-front script (above) and the color combination. C'est chouette.
So I make crepes. My dad calls. I'm on the phone with my dad. I'm keeping an eye on the batter so that the crepes I make are golden. He's telling me about going to Paris in the fall to visit old friends Henri and Claude from that time, before he begins an around-the-world sea voyage on a ship as professor of English and I think, How well do I know this man?
He's doing an around the world, again, and I've made homemade strawberry jam in a copper pot. Is it possible we're not related?
After I conclude that my dad in his 70s is an International Man of Mystery, my daughter, 7, complains that her "pancake" is "too thin," and that the strawberry jam is "not sweet enough" and I tell her tant pis, too bad, that's the way they do things in France and it makes you stronger.