Letters to Holly

Wednesday, May 10

Nous jouons au basket-ball

After much exchanging of notes and email, we had our plans for the night. A local gated community would host a picnic for the French group and, while Your Sister and I wouldn’t drive anyone else there, we would take two gals to their host families. I got home early from work and had a senseless argument with your tired and stressed sister as she couldn’t decide if she could go or not. She was pooped. But she went. Then we argued about what to wear. I supposed this would be a fancy shindig, but “picnic” said casual to her. I compromised and wore black jeans.

Before we left, we taped the local news to later watch any report about her school. One of our buddies sent two kids home after smelling alcohol on their breath. They had apparently snuck home, drank wine and come back to school. A brat decided that wasn’t enough punishment for them and called the local ABC affiliate to say the teacher had let them get away with it. They sent a camera truck to the school to get the scoop and tried to interview students after school. The teacher was scared. But the only mention we found was a 20-second blurb on the 6 p.m. broadcast, and not only did it feature no video or quotes from anyone, but what they ran apparently wasn’t what happened. The teacher wasn’t named, the kids weren’t named, and the report stated the kids were suspended. End of story. This is the same affiliate that tried to make hay from an online picture of a local gal flashing a camera in front of a firetruck. That didn’t pan out either.

Anyway, we got to the picnic and discovered that while the lake was lovely to see, we were freezing. The food was precooked and warmed but wine and hamburgers aren’t the greatest combo, you know. We sat with Valerie and Florence and Freddy and chowed down, huddling to stay warm. We offered to sneak them off to a coffeehouse (the local coffee isn’t up to their standards, but they found decent cigarettes). Then we noticed some of the teenaged gals were playing basketball and Freddy started joking about playing, even dropping the name “Tony Parker.” He’s the Frenchman playing for the San Antonio Spurs (and dating one of the “Desperate Housewives” actresses). We had enough to eat and were cold and bored. Thus, we played. Three guys against what became six gals. While we were all terrible, the guys knew the sport enough to score more points. And we were taller. To compensate, the girls started tackling us, especially Your Sister, the hellion. My shoes were not made for basketball, and I played in my socks while some played barefoot. We were out there for two hours, and then the host families started yelling for everyone to stop and go back home. We dropped off Florence and took Valerie back home to nurse jammed fingers. Freddy, I learned is a goalkeeper for his soccer team, which explains why he was good at leaping and catching the ball.

This morning, with sore feet and tender calves, I watched their last Brevard Rotary Club presentation. They met at a posh country club, and I was the only non-rotarian. I was pounced upon quickly. Who are you? Why are you here? Want to be a member? If you’re not a member, how did you host someone? I had never seen one of the meetings before. It was a stately breakfast, and Valerie has me sit with her and her Hendersonville host, a guy named John. He was her host on their first American stop, five weeks before. The meeting started with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer and soon moved to introductions of new people, including me. [stand] “Hi, I hosted Valerie. Um … hi.” [sit, head down, keep eating] The group donated what’s called Happy Dollars for a later drawing for half the pot. The presentation was quick as it was a short PowerPoint-aided autobiography of each French visitor. That’s when I found out Valerie did theatre too. John was a natural talker and made comments the whole time. That done, the meeting was over. That’s what they were doing officially on their trip. A dozen times in 5 weeks. We took pictures and hugged goodbye and I drove back to work. I’m gonna miss that gal. She was fun. None of the crude French stereotypes was on display. They were charming and funny, they collectively smelled good, and they at least sampled local wines. No snobbishness.

Picture of the Day
The French group. From left, a local Rotary person, Giles, Florence, Gigi the group leader, Freddy, and Valerie. I’m about two inches shorter than him.

In the news
The new PlayStation 3 has been announced to cost about $500 for the basic unit. Screw that.

+ + +

According to recent polls, Bush’s approval rating is around 31 percent.

+ + +

You know that guy who tried to hold his breath for nine minutes? The guy who wanted to set a new world’s record in a giant tub in the middle of New York? The publicity hound? Yeah, him. He’s a fucking loser. At least when Houdini was doing escape stunts, he was trying to rally the immigrant poor to believe they could do anything they set their mind to. David Blaine? He wasn’t to be the next David Copperfield. As if one wasn’t enough.

No comments: