Friday, August 29, 2008
This morning was the farmer’s market in the Madeleine at Albi, which takes place just where the New Bridge intersects with the river Tarn. It’s one of the nicer spots in Old Albi. Here’s the view from between the charcuterie stand and the garlic merchant:
I was on line to buy goat cheese behind an old man, maybe 90 years old. Given the quantity of cheeses he was loading into his basket, I’m sure that if asked, he would attribute his spry longevity to eating lots of goat products.
When he was loaded up, he turned to me and said, “you know, this is one courageous woman!”, pointing to the woman behind the cheese-laden table, who I know lives out in the country not far from here, milks her goats, makes her cheeses, and comes to sell them at the Madeleine every Saturday morning.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Well, she came all the way from Holland to live here. It’s so far away from her home!”
I agreed wholeheartedly, then couldn’t resist mentioning that he would probably find me courageous, too, since I came from New York City to live in Albi, and that is even further away.
He thought about that awhile, smiled, agreed that I must be very courageous, too. Then said, “You know, I’ve always been curious about something about America, so if you don’t mind questions from a nosy old man… My brother spent some time in Atlanta and told me disturbing stories when he came back.”
Uh-oh, I’m thinking, here it goes, I’ll have to say something about the Moron Elite and the Coup d’Etat in America. That yes, I believe in Darwin. That I had left 15 years ago and don’t understand either. Then reassure him that being American was not contagious and talking to one would probably not lead to renal failure.
“My brother was always surprised that the Negroes had to sit in the back of the buses, in their own section, not mingling with the white people.”
For a split second, I had the thought that W had turned back the clock of human civilization yet again, but then Condi & Co came to mind, and, well, na-a-a-h, not possible.
“But that was 50 years ago,” I said.
“Yes,” he replied. “My brother was in Atlanta in 1952.”
So with some relief, I was able to tell him that certain things in America had changed for the better. Long time I haven’t been able to say that.