Chapter #11 Outline
"D-DAY & THE LIBERATION OF MOM"
Nineteen-ninety-four was the 50-year commemoration of the D-Day landing at Normandy, and Pierre, my mother, Sport, and I, took a three-day jaunt to Omaha Beach. I explain that the day before our road trip, on the 4th of July, and with Old Glory waving on my terrace, I introduce Pierre to the charcoal grill, and eating outside off of paper plates. Never exposed to this primitive, American ritual, I soon realize he has no idea how to tame a wild hot dog, as relish, mustard, and tomatoes ooze from the bun, covering his lap, and saturating his fly! I write about the following day, stopping at Monet’s garden at Giverny on our way to the English Channel, describing the weeping willow trees surrounding the pond, chirping crickets, and buzzing katydids, making this an exceptional setting. When a guard finally notices Sport sleeping in his carrier bag, at this point, ready to leave anyway, an abrupt escort to the exit is not spoiling our day. I go on to tell of our arrival in the picturesque village of Honfleur, describing our hotel, and dining at the wharf side restaurant; with a light breeze creating the soft, relaxing sound, of the gentle waves splashing against the tiny boats.
When arriving at Omaha Beach the following day, we see the thousands of solemn, white crosses and religious symbols at the American Cemetery, placed in neat rows facing west to America. I tell of the gravel turn-off, directly above the Beach, and allowing Sport to walk with us to the edge on the sandy path, boarded by scattered, purple wildflowers. I describe the unseasonably cold, windy day, and Sport showing his contempt by lifting his leg against one of many Nazi bunkers. I describe my lovely mother staring out over the dark, blue water below, as glistening whitecaps ride high atop the violent waves rushing over the sand. With her neatly coiffed, blond hair brushing lightly against her cheek, and hands pushing deeply into the pockets of her long coat, she looks so much like the heroin in a Jane Austin novel. I know she is remembering when my father was among the troops who made that treacherous, D-Day landing. I tell how he survived so many freezing winters, and hot summers, agitated Nazi’s in France, Germany, and Belgium, fought the Battle of the Bulge, and was in the first Battalion to retake Paris -- without so much as an ingrown toenail! However, on VE-Day with his long awaited orders to return home, celebrating in his usual way by guzzling French wine, he stumbled and flew down a flight of stairs – breaking his leg! Needless to say, he was not awarded a Purple Heart for his reckless injury.
At the end of the chapter, I describe August 24th of that same year, celebrating the fifty-year Liberation of Paris, and dancing in the massive crowd at La Place de la Concorde on the Rue Rivoli. This is the street where the French Resistance with small weapons fought against the enemy. Also, this is where Parisian (men, women, and children) relentlessly tore bricks from the streets, throwing them at the invading Nazis until the GI’s came to the rescue. I tell of Sport in his bag, dangling from my aching shoulder while we party and boogie the night away. Long after Pierre and I throw in the towel, my mother is still going strong in this pseudo, dance marathon; jitterbugging with other bouncy die-hards. Finally, at 2 AM, we succeed in dragging “Miss Energy” down the street to one of our favorite late night brassieres for steak et frites. When leaving the restaurant, and hearing the band still playing, my mother is all-set to rejoin the festivities. While walking quickly to the taxi stand, Pierre, my mother and I are laughing while wedging Mom between us, making it impossible for her to getaway, and “bebop” until dawn! Somewhere in that city, my mother must have found the “Fountain of youth,” because, she never pooped out, but as for Pierre, Sport, and I -- that’s a different story.