Our 48 hours in Quebec after 'The Wedding'

We did not stay up very late after the wedding dinner.

We had socialized a lot in between courses. It was so amazing to see how people who probably had never met before mingled very easily.

In France, a wedding can be the stuffiest thing ever. Not in Montreal. At least, not at Marc-Antoine and Marie-Claude’s wedding reception which was very warm and cheerful.

We were exhausted and jet-lagged. We left the reception as soon as the dance started. 

Wrong. We watched while the newlyweds danced a rumba. A very beautiful ballroom dance. (I may be wrong about the rumba. I definitely had trouble staying awake.) Well, anyway. It was graceful and beautiful.

The following morning (quite late), there was a brunch where we kept on meeting people and renewing our acquaintance with whoever we had met the night before.

I could not get over the jet-lag and I made quite a few hilarious mistakes.

People were kind enough to tell me I was adressing the wrong person with the name I thought I remembered so well from the night before. Well, it was fun anyway.

We were supposed to go spend the rest of the day and the night at Marc-Antoine’s parents’place. Our dear friends, J. and L.

After they left France to go back to Quebec, we had always managed to stay in touch. Popeye would go see them whenever he’d be working in Montreal. We’d meet in Paris whenever J. and L. were there because of J.’s job.

Marc-Antoine was a good link between the families since he was travelling back and forth between Montreal and Paris. So we did keep in touch. A lot but maybe not enough.

When Marc-Antoine told us on the phone that we’d all be staying at his parents’ after the wedding, I was quite shocked. Had I been in my dear friend

L.’s shoes, no way I could have done something like this. Too exhausting.

I was quite reluctant to impose. But Marc-Antoine was adamant. Weren’t we all ready to help his parents, just the way it had been a long time ago?

A long time ago is a long time ago, isn’t it?

Besides, L. is a such a perfect housewife that I had a hard time remembering helping her whenever we were at their place.

And then, the very minute we drove into their wonderful garden, everything became allright.

L. and J. were delighted to show us their new home, right by the Saint Lawrence River.

We immediately fell under the spell of their place.

An extremely charming and elegant house in a beautiful and peaceful garden. A wonderful gazebo by the river. (My dream... a gazebo at Les Tertres.) Their own pontoon... just like in a Hollywood movie... where you can sit, your legs dangling in the water, and read and talk and eventually launch a boat. (They do have a boat!)

And the magnificent Saint Lawrence River, 40 miles wide. (At least.)

J. is not reading over my shoulder right now otherwise he’d start laughing and say: «Aren’t you forgetting something?»

Sorry, my dear J. I almost did.

A hunting trophy: a very handsome roebuck head. In Brittany, I would have been real mad. But there, it was so totally in harmony with the wild immensity around their home...

Hunting a roebuck in Canada is totally different from hunting pheasants just out of the farm in Brittany. Isn’t it?

The newlyweds arrived, looking quite tired but still very happy...

The boys including Popeye, of course, started playing ball. They went swimming. They ran around like puppies... so much like the way they were a long time ago.

The bride and the older and wiser people (including me) sat talking while enjoying the breeze in the gazebo.

Before I keep on rambling as usual, I’ll have to show you a picture of the boys and even two! Our poor JC! We should have left him to the care of J. and L. more often. (Well, JC is 6 ft tall... I think!)

Try to find JC!

You’ll probably think that right out from a very exhausting event, we ate very quickly and went to bed.

Wrong. We had a lot of fun. We talked and laughed and talked and laughed and laughed and talked again but not until the wee hours of the morning... because we all were tired after all.

The three of us (remember, one father, one mother and one son) were feeling so happy, so comfy... A storm was raging outside... and the home was filled with happiness.

Ten years ago (maybe less), Popeye brought a bottle of wine from France and gave it to our friends to thank them for a heavenly meal at their old house. They did not drink it that night.

Before we started eating, J. asked Popeye to follow him into his wine cellar. The bottle was still there... Our name was written on it. They had decided to keep it until the three of us would come to their place. This is what I call having faith in an everlasting friendship.

What a wonderful night. Friendship and bonding even more strongly than ever before.

We finally went to bed and I’m sure we all fell asleep quite quickly.

We got up early because Popeye needed to work.

I wanted to get my eyes, my mind, my heart filled with the scenery. The Saint-Laurent is  a very powerful magnet for someone like me who loves wild expanses of water and peacefulness.

And guess what? Well, look at who was waiting for me to get up?

Yes, I know, there are grey herons in Paris. I’ve seen one, once and only once, by the Grand Palais.

But try to imagine. Opening my very tired eyes and seeing a beautiful grey heron right on the pontoon in front of me.

It stayed there all morning long. Until we started eating brunch. 

By then the wonderful meal was enough to claim all my attention. And once more we were laughing and talking and talking and laughing. As if we had never lived apart for so many years.

I guess this is what true friendship is all about. Bonding right away again without a single moment of embarrassed silence.

We tried to restore the house to its peaceful state before our invasion. A little bit hard but L. kept saying that it did not matter at all...

By then we were in a hurry to get back to Montreal (a 2 hours drive from their place) since Marc-Antoine and Marie-Claude had postponed their honeymoon (to the Galapagos) not only to spend some time with us at his parents’ home but also to show us their own home in the city.

So we kissed J. and L. goodbye. It was almost tearful... Except that they will come back to Les Tertres pretty soon we hope and we’ll be back to Montreal.

I have fallen in love with the Saint-Laurent and the wilderness there. Maybe this is not the real reason after all!

We spent a few hours with Marc-Antoine, Marie-Claude and their cats in their beautiful condo they have renovated not too long ago. A lot of work  but a very pleasant place to live in.

They even have a vegetable garden and a compost. Their tomatoes were delicious. So was the corn on the cob they cooked for us. (They had bought the corn from a stall on our way back.) Fingers licking good!

Why do moments like those have to end? So that we’ll feel like coming back? Probably.

We will come back.

As soon as Popeye gets a few days off from work even though he still works when he’s away from work. So why doesn’t he work more away from work? Does it make sense?

Those three days in the Montreal area have truly made a difference in my life. A huge difference even if I still have the hardest time to recover from jet-lag. A huge difference even if as soon as we hit the tarmac in Roissy, our phones started ringing. Some good news and some bad ones. Usual business.

A huge difference. Within those three very short days in Montreal, there came the realization that friendship truly endures through time, separation, hardships. Well I already knew this.

But in Montreal, it became so true and real.

This experience gave me strength again and a renewed sense of well-being.

It was not a dream and I do not want to let it become a vague memory.


I know I won’t.

*Good Luck, and Good Night*

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