"Bidets to Bullfights"
c - Arthur J. Langdon -1970
013h -- Nice to Marsailles to Toulouse to Labastile - "Cousin Fred" -- 013h
A train ride from Nice to Marsailles is a very happy experience. "The Mistrial" is a new train capable of speeds up to ninety miles an hour. It is immaculately clean, air conditioned, has first class, compartmented accomodations - for a slight extra charge - and travels with little vibration or noise. Included among the cars is a beauty parlor, gift shop, a bar, and a dining car - where well prepared food is served at modest prices. It was our first train ride in many years and the two hour trip was enjoyed.
From Marsailles, we flew to Toulouse where we were to pick up a car and drive about a hundred miles to Labastile to visit my wife's cousin - with whom she had maintained correspondence, but had never met. It was a happy and unexpected surprise to find that he had become concerned over the possibility of our becoming lost on the way, and was at the airport to meet us. From pictures exchanged, he recognised us and the drive to Labastille on winding roads through the French countryside showed good cause for concern about anyone not familiar with the route getting lost.
Cousin Fred is a pastor of a small local church and also self appointed family historian. It took a full day to be brought up to date - or perhaps back to the beginning - which was about 1527, with detailed descriptions of the forbearer who were important professors at the universities, or doctors, or pharmacists, or successful polititions, etc. We also had a run down on the life of the ancestor whose placque we saw on the wall of the Alexander Church in Zweibruken, Germany. Some one else in the family must keep the records on those of the clan who spent time in jail or otherwise didn't make the list we saw.
Cousin Fred, as pastor of a small protestant church in a predominately Roman Catholic community and with a growing number of people swinging to communist theory, is having a hard time maintaining his parishoners - much less increasing their number. His recompence from the effort of devotion flutters at or around the subsistance level. Although he and his wife are in their seventies, their zest for life, continued good humor, and abiding faith coupled with an exquisite sense of hospitality made our shout visit with them one to be long remembered.
Index - Uncle Art & Aunt Clara's trip to Europe - 1970, "Bidets to Bullfights"
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