Une citrouille, in French, is a pumpkin (and a pumpkin is also a potiron). But in today's story, une citrouille is a mode of transportation...and we're not talking about a Citroën!
TODAY'S WORD: Une Citrouille
: head (synonym, in French, for citrouille)
la citrouille d'Halloween = jack-o'-lantern
la tarte à la citrouille = pumpkin pie
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Une Citrouille. Et si Kristi et moi, on vous rendait visite dans un RV ou dans une citrouille?
Pumpkin. And what if Kristi and I visited you in an RV or in a pumpkin?
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A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
A realtor and some interested buyers showed up Saturday, to visit our home and vineyard. This latest development threatens to throw a clog, or sabot, into Plan B
--sabotaging my chance to rent this farmhouse, and so keep it for ourselves!
Standing beside our withering bougainvillea which once boasted bright fuchsia leaves, I pasted a welcoming smile on my face as I studied the buyers. She was a brunette, a natural beauty à la Jacqueline Bisset. He was a tall, boyishly handsome CEO. Both around our age (not yet 50). The Parisians spent an hour visiting our home and vineyard at which point the man looked at me and said,
"Vous avez fait de très très bon travail ici! You have done some very good work here!"
I wished Jean-Marc were around to hear that compliment! It might have revived his dream of creating this vineyard in Bandol. Hélas, my husband was away working part-time at a wine shop in Marseilles. (Most people don't earn a living owning vineyard. It helps to have a side job. Jean-Marc has two of them!)
The couple turned to leave. I watched them walk happily down the driveway, past the row of blueberries I planted last spring, past the lilacs and the felled mimosa (which reappeared last year in a most hopeful display of new growth). The buyers disappeared behind the burgeoning mimosa and I could not see what kind of car they got into. But it might as well have been a golden carriage! For I was keenly aware of just how quickly my fairy tale French dream could be given to another to enjoy endlessly!
I needed to sit down. The edge of the garden beds offered a familiar perch. As I rested beside the strawberries, carrots, and ciboulette, I inhaled the familiar earthy perfume and ran my hand over the green leafy bed. "This is an experimental garden," I had offered, earlier, as the couple looked around the unruly jungle. All those "experiments" were my joie de vivre, my new-found raison d'être. Like Willy Wonka in his Chocolate Factory, I thrived among my garden's quirks, wonders and grand possibilities! With its backdrop of a stone farmhouse and, beyond, the sea, this environment has been, for four years now, a real life fantasy.
I was staring at one of the pumpkins which had wrapped its vine around an antique chair of my belle-mère's... when a Willy Wonkian possibility came to me: PLAN C !
("C" for Citrouille!)
Plan C honors Jean-Marc's need to see new horizons--along with my need to be anchored to the sweet-scented earth.
Plan "C" rhymes with RV (and, come to think of it, with "citrouille")!
Staring into my garden pumpkin, it became at once a globe and a vehicle (it worked for Cinderella, could it work for JM, Smokey and me?). I could see us traveling across America, as you readers have suggested. Because I will miss my organic garden and the fruits of the harvest, why not make GARDEN HOPPING the theme of our voyage?
My dream would then be to visit organic gardens across the USA! Jean-Marc and I could stop by your garden or potager and sink our hands into the good earth. Would you let us take a few supplies for the road? An apple? Some parsley? A rutabaga (something I've never grown!) And therein lies the magic - to continue to grow and learn. To expand this experimental garden from one end of the States to the other!
Can you just picture our RV with a row of plants (aloe vera, rosemary, and why not a lemon and an avocado seedling?) tied behind the windshield and a smiling driver and copilots just beyond? Can you see Smokey, buckled into the back seat?)
So what do you say, Dear Reader? Can we come dig in your garden? (We want to see you even if you don't have a garden, in which case we'll share some canned green-beans from the previous garden visit!)
Now to deck out this pumpkin-on-wheels, below, with some plants, some cots, a shower, a W.-C., and my dear family! In the comments (link below) let me know your thoughts. Mille mercis! In case I haven't told you lately, That's a thousand thanks in French!
hélas = unfortunately
la ciboulette = chives
joie de vivre = joy of life
raison d'être = reason for being
la belle-mère = mother-in-law (also step-mother)
le potager = kitchen garden, vegetable garden
Smokey, on the road. "Oh the things we will see!"
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi