TODAY'S WORD: Raffoler de
: to adore, love
: not be able to get enough of something
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Two weeks ago we nearly lost our little shepherd, la petite Ricci, adopted recently at the age of 3. Jean-Marc and I had been enjoying a stroll along the shore, and all the amusing dog encounters, when Ricci exchanged sniffs with a Boxer. When he got too playful our girl shot off like a bullet up les escaliers, over the boardwalk, and across two lanes of traffic!
We ran after our spooked chienne, bracing for what was around the corner by which she'd disappeared.
Incredibly, our dog had cleared two lanes of traffic before a stranger moved swiftly into action. The man swooped down, trapping her on the sidewalk in front of the pizzeria. We hurried across the street, and Jean-Marc retrieved Ricci while I grabbed the man with multiple piercings, hugging him like my own son--de toute ma force!
Sadly, no photo of Ricci’s sauveur. Standing in for this Good Samaritan are my son Max and granddogs Izzy and Loca.
With Ricci safely in Jean-Marc's arms, we walked the rest of the way home a little stunned. What were we to do now? We would like our dog to be able to play on the beach with other dogs--but at what risk? How is our dog supposed to get her zoomies out if she can't go temporarily unleashed? There are no dog parks in our seaside town, making it a challenge to exercise our energetic American Shepherd.
We have been sorting out this dilemma over the past few weeks and we are all making good progress. One blessing that's come of this is we have discovered the Parc National des Calanques here in La Ciotat--a beautiful natural reserve where we can walk along a rocky trail to the top of the city.
Read about this stunning natural reserve on the last page of the Feb/March edition of France Today.
After the randonné, it's time for a visit from Grand-mère (Jules has been catless ever since Lili returned next door, to live peacefully in our neighbor's armoire after three dogs moved onto our property). Jules adores Ricci, whom she visits each afternoon with her pockets filled with friandises. "Here comes the Cookie Monster!" my mom giggles, taking Ricci into her lap. We've given Jules a 3-cookie limit (per visit) for Ricci and I'm amazed she abides by the rules (if only this one time).
Regarding the dog biscuits, Ricci, elle raffole! She is crazy about them. As for us, on raffole de Ricci! We cannot get enough of her! With her soft-as-silk calico fur she's exotic and she has a very foreign--come to think of it a very French way of expressing herself: elle grogne. She is not visibly complaining or unhappy, she's "voicing" without words. You might say it's a kind of guttural dog purr....
UN CHIEN CHAT
"She doesn't seem like a dog" My mom brings up something we have all been thinking about our ethereal animal de compagnie. "I know," I say, wondering if Ricci is some kind of licorne...
"What do you think she is?" I ask Jean-Marc. After a bit of reflection, he answers "a cat."
"Ricci! I say, are you a little cat in dog's clothing?" Just imagine! One thing's sure: after the scare our pup gave us recently, she has nine lives... just like our dear Smokey had. Maybe he was a cat too? Nah, he was definitely a unicorn.
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raffoler de = to love, adore, be nuts about
une frayeur = fright
une chienne = female dog
un escalier = stairs
de toute ma force = with all my strength
le sauveur = savior
la randonnée = the hike
la grand-mère = grandmother
une friandise = a treat, a sweet
elle grogne = she grumbles
une licorne = unicorn
REMERCIEMENTS / ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Thanks in advance to readers sending in a blog donation for the first time, and to my returning patrons listed below. Your support keeps the wheels of this digital journal turning, and I am truly grateful!
I love your stories! The one about the train journey was an absolute gem. Caro F.
Today’s story motivated me to make another donation. I look forward to each new tale and do practice the French I see with each new post. Ricci is wonderful. So glad you have this beautiful new dog. Happy Holidays to you, Karen
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety