Se donner de la peine pour faire quelque chose
A job interview in French...

How to say "crutches" in French...

IMG_20180925_111233_807Announcing one more meetup in Denver! Hope to see some of you on October 4th, from 5-7 pm at the Alliance Française. 

une béquille (beh-kee)

    : crutch, stand; kickstand (bike)

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce the following expressions: Download MP3 or Wav file

Elle marche avec des béquilles. She walks with crutches.
mettre une moto, un vélo sur sa béquille = to put a motorbike or bike on its stand.
se déplacer avec des béquilles = to get around on crutches


by Kristin Espinasse

I was staring up at a flower seed display with packet after packet of possibilities when I heard a tap tap tap coming up from behind me. Turning, I saw a woman on crutches who was now looking up at the same rack of flower packets.

"Bonjour," I smiled, quickly turning back around. A moment passed before I thought to scoot over so that the newcomer could see the entire display.

"Ne bougez pas. Vous ne me gênez pas du tout," she assured me. Her hair, gathered up in a large twist, was the color of Mexican poppies ...or maybe honey-colored nasturtiums? ...the ones I was debating  whether or not to buy. I liked the idea they were edible plus pretty to look at. I had recently bought a pack of blue starflowers, or bourrache, for that very reason. Come to think of it I had recently bought quite a few packets of flowers, so maybe I'd better head off now, and meet-up with Jean-Marc, who was two aisles over, in the "automatic watering systems" section of the store.

But before leaving I felt the urge to say something to the middle-aged lady with the béquilles. During the handful of minutes that we had stood staring up at the flower seed présentoir, I sensed her endearing presence. We had only exchanged a brief greeting and that is when I saw what my dear aunt Charmly would refer to as stardust. It's that heavenly sweetness that emanates from a kindred spirit.

"Wouldn't it be lovely to have them all!" I said to the stranger, betting on the possibility that she, too, was overwhelmed by what the French call l'embarass de choix. There were so many flowers to choose from. I went to put back the seed packet I had been holding when the lady with crutches responded to me.

"Which one is that?" she asked.

"Oh... cosmos," I offered.

"Cosmos?" She had never heard of the flower before.

"Ah," I said, smiling. "They grow this high..." I motioned with my hands," and are covered with fuchsia flowers. (I was thinking of the cosmos that my mom had so loved, back at our farm in Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes. The thought of Mom fawning over those flowers threw me back in time.)

Perhaps emotion had cast a fragile shadow over me, for next the stranger offered an affectionate compliment.

"Hold on," the woman said, as I  returned the seeds to the display. "I will plant them and they will remind me of you."

It was such an intimate and generous thought that it caught me completely off-guard. I thanked the woman with the Mexican poppy-colored hair and quickly hurried off.

It was a strange reaction and, even as I was walking away, I wanted to turn back... to say something back to her just as nice! But what?

Two rows over, in the watering section of the store, I stood there debating. I should go back and get the seeds that she had been looking at (morning glories, I think they were...) and tell her I'll plant them and think of her, too! But as the seconds turned to minutes I convinced myself that the window of opportunity had passed. At this point it would be too awkward to return.

Hélas this touching encounter will be filed under Missed Opportunities. Meantime somewhere in France dozens of cosmos will bloom this summer. I see the woman with the Mexican poppy color hair hobbling up to admire them. She's finished with her crutches by now, and a part of her is even jogging down memory lane.


le présentoir = display rack

ne bougez pas vous ne me gênez pas du tout = don't move. You're not bothering me a bit

le bourrache = borage

les béquilles (f) = crutches

hélas =  alas

un embarras = a difficulty (more here)

l'embarras de (or du) choix = embarrassing variety of choice, multiple possibilites

Au présentoir des fleurs je suis resté bête devant l'embarras de choix.
At the flower display I was stumped before all the choices.

avoir l'embarras du choix = to have too many solutions


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Mexican poppies
Mexican poppies growing at our former vineyard. Don't miss that story!


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I enjoyed your post. It reminded me that without much effort we can still make the world a slightly better place. We can be kind and thoughtful and generous-spirited. You are all of these Kristi and I'm grateful.

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

I often have these moments and haven't had a name for them up until now - stardust. I like it.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,
Loved your story today! You will always remember that sweet woman too every time you look at Cosmos! They are some of my favorite flowers and the pollinators love them too!


I've actually published some research related to avoir l'embarras du choix. Many of the strategies we have for choosing break down when there are too many choices. Some companies have actually figured this out and now offer fewer choices and both they and we are happier.

Patricia Sands

What a lovely comment, Margaret, and so true...and one I suggest applies to you as well. :-)


What a lovely story to start my day. Merci! Now I am off to buy seeds for my garden and cosmos will definitely be on the list. And stardust moments happen - just did not have that name for them - it is perfect.

Steve Tomashefsky

My wife, Maxine, has these moments all the time. We call them "Max's Magical Moments"

pat freeburg

So very sorry to miss your Francaise event; I have knee replacement surgery scheduled in fantastically Autumnal Vail for 2 October. Then I'll be using, helas, les bequilles, etc. So delighted to meet you, sister and JP @ wine shoppe.

Dave Kapsiak

I wish you were coming to the Alliance Francaise in Berkeley, Ca-darn!

Carolyn Chase

What an enchanting moment!! And it will remain in your memory, and in ours as well. Your instincts were right on - better not to artificially go back, as that would have been too forced. Indeed as two kindred souls hers recognized yours and knew your response. More was unnecessary.

Cosmos introduced themselves to me by volunteering in my new garden when we bought this house in fall 2001. They along with the California poppies ceased to reseed about the same time, so this year I planted each of them. Your photo earlier and this endearing story have warmed my heart. I too will now have a sweet borrowed memory to treasure when I see them.

Nyla Witmore

I will be coming and bringing friends....and a long awaited donation, finally, in person. US$

Valerie Porter

I love the stardust word. May I use it too? It is perfect! Thanks.


Our dear Kristi,
Today's post is so lovely!And so are you!
And what first comes to my mind is:perhaps the stars shine brighter when we are entertaining angels unaware?
Natalia. Xo


Bonjour Kristi, You have a loving and wise spirit. It is noble to be kind to strangers, especially toward the stranger who is disadvantaged, marginalized, or vulnerable. It is wise to reserve intimacy for family and friends. This is spiritual maturity.


Wow! It was a very beautiful account. These little moments of kindness and compassion, even from strangers, makes our lives and this world more beautiful and graceful. And such incidents remain in the memories forever..

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

That, too, is lovely - and how beautiful that you can share them together.


Ah, Stardust - I love this description of these wonderfully intimate moments between “strangers” (hard to name them “strangers” as as at that stardust moment one is sprinkled with love that can feel so very intimate and just warms up the heart so beautifully). Moments never forgotten!!

Jacqueline Pope

Kristi, as usual, you have added so much to my day, my happiness. I am smiling, still, thinking of many times and stories you have contributed to my life. All beautiful in one way or another. Stardust is an appropriate definition of these chance, or maybe not, encounters that give us cold chills and make us wonder if that was our guardian angel. Had to be something really important because of the impression it left or lesson it taught. Someone told me sometime ago that there are no consequences. And what a blessing those meetings always are. Thank you for the stardust that with your writings you sprinkle on all of us. I’m always better having checked in with you. Hugs and prayers for safe travels. Glad you are staying awhile.

Marianne Rankin

Gary, yes, we can often have too many choices. I, for one, don't need 100 cable channels, for example. I do wish cars came in a few more colors.

Now when I think of, or plant, cosmos, I will remember the "stardust" moment, too.

Kristin, the poster for your Denver visit says October 4, 2017. Shouldn't it be 2018? Hope the event goes well.


Such a beautiful story, Kristi! I have missed many similar opportunities and have left myself many a mental note to not be afraid to be kind to strangers. Thank you for that reminder.


Very sweet story, Kristi, you always show your good heart in these. I planted nasturtiums in my vegetable garden for the same reason, because they are edible, and although they aren't naturals for a bouquet, they are still blooming in the cooler air and a very small vase of them is on my windowsill, so I will think you you when I see them also. Let us know if you ever come to Chicago, we have an Alliance Francaise and an interest in wine also!

Jan Hersh

Comme j'aime les fleurs et mon jardin. Merci Beaucoup Kristi pour tous vos histoires!


Very sweet story

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