Notice the leather satchel on the ground: meet Mr. Sacks, Jean-Marc's lovable sidekick. This picture is from my Instagram where I've been carefully choosing photos & pairing them with interesting French words. Follow me on Instagram for more.
Today's Word: la sacoche (sah-kohsh)
: handbag, saddlebag, purse, bag
from the Italian saccoccia, or "little pocket"
Audio/Listening: Click the following link to hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in the following story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse
"Ode to Mr. Sacks"
(The photos in the following story were taken over the years....)
I couldn't believe my ears when Jean-Marc, packing for his business trip, mentioned: "I'm not taking my sacoche with me."
Vraiment? My husband might as well have decided to leave an appendage behind--son bras droit, for example, the one he uses to lift his wine glass. That is how vital his trusty, takes-with-him everywhere sacoche is to him.
What with increasing restrictions for carry-on and check-in, Jean-Marc's dear sidekick, Mr. Sacks, is the latest victime of airline cutbacks!
Poor Mr. Sacks! I've never felt sorry for the old bag before. Mostly, I've felt envious. Mr. Sacks is the one who goes on all the business trips with my husband. Mr. Sacks goes to all the local wine tastings while I sit at home guzzling tap water.
Mr. Sacks in Ventimille, Italy, watching locals play boules, or pétanque.
I do pity, Mr. Sacks, now that his saggy little body is pouting in the corner of my husband's office. This is the first time in his 12-year-old life that he's collected dust. Normally he's on the go....
Mr. Sacks cruising the island of Cres, in Croatia. Just kidding, Jean-Marc would never put Mr. Sacks in this predicament (water). This brings me to the next point...
Regularly I am asked to hold on to Mr. Sacks while my husband sprints off to use a public restroom or when (as pictured above) he is practicing a sport. "Tu peux prendre ma sacoche?" he asks. And I always grumble, not wanting to hold the heavy "third wheel". Apart from tractor wrenches, he even keeps wine bottles (for his tastings) in there....
Mr. Sacks (on the floor, next to the bucket spittoon)
Some refer to Mr. Sacks as a "man purse". That always makes me snicker. Hahahahahaha! Man Bag!!! Sac Homme! I point at Mr. Sacks. But Mr. Sacks isn't laughing...
Me, babysitting Mr. Sacks in Malta in 2017. Jean-Marc purchased the leather bag in une maroquinerie in Draguignan, years and years ago. C'était le coup de foudre! Love at first sight!
Jean-Marc's got that guilty look on his face. He's always holding hands with Mr. Sacks instead of with me--and he knows it! While others worry about the other woman, I have to worry about the old bag!
Mr. Sacks is with my husband on bad hair days...
And on good hair days. Here they are at the beach in Sainte-Maxime.
And especially on family days!
Visiting the healing waters at Lourdes. Can you spot Mr. Sacks?
Mr. Sacks in Burgundy... with the winemakers...
But old Mr. Sacks, as you can see, is beginning to sag. I worry that items inside him will begin to fly out of his slouching pockets. I especially worry that money will fly out. For this reason, I sometimes follow close in Jean-Marc's wake as he goes about his errands. I am stumbling along behind him swatting my arms back and forth prepared to catch those banknotes that might come flying out of that sagging bag.
Over the years I've tried to get Jean-Marc to consider buying a new bag. Nothin' doin'! "But it's a hazard," I argue (a financial hazard at that! Just think if money really were flying out of that bag).
"I'm keeping my bag!" my husband always argues back.
A couple of weeks ago Jean-Marc announced with an ear-to-ear grin: Je l'ai fait réparer, mon sac. He had brought Mr. Sacks to the leather mender's, in town. The guy did a wonderful job, Jean-Marc told me, adding that the man was nearly 90 years old.
Any ill will or harsh feelings I may have felt regarding Mr. Sacks flew out of the picture (as those bank notes might have...). My heart smiled thinking of the wrinkled man sewing the wrinkled bag, one soul giving life back to the other, each content to be of service for as long as they were needed or wanted.
Update: Since this post was written, 10 years ago, Mr. Sacks has had yet another facelift (thanks to our friends at Mon Cordonnier, in Aubagne). Mr. Sacks will turn 23 years old soon and he's as busy as ever (this morning he journeyed to Marseilles with Jean-Marc and my Mom, to pick up Jules' new French health card. All documents are safe with him. Thanks, Mr. Sacks!).
le sacoche = satchel
vraiment = really
le bras = arm
droit = right
tu peux prendre ma sacoche = can you take my bag?
la maroquinerie = purse, bag, and luggage shop
le sac homme = man purse
je l'ai fait réparer = I had it fixed
mon sac = my purse
le coup de foudre = love at first sight
Oh dear. Here is Mr. Sacks on the little island of Porquerolles, with Jean-Marc and his formidable mop-spear. I hope you'll read about this unusual confection--Jean-Marc was very proud of it.
Mr. Sacks in Caltagirone, Sicily... can't you see him sniffing the pretty flowers? Voilà, for this edition. If you feel like one more story, read about the time I found a heart-stopping message inside of Mr. Sacks.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety