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Un Coup de Pouce: a helping hand from our daughter

Jean-Marc in BriançonJean-Marc, in Briançon. The words on the wall read: L'alpiniste est un homme qui conduit son corps là où, un jour, ses yeux ont regardé... " The mountaineer is a man who leads his body to where, one day, his eyes have looked. --Gaston Rébuffat

Today's Expression: Un Coup de Pouce

    : a helping hand, a boost, a leg up

French Audio/Listening: Click the following link to hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in today's story. Then scroll down to the vocabulary list to check your French comprehension.

Click here for the sound file



F is For France book"F is For France: A Curious Cabinet of French Wonders". If you are a Francophile and love trivia this book's for you! 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

When our daughter moved home last week after temporary employment in the Alps, she had a lot on her to-do list: unpack, find a new job, renew her French passport, etc... But when she saw her dad and sensed he was a little down, helping him became her priority.

Un Coup de Pouce (A Boost)
"Mom," Jackie said, wheeling her suitcases into the guestroom. "This afternoon, I'm going to go through Dad's garde-robe and get rid of a lot of old clothes. Then, I'm going to help him shop for some basics. And maybe pick out some skincare essentials."

Skincare essentials? I could not see my husband patting l'eau de rose on his rugged face. Mais que sais-je? As Jackie pointed out, "When you take care of yourself, you feel better." 

It's true, Jean-Marc needed un coup de pouce. Since selling our vineyard and starting his wine shop, Chief Grape has been focused on his business. It was now time to focus on his well-being--via un relooking!


Out with the old...
The very afternoon of her arrival back in La Ciotat, Jackie was knee-high in a pile of her father's fringues as the two stood sorting vêtements in front of an old armoire. Right away, a plan of action was put into place...  Step 1: toss or recycle whatever clothes were abîmés, déchirés, troués, délavés, or moldy (this last problem began with a leak in our roof...long story). Step 2: Give away the clothes that are in good condition.

When Jean-Marc had doubts about parting with certain affaires, he remembered the ongoing exodus out of Ukraine and all those displaced families in need. "I'm going to give these to our town's collect, for la Solidarité Ukraine."  Two one-hundred liter bags now filled quickly and when the dusty armoire was empty, Jackie and I wiped it down from top to bottom, using a lavender-scented spray to finish off the job before welcoming back the rest of JM's clothes.

In with the new...
The next day father and daughter headed to Marseilles, to the shopping mall Les Terrasses du Port... where they found chinos, chemises, shorts, and mocassins. And that evening we were treated to un défilé de mode! 

Our family, including Jules and Smokey (covered with his own new "threads" or stitches), gathered on the two couches in front of the fireplace. Next, Jean-Marc appeared on the "catwalk" and strutted forth, wearing a jade green dress shirt, cream-colored slacks, and black loafers. Qu'est-ce qu'il est beau! Canon! we whistled. Reaching the center of our living room our mannequin swung around, shook his hips, and slapped his own behind, before strutting off with a big smile on his face.

I rolled my eyes back and shook my head, sacré Jean-Marc! When they made him they broke the mold!

"You two did a great job!" I said to my daughter, while our menswear model made his way back to the changing room.
"Thanks, but we didn't have time to get the skincare," Jackie regretted.

A moment later my husband returned, strut, strut, strut--SLAP!, wearing another tenue pimpante. From the glow on his rugged face, no l'eau de rose needed. Jackie's mini-makeover was already a helpful boost to her dad's morale.


FRENCH QUOTE & VOCABULARY
L'alpiniste est un homme qui conduit son corps là où, un jour, ses yeux ont regardé. 
The mountaineer is a man who leads his body to where, one day, his eyes have looked.

un coup de pouce
= a little help, a lift, a boost
la garde-robe = wardrobe, clothes, clothing
l'eau de rose = rosewater toner
mais que sais-je? = but what do I know?
le relooking = makeover
les fringues = slang for clothes
les vêtements (m) = clothes, clothing
abîmé = damaged
déchiré = ripped
troué = full of holes
délavé = faded
la chemise = shirt
le mocassin = loafer
un défilé de mode = a fashion show
il était si beau! = He looked so handsome!
canon = gorgeous, hot (read the related post)
la tenue =  outfit
pimpant(e) (fringant(e) = smart, elegant 

Jackie raincoat armoir
Jackie, trying on the trench coat she made in design school. The armoire you see behind her is as old as Mr. Sacks, and has had various lives: as a kitchen pantry, as a duo-closet for JM and me. These days it's his garde-robe.

Jackie and jean-marc donkey
"Father and daughter," Jean-Marc giving Jackie un coup de pouce when she was little. Photo from the "Desiderata" poem post. Corrections to this letter are always welcome and appreciated. Merci d'avance!

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety

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