La Grande Randonnée: Jean-Marc's GR 20 trek in Corsica: Part II bilingual story + full audio recording
Adieu Sweet Smokey: French for "Dog Heaven"

Learn what "quiproquo" means via this familiar synonym + Vive Smokey!

Smokey golden retriever day lily
Our soon-to-be 13-year-old, Smokey and day lilies from our friends Anne and Kirk. Don't miss a beautiful picture of my Mom, Jules, at the close of this post (if your are reading via email, click on the link somewhere below to continue reading).

: "un malentendu" 

: a misunderstanding, misinterpretation, misapprehension

AUDIO: click here to listen to the example sentence below

Un quiproquo est un malentendu où l'on prend un être vivant, un objet ou une situation pour une autre. A quiproquo is a misunderstanding where one takes a living being, an object or a situation for another.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse 

During yesterday’s heatwave I was looking for a cold treat to bring Mom. In the frigo I took a yogurt and a banana and headed out the kitchen door, to our garage-turned-studio where Jules has lived for four years now. Le temps vole!

Beyond the sliding glass doors I saw Mom resting on her bed. The ventilateur on the nightstand that had been cooling her was now whirring loudly on the floor beside our golden retriever.

“Mom, are you keeping cool enough? Let me bring in another fan!” I said.

“No, I’m OK. Pull up that chair I brought in for you.”

I set the goûter in the fridge beside the very same yogurt I’d brought previously and noticed it was untouched. On my way back I picked up the green metal fauteuil and set it in front of the kitchen island, facing Mom’s bed, and we settled into our late afternoon tête-à-tête, chatting while petting and fussing over Smokey, who turns 13 next month. As I caressed our dog I suddenly felt another bosse, this time between his neck and shoulder, nestled deep enough to go unnoticed as it grew…and grew. It was nearly the size of a tennis ball!

“When we had all those bumps removed 4 months ago, I knew it was only the surface of the iceberg.” I said to Mom, as a heaviness filled the room.

“Well,” Jules replied, searching the positive side, “he is one happy dog!”

That is true. And so much of it is thanks to Mom, who gives all the credit right back to Smokey. “Do you hear him talking to me?” Mom asks, as we gaze at one of the favorite members of our family, his blond hair whirling in the ventilator's breeze.

Yes, I do hear those two. I hear Smokey barking suggestions to Jules all day long, and have the pleasure and delight of hearing Mom translate them all to me as the two go about their day. At 7 in the morning Smokey says: Bark bark! It’s time for breakfast, Grandma, and by 8: Should we go out to the garden now, Grandma? Bark, bark!  Sometimes at 11, he'll wonder, Is it time for a snack, Grandma? Bark! And finally at 8 pm. It’s late now, Grandma, let’s head in for the night! Smokey’s humble, easygoing, loving and caring dogness is an ever present sweetness in our lives—and as you have seen, he is a helpful guide in Jules’s life. If I begin to think about our life without him I….

“Honey, reach up and turn off the stove,” Mom said, immediately dispersing our troubled thoughts.

I swung around, still in my chair, and turned off the electric burner. “What’s cooking?” I asked Mom.

Jules' face contorted at the thought of duck. “You know I raised ducklings as a child…”

Where this duck came from is a mystery. Mom’s been talking about it for a while. “I can always cook that duck,” Mom will say, when she wants to put off going to the supermarché

That duck. Mom said it was part of the purchase she made at Jean-Marc’s boutique, but I don’t remember my husband selling canard in his épicerie-wine shop. I turned around again to look at Mom’s fry pan. Inside there were kidney beans and strips of that duck.

“You must be desperate,” I said, and we both chuckled at Mom’s predicament. On second glance, I noticed something unusual: la viande était blanche.

“Mom, that’s not duck.”

“It isn’t?” Jules looked hopeful.

“No. It looks like chicken to me. It could even be frogs’ legs!” (The “strips” were similar in length...)

“Frogs’ legs!” Mom gasped. Even Smokey was surprised and he lifted his head in time to wrinkle his nose. Sniff, sniff…

“Could you show me the package?” I asked. Mom retrieved it and there, on the label, it was clear where the quiproquo began.

“Mom, it says ‘dinde,’ not ‘duck’.”


“Yes, Dinde…turkey!” 

Dinde, dinde, wonderful! Am I pronouncing it correctly?” From the looks of things Mom had won the food lottery (and gained a new favorite French word).

“Would you happen to have any rice to go along with it?”

I offered to go and make some, but first, I reached down to caress Smokey. What I’d give to sort out his situation as easily as we did Mom’s. 

“Everything is going to be OK," Jules said, finding just the needed words. "We are all in God’s hands."

As for these heavy hearts, I'll remember He comforts those too. With this spiritual balm easing our painful emotions, we are now free to live each day to the best of our ability--for us, this means rearranging priorities in time to play ball and run through the sprinklers! Or whatever else our favorite furry family member enjoys this side of the rainbow bridge, and may it be miles and miles and miles away. Vive Smokey!
13 year old golden retriever Smokey and his tennis ball
Smokey, resting from another tennis ball run. It's true what they say about dogs: every lesson we need about life can be learned from man's best friend. For starters, Get up, go outside, chase the ball today. Always wag your tail. Never complain. Show enthusiasm at all times. Be one big furry ball of love. 


Audio File for vocabulary

Audio file here

le frigo = fridge

le temps vole = time flies

le ventilateur = fan

le fauteuil = armchair 

le goûter = 4 o’clock snack, tea time

le tête-à-tête = private talk

la bosse = lump, bump

le supermarché = supermarket, grocery store

le canard = duck

une épicerie fine = fine foods, delicatessen

la viande était blanche = the meat was white 

quiproquo = misunderstanding, mistake

la dinde = turkey

vive = long live

IMG_3683 (1)

Photos: a closeup of Mom’s kitchen island and its decor

July 14th, 2022. Jules, the first garden tomatoes of the season, and a smiling Smokey. He really is a happy dog. Thanks so much, Mom, for spoiling him with your round-the-clock presence, love, and treats.

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


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Great read! Just thinking,….Jules is very close to getting her ten year permit du séjour! Bon courage! Muriel


PS Happy fourth…oops…..fourteenth!

Angela Sargent

Thank you for the sunny photos and well done Jules - always a "glass half full" person!

Richard B.

Today is my Birthday. I just turned 72… yikes! Your post today about Smokey et Jules was a real “gift” to wake up to. Thank you.

Kristin Espinasse

Joyeux anniversaire, Richard! 🎉🎉 Enjoy your day.


My mini schnauzer, Klaus von Barker (ai yai yai! he is SO loud!) sends woofy greetings to you, cher Smokey, from SW Virginia. Cheers to an abundance of doggie treats. Toujours les chiens❣️


Jules looks so good, Kristi. And so does Smokey! Hopefully those lumps are just fatty tissue. Our goldens had them. The first golden had one on his chest the size of a tennis ball. We left it alone because he was 12+, composed of just fatty tissue, and it didn't interfere with his life style. Our second golden, a little over a year older than Smokey, had to have one removed because it was on his stomach and kept getting scraped raw. Crosby just passed away at age 14+ le fin de janvier. Miss him more and more. We always followed Smokey's doings, as they were at similar life stages. Vive le Smokey-Dokey!

Sue J.

A sweet and moving post, Kristi. Thinking of you all.

Leslie NYC

Happy birthday, Richard B.!
This is also my friend Randy's birthday. He died last year at 64 .
I will try to remember Jules' and Smokey's example and just do what I can today and relish whatever I find.
Thank you, Kristi, for the words and photos.

Diane Heinecke

Bonne fête! I'll call our youngest today (la cadette) & play La Marseillaise per her birthday tradition. I'm reminded that you and Jules and Smokey celebrate each day! Instead of wondering how much time we have left, Carpe diem. Thanks for the reminder and all the lessons you unknowingly teach me in your writing.



I wish you all the best with Smokey! Dogs are a part of our family. When one of my sons called his brother the golden child I said no Ove (our husky that died November just shy of 15 years) was the golden child. Did he listen all the time, no. He did what he wanted. But he loved us, he gave us no problems and he was just the best. I know how you feel right now. Hang in there and take care.

Kathleen Bidney

Happy Bastille day! What an inspiring post. Jules and Smokey look so happy and relaxed. Enjoy the summer, even if it is super hot. We have not had rain for about a month, which is unusual for Connecticut and my grass has gone brown really early this year. Climate change is affecting everything.
Peace, Kathleen

Suzi aka Susan

It is wonderful to see your moms megawatt smile. When I think back to our school days, thats one of the thing I remember most.Tell her Hi, and that I continue to pray for her

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Suzi. Mom will be so happy to hear your message. Thank you for your prayers. We think of you often and send hugs.


I found out last week that my beloved Sophie, a 10 1/2
black lab has a serious tumor. I am facing losing my only house mate. I am more senior than Jules, so this a great loss.

Cynthia Lewis

Your writing tugs at my heart, especially so today. You, Jules and Smokey have a unique loving bond. I send my best wishes along with my appreciation for today's message. Happy 14th!



J'adore les photos, les mots et les beaux sentiments, comme toujours.
Mon chat a 19 ans, peut être 20~ T'as raison, le temps vole!! Heureusement il a la bonne santé, comme Smokey.
Vive nos amis!

Hope that this little French exercise is mostly error free!!:)


Audrey et Ditty kitty

Kristin Espinasse

Phyllis, That news is so hard to take. Hopefully Sophie will have more time than we can ever guess. Smokey was diagnosed 6 or more years ago with a serious cancer, and he is carrying on, lumps and all. We send all good wishes to you and Sophie 🐾💕🐾💕

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Cynthia. 💗


Toujours les chiens. Scratching of the ears and belly rubs make my dog so happy. Please give Smokey an extra of each. And hugs to you and Jules.

Anne Umphrey

Dear Kristi, at the end of December my third old rescue black lab passed. I have in my latter years adopted older dogs, and black dogs. Seniors are the last to be adopted from shelters, and all black dogs are the last to be adopted therefore the first to be euthanized. In the south there are many and it seems like they are throw-away dogs. They, like your Smokey, are so grateful and loving. It is difficult to know that they will be with you for a short time, three years seems to be average. Often they come with baggage from their previous lives. But with a little care and treatment they come to be able to have the happiest years of their lives. Although I look at them with my heart full of sadness for the short time we will have together it is with love and happiness to see how they are happy too. Cherish these latter days with Smokey knowing that he lives for the moment and you can follow his ways and live in the moment with him too.

Joy Eballar

As always, I love this story. Anything to do with your mom and/or Smokey always touches my heart.


Hi Kristi, Jules and Smokey,
I loved reading this post and love the photo of your mom with Smokey and the gorgeous tomatoes!
Hope you all are staying cool!

K.J. Laramie

The true beauty of this story, so obviously about enriching one another’s lives, is how crystal clear the faith is in the Absolute, a Divine Plan so perfect it brings a tear.


Our dear Kristi,
Once again ( and as always) you have taken a most worrisome subject and wrapped it not only in sensitivity and wisdom but also around the hearts if every companion animal ' parent' as well.
Today you've made us feel like a universal band of sisters and brothers,all united in gratitude for the most wonderous gift of love God has given us.
Thank you, dear Kristi.
All of you are in our prayers.
Natalia xo

Vance Anderson-Inks

My hello, and love to Jules. She looks wonderful.

Jeanine Woods

Anne- your comment above literally brough tears to my eyes. What a gift you are giving these older rescues!
For Kristi, I love this post and agree there are lessons we can learn from dogs. One of my favorites is "wag more, bark less". I'm praying that Smokey has many more years of joyful life left!


We had the good fortune to meet Smokey when we came to Mas des Bruns (?) for a wine tasting years ago. He is such a sweetheart. Give him some are rubs and hugs from California for us, s’il vous plait. 😘

Carolyn Chase

What a wonderful post. I shall hold it in my heart as our big black Briard ages - he's 11 next week on the 22nd. Our kitty, Tucker, is 14, and suffering from kidney disease. Even harder, he belonged to our son. All of us in this household are seniors. I just try to be present to the joys of the day.

Angela Sargent

What great kindness you give Anne

Cate Salenger

Vive Smokey! ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

Sarah LaBelle

It was 3 or 4 readings before my eyes saw qui pro quo instead of quid pro quo.
The second Latin phrase has many good meanings in contract law — get something in return for giving something, a balanced contract — I see it used in a negative fashion in stories of politicians who want something extra to do the tasks of the job they were elected to do.

Qui pro quo, I put spaces so my eyes & brain do not fool me again, seems a useful term, another way to say un malentendu.

A good story, a good way to bring up dinde, something good to eat. Brings up my wondering how in English we have a bird and an unconnected, far away country with the same name, turkey.

Teresa Schirmer

Happy Bastille day!!
As I watched on YouTube the opening ceremony in Paris, I think of the entire country’s celebration!
Thank you for the uplifting stories..
You truly are a writer that , without a doubt, emphatically makes a difference in many people’s lives.
Sooo needed this uplifting message!
Merci belle kristi!

Judy Feldman

What a beautiful story today! I love the bond between Smokey and Jules, and how they speak the same language. I know personally how much joy our dogs can bring us, and how much love they can give. Enjoy every day with your cher Smokey! And Happy Bastille Day!


Such a sweet message today--and Jules does look great! I'm sure many of us can remember praying for Smokey after he was attacked as a pup, and then in his cancer diagnosis. What joy he continues to bring to your family--he just keeps giving his best!

Leslie in Oregon

Thsnk you for every story you write about Smokey and Jules. They have been in my heart for a long time, and I love seeing and reading about them. Bob the Long-Haired Dachshund and I are aging together, and I cherish every day with him.


So now we see where you get your beauty; your Mum's lovely. Have a blessed day.

Suzanne Dunaway

Love each moment, with Smokey and maman. You are lucky to have your mama. No replacememnts. Our Loulou is diabetic and we feel the same way you do...can't even go there to that place without her...each snuggle counts.


Hello, Kristi,

Best wishes getting through the heatwave, to all your family!

I love your mother’s dress for hot days. Could you provide a purchasing link to something similar, I wonder?

Finally….so many of us have been there, multiple times, even, when the end is nearing, of a beloved pet’s life.

Two pieces of advice:

Seek a vet in advance, who might be able to put down your beloved pet’s life at home.

Try not to go over, by a day or two, the time to say goodbye. I did not always get the best time right.

Bless you and your family, for honoring the Lord, in your daily lives, and being witnesses in your journal.

Love to Smokey and to your beautiful family!


Best wishes, Kristin, Jules, and dear Smokey. Thanks for always sharing the joys and heartaches… It seems like so many of your readers have senior pets, too, and can relate to your stories of Smokey. My bichon, Isabella, will be 18 in two weeks and every day with her is a gift. How lucky we have all been to share our lives with these furry companions who have brought us so much joy. Take care. Blessings to all the family.

Claire Dunham

So sad tohear the news about cher smokey. ALL dogs (and cats) go to heaven. May hismemory be a blessing to you 💙

Lisa Kennedy

I’m so sorry to read about dear sweet Smokey. What an incredible character he was, right from the day he was born. And so brave from such a young age. Thank you for sharing his adventures with us. I pray that you will all find solace in the wonderful memories you have of his time with you. 🐾🌈🌉

Marianne Rankin

Yes, adopting senior pets is a ministry. We lost an 18-year-old cat last year. We still have our 17-year-old Lily, a rescue from Hurricane Katrina, and 13-year-old Isabella. Yet a pet at any age can also be a ministry, as Les Espinasse have shown by their care of Smokey for almost 13 years.

With regard to "dinde," I believe it was originally "d'Inde", meaning folks though the bird was from India. The name "turkey" was a mistaken notion that turkeys were from Turkey, not indigenous to the United States. Ben Franklin wanted to make the turkey the national bird.

Maria Styacko

Such a lovely post! And all the more heart-wrenching, therefore, to wake up this morning (July 18) to a post about Smokey's passing. I have always enjoyed reading about Smokey and felt I knew him. He was a trooper and a loyal friend. Having only very recently lost a beloved cat, I can imagine how heart-broken you are. Sending you and Smokey lots of love.

Carol Clark

July 18, 2022

We all shed a tear for Smokey, when reading your email this morning....

Cerelle Bolon

Dearest Kristi and Jules,
I am so sorry to hear of the 'transition' of Smokey. I truly believe that whatever Heaven is like, it surely contains our dogs. I have followed your lives and loved Smokey along with all of you. I truly understand how deep our love is for our wonderful canine family members and I still feel the loss of my Chouette who moved on in March last year. They are so much a part of our lives. I know Jules found Smokey an especially dear companion. I hope you will find another before long. We never replace the ones who are gone, but our hearts expand to include yet another good dog in our lives. Blessings on you all and your beloved Smokey who had such a wonderful life with you all. He will be waiting at the Rainbow bridge. With love from your Phoenix friend...

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