Friday, October 21, 2005

La Bonne Dame Francais

The more dependent I become on caffeine now that I have a job with normal good ole American 8:30-5:30 hours, the more I try to keep it from becoming habit. I know this is a fruitless effort, but still I try to not drink it some days, or to put more milk in it. This more milk thing is actually kind of good, it evokes a feeling of cafe au lait, of my french grandmother. I think of this because in the book Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, (and I do mean the book, not the movie which is crap) at one point a character talks about how she learned to drink her coffee that way, lots of milk, a little sugar and a little coffee - cafe au lait down in Lousiana.

In my mind nothing that ever brings my grandmother to mind could be a bad thing. Ursula was this frail little Quebecqois (french canadian) woman, religious almost but just barely not, to a fault and touched with superstition. We used to say if anyone had a direct line to "the man upstairs", as she called God it was her. If you asked her to pray for something, it happened.

There's no way for me to decribe the quality that made her so loveable and dear to me, but her idiosyncracies which grew as she aged are what I think of now - she was so frail she would sort of propell herself across a room so she would't falter, she spoke in franglais (a broken combination of french and english) or would tell us she had forgotten the english words. When she met my husband at a party before we were dating, although she had also just met my boyfriend at the time of two years and yet when she met Sean she got me alone and pointedly said, "I like him." When I pointed out to her that I wasn't dating him, she surprised me and said in a voice that told me I was younger than I knew, "I know."

When my husband proposed there was one thing I wanted at my wedding - her. She told me "if the big man upstairs allows it." Apparently it just wasn't in the cards. She passed 11 months before we exchanged vows. However she still managed to make her presence felt, in keeping with tradition I placed a rosary on my parent's windowsill the day of the wedding to ward off bad weather because there was a storm coming. My aunt brought Ursula's rosary and to me nothing was more fitting. The weather could not have been more beatiful - a wind came down from (where else??) Canada to blow those storm clouds away.

To me, anytime I am reminded of the Ya ya Sisterhood, I think of the caharecter Genevieve's death. In sharing the news they say "the good french lady has passed on." That is how I forever remember Ursula's passing, the good french lady is gone.


Blogger Tara said...

Wow, this post deeply touched my heart. Very well written and straight from the heart, Well done, I haven't seen too many blogs where people can put their thoughts so clearly into words like that.

2:35 PM  

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