Life in the Center of France
Monday, September 29, 2014
  Father
Father

Nelson Lute was a giant to me. 6' of quiet power in the house. I could tell he loved my mom and I as he bounced me on his knee and rewarded my wonder of him with toys he made by hand. He carved animals for me to play with out of the native woods he chopped from the jungle across the street. 


He took me with him to work at the General's kitchen where I peeled potatoes and carrots and chopped vegetables. He laughed with me and at me at times and rarely got angry at me. With my mother he grew to be different. He often carved his animals in the rattan chair in the living room of our casita and my mother, always neat and prim about the housekeeping, feined him to stop which he never did. They argued the argument of the sexes as I learned, two people in a disconnect, going different ways without knowing it. I suffered their fights and angry outbursts. I ran to my friend's casita across the street to escape but could clearly hear anyway. Kindly Ms. Woods would bring me inside and feed me cookies and milk and she wouldn't allow me out until it quieted down. Sometimes Father would rush down the stairs, jump into the jeep and disappear into the night and I would return home to a tearful Mother afraid of what this meant. The next day came quickly enough with Louise making breakfast and visits by the geckos amidst thew squawking of the parrot. Life was seldom boring.

Father knew several men who worked at the Canal locks and took me on a tour with them to see how it was all accomplished. I rode in the little "donkey" shuttle that pulled the boats and ships along the way. He marvelled at everything mechanical and was an excellent mechanic in his own right. He loved making things and using them, screwdrivers, wrenches, a wood lathe and all it's knives and tools which he used to make a set of matching livingroom lamps for my mother. 




The war, of which I knew little, was over. Father came home to stay. This is the father that I would have as my own, undivided by the "damned war" as he called it. He rarely talked of the war, where he went or what he did. My questions, "How many men did you kill?" "Where were you all that time my Mother was alone?", "Did you kill any Japs?" went unanswered. That was his quiet familiar way. 

I sat on Father's knee while he whittled away with a knife he had made, at a small bock of dark wood, "mahogany" or "Palo Rosa", he called it, periodically sharpening the blade so it would work easier.    My mother sat in the easy chair beside us reading a Photography magazine.  The chips piled up on the floor below us.

 
Friday, September 26, 2014
  Mother
My mom was slender-ish, 5 ft. 4" and an adventurer.  After all...she married my dad. A happy sort who loved animals a bit more than she should have as our house was a zoo of sorts most of the time.  Little green lizards (a type of gecko) everywhere (Un-named), a parrot (Spook), a baby crocodile (Crack), two cats (Hymn and Her) and jars of miscellaneous bugs but no cages anywhere.  Her day began with feeding this and that to each with great care and concern as was her way.  She mostly loved the little lizards which crawled in through the open window slats to gaze upon all else from vantage points on the wall.  They changed ID over time, became bigger and smaller ones, never less than five or six.  Green ones, some with red heads and gecko-like with fat toes that left tiny tracks wherever they wandered.

She was a fine cook of anything she wanted to serve.  She loved to cook pasta with red sauce as she called it, and it was delicious.   Louise had taught her about the local vegetables and how to prepare them.  Mom was kind to me always, hugging, kissing me goodbye on school days and taking me around to see the wonders of this particular paradise.  She was a consummate photographer, taking 35mm slides of everything with her Argus C3 camera.  That camera was with her wherever she went so she could record her world.

We often went to Balboa which she particularly liked, a funky sort of backwater town attached to the side of Panama City.  There were shops there, and a sort of open air market where locals would sell whatever they had in the way of fruits and vegetables and household junk.  Mostly she came to bar hop in the late afternoon with me in tow.  She was a drinker, attractive and more gregarious than most.  I was told by her that I was "The Preventer" though I knew not what she meant.  Men, of which there were plenty, found her amusing and, if it weren't for me, too available to ignore.  The port of Balboa was right there, sailors and workers from all over the world, some with wily ways that, it seemed, she found interesting, maybe too interesting I thought.  When my father was gone, we went there often. 



The beach was avoided at all costs as the riptide was dangerous and many drownings of military people had happened there.  No doubt they were drunk.  I wasn't allowed out of my mothers sight while in Balboa.  She would lead me to the bathroom when I had to pee and wait for me at the door.  She drank and talked and I'd get an ice cream bar and pilfer a sip of her Old Fashioned when I could.  I liked the taste.  She would shop for clothes and trinkets and we'd drive home to Ft. Clayton in the jeep, her tipsy and laughing and me anxious to join my compadres in an evening adventure or mud slide.

 
 
Lignieres, France; village life and times as witnessed by two adventurous Californians with a taste for food, wine, castles, ancient Roman sites and old piles of rock (houses).

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Name:
Location: Lignieres, Cher, France

I am a happy sort, an optomist forever, and love a good joke. I'm quite sociable and I LOVE Life. I'm loyal like a puppy and I'm quite happy by myself as I grew up an only child, but I like parties and formal dinners with friends. I am also a cook and would rather cook than eat.

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