« Diplomatically Difficult | Main | Thirteen »

After Work: Good Old-Fashioned Fun

…The lake is about as far away from what you’d imagine the Riviera to be in high season. There are no swarthy men with gold chains and no parboiled tourists with fanny packs. I didn’t see a single Lucite sandal or oversized sun hat.

I did see a black lab chasing a ball, a man standing thigh deep in the shadows casting for fish, a lone man expertly rowing a single scull and lots of families and groups of teenagers paddling and swimming around. Everyone was enjoying a glorious day…

Dona Gibbs has exquiste fun in the real France.

For more of Dona’s sunny, shimmering words please click on After Work in the menu on his page.

Recently I stepped back into time. Or rather I should say, I paddled back in time, all the way back to the Fifties.

The Fifties seemed a simpler time than now. Moms wore aprons, dads parted their hair on the side, children were named Dick and Jane and a lot of dogs answered to Spot, just like the stories in first grade readers. Fun was simpler too.

It was in that spirit that Ever Enthusiastic Husband, son, grandson and I slid into the car and headed for the old swimming hole, South of France style. Only about 45 minutes from the bikinis of the Cannes beach, the lake is nestled in a heavily forested valley. It’s a deep, deep blue and looks so pure you could take great gulps of it. And a lot of people do just that -- it’s one of the region’s sources of drinking water.

This is a spot uncluttered by tacky-tacky souvenirs stalls. There are no louche cafes where thin men smoke endlessly, puffing away at cigarettes griped between thumb and index finger. There are no restaurants with hard-eyed proprietors, faces fixed into permanent expressions of disdain. There are only a couple of paddleboat and canoe concessions and a lone snack bar.

We had arrived early so we were able to score a prize: a blue one with a slide – just like our grandson requested. Strapped into his life vest, wearing his sun-shunning bathing costume and foreign legion sun hat, he directed us to board.

He’s two and a half, and it’s wise to follow his instructions, so we did just that and set out. Immediate destination: under the bridge. Final destination: over there.

The lake is about as far away from what you’d imagine the Riviera to be in high season. There are no swarthy men with gold chains and no parboiled tourists with fanny packs. I didn’t see a single Lucite sandal or oversized sun hat.

I did see a black lab chasing a ball, a man standing thigh deep in the shadows casting for fish, a lone man expertly rowing a single scull and lots of families and groups of teenagers paddling and swimming around. Everyone was enjoying a glorious day.

There was not one motor to be heard. The lake is off limits to powerboats and the trees blot out traffic noises. There was only the occasional splash, joyous peals of laughter and the chumpf-chumpf of the foot-powered paddles. They were the sounds of a beautiful day being enjoyed simply.


Somewhere in the middle, we paused paddling. It was time for a swim for our stalwart two and a half year old admiral. Paddling in the water proved as engaging as paddling on the water.

I mused, “Here I am on a paddle boat with three of the four men I love best in all the world. How lucky am I!”

Oh yes, you may wonder, and who is the fourth man?

Well, he was back at home in his bed, napping and enjoying baby dreams, probably of pureed apricots.

Next year, he will be ready to join us when we set out for a voyage back to simpler times when the only thing to worry about is whether Daddy packed a snack for the trip back home.

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.