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Travel Essential to Well-Rounded Life
Thank goodness! Bill found my wallet on the floor of the coat closet. Dunno how it got there. I must have been having a Senior moment.
Last week’s column about air travel’s being one of my visions of Hell struck a nerve. A niece wrote that during a flight she was on, a baby screamed so much that its frantic mother passed it around to fellow passengers, hoping that someone could quiet it down. A woman struggled with two kids while her husband sat two rows forward and pretended he didn’t know her. Mary Jo continued, "I’ve been to Hell on airplanes. Now I’m taking Bible Study." Niece Barbara wrote that if she were ever foolish enough to travel on an airplane again, she’d ask for a wheelchair. Her best story took place during landing in St. Louis shortly before dawn. A man stood up and started screaming, "We’re all going to die! Repent!".
A friend said, "Why do people rush so to get on the plane when they’re all going to arrive at the same time?" We’re amused by the people who hurry to get their bags out of the overhead bins and then stand in the aisles or hunched over under the bins for fifteen minutes until the door is opened. Our friend agrees, "They all have to wait at the same luggage carrousel." I know the reason: Like sheep we allow ourselves to be herded into airplanes’ cramped quarters, and like sheep we wait. Baa, baa, baa!
At least the toilets on our planes didn’t back up and send a stream of sewage down the aisle as happened recently. On the other hand, modern air travel permits many people to see a world that they’d never visit otherwise which is why we put up with Hellish journeys.
"The world is a book. He who does not travel reads only one page." Thomas Aquinas
We returned home from Paris to a nearly empty refrigerator and a depleted bank account, but, as Vivian Forst advised, it was worth every penny. Eighteen-year-old boys are not gushers who constantly emote about their pleasure. However, they were there long enough to get a sense of this wonderful place.
When he saw Notre-Dame de Paris Tony said, "It’s like a picture on a post card. I could look at it forever." "It’s so huge!" said Chris. That sort of experience enriches people’s lives in years to come. They did all the touristy things: climbed the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, bought souvenirs, rode on the Metro and the Batobus that stops at various points around the Seine, learned their way around and got to know the neighborhood around the Place Maubert. They saw a new side of Bill who is very expert about finding his way around Paris. They were also surprised to hear Grandma speak French without even having to think about it.
"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are dining on crumbs." Auntie Mame
Their diet is limited..They wouldn’t dream of eating a mushroom--"After all, it’s a fungus, Grandma, and cannot be good for you." Thus, the glories of French cuisine were wasted on them. They survived on the wonderful bread, pain au chocolat (rolls with a slab of chocolate) to which they became addicted, pizza, pasta, French fries, crepes, and an occasional steak. They liked fondu and raclette. Raclette is a dish where they bring a table-top heater in which you heat raclette cheese, boiled potatoes and ham. They became connaiseurs of the Croque Monsieur grilled ham and cheese sandwich. We got milk shakes at a Mcdonalds which is always packed with French people as well as tourists.
Paris was the same as ever: The art was still lovely; the lemon tarts at our favorite bakery in the Place Maubert were still so luscious that they make one shriek with delight; the long, slender, crusty baguettes were still the best bread on planet Earth; the open-air market still displayed everything from eighty kinds of cheese to silk scarves; the cleaning ladies at the Hotel Abbatial were still compulsive cleaners; and the French were as charming and nice to us as ever. We hope that this trip added some pages to the boys’ books of life and gave them a little taste of the marvelous banquet.
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