A few days ago, somebody I knew fairly well passed away.
I learned about it through an e-mail from my ex-wife.
Oddly enough it left me cold. It left me unmoved because our old bond withered and broke a long time ago.

But such is the way of relationships. Just like living things they live and die. When properly nurtured, they thrive. When neglected, they shrivel and disintegrate.

Relationships are born out of a common desire to share and enjoy similar interests. It could be food, art, sport, sex, anything that two people take pleasure in doing together.

But relationships are eminently fragile and fraught with perils.

As the French say:
« En amour Il y a toujours celui qui embrasse et celui qui tend la joue » (in love there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek).

After many kisses, one gets tired of getting the cheek.

Because relationships, regardless how neatly packaged, are always a trade. And to be durable, the balance of payments should be even.

Subconsciously or not, one keeps track of shared experiences.
If it is perceived that the relationship is lopsided, ties will fray and break.
If when going go to a restaurant with a friend, you always end up with the tab, a few strands of the rope will break.

Relationships are like tango: it takes two to do it properly.

The minute one seems to lose interest, it is up to the other person to sense it and to rekindle the romance. If it is not mended on a timely basis, the relationship, like an old hemp rope, will unravel and break.

And that’s what happened to my old connection. It seems that neither of us were keen to pursue a limping partnership, so we parted ways.

It happened a long time ago.

Now, no crocodile tears shed, just the fading memory of things past.



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Mais la vie sépare…

Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s’aiment
Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit…

But life separates those who love each other
Very slowly, very quietly …

In 1945 Jacques Prévert wrote a beautiful poem called “les feuilles mortes”  (the dead leaves) in which he laments the passage of time and the pain of lost love.

In life, this is a recurring theme. With the advent of globalization, people are more prone to leave friends and lovers behind to resettle in another state or even another country.

Those that were once close to you are suddenly living in the foggy beyond of the universe and you might not hear from them for a long time. Out of sight, out of heart, goes a French saying, and it is sadly true.

You tend to dismiss people you don’t see on a regular basis.

But should old friends be disposable items? I think not.

New friends are good, but old friends, like old sweaters, are more comfortable to wear. You know their qualities and their flaws, and you are less likely to be offended by their antics, for it is often the memory of youthful stunts that binds you together. A little bit like cellmates or army buddies.

But at the core of any friendship, there has got to be a mutual desire to keep memories and old bonds alive. And this requires work, and very often a “locomotive”, a dedicated individual who can put into motion and propel forward a group or a project.

One needs to remember that most friendships are made during our formative years. The older you get and the less likely you are to find kindred spirits. This is why you should nurture comradeships like old vine stocks.

Properly cared for, they will keep producing enjoyable clarets that will delight you and keep you warm in your advancing age.




August 12 tournament

Yesterday, La Pétanque Marinière hosted the FPUSA NW Regional tournament and I am happy to report that everything went swimmingly well.

The weather (nobody ever does anything about it) was picture perfect and absolutely ideal for a pétanque contest.

People who came early couldn’t help but notice the clearly marked and perfectly groomed field. You can thank Charlie Davantes, Christine Cragg, Claudie Chourré and David Riffo for that. I tip my hat to you, you beautiful people.

54 contestants (18 triplettes), elected to participate in this event, and they are as follows:
Team 1: Steve Jones/Jean-Michel Poulnot/Simone Furlan

Team 2: Gilles Karpowicz/Jurgen Weisse/Denyse Haney
Team 3: Bee Moua/Carolina Jones/Caryl Putman
Team 4: David Riffo/Bleys Rose/Gustave Foucher
Team 5: Paul Moua/Pierre Bremont/Christine Cragg
Team 6: Jean-Claude Bunand/Teri Sirico/Liv Kraf
Team 7: Dan Feaster/Holly Sammons/Robert Belfore
Team 8: Alain Gusella/Antonia Paulsen/Nan Walker
Team 9: Etienne Rijkheer/Alain Efron/Phyllis Mosher
Team 10: Yor Lee/Larry Cragg/Christine Jones
Team 11: John Morris/Greg Putman/Carin Paulsen
Team 12: Mike Cooper/Clausie Chourre/Frank Haney
Team 13: Kao Lee/Bernard Passmar/Mary Albright
Team 14: Phominok Lee/Colette Van Der Meulen/Peggy Silversides
Team 15: Kevin Evoy/Phim Nielsen/Tamara Efron
Team 16: Steven Paulsen/Patick Vaslet/Helen McGill
Team 17: Chang Xiong/David Katz/Linda Evans
Team 18: Ed Porto/Barbara Howard/Donna Yates

It is to be noted that, for sake of efficiency and timeliness, teams were configured the day before the tournament and this allowed the organizers to start the games at 10:00 a.m.

Croissants (albeit a little late) and coffee were offered to the contestants to help them sustain the arduous journey ahead.

Three 13 points “timed” games were played before lunch.

Timing games is a good idea, but I resent players who take an inordinate amount of time before finally parting with their boules.

Pacing the field back and forth might look good wise, but to me it is a real nuisance.

This often means that a game will be cut short before it reaches its natural 13 points completion. This procrastination can affect the final outcome of a game, for a leading team is not always assured of victory.

In my (always partial) opinion, in a timed game, contestants should be allowed to inspect the field only once. On their second shot they should have 30 seconds to play or desist. Period!

Before I forget, let’s give a hand to Verena, Bart and David for running a tight tournament, and to Antoine Lofaro (umpire) whose decisions are godlike.

After lunch, contestants (according to their morning scores) started to play either in the Concours or either in the Consolante and all the games were eliminatory.

At 7:00 p.m. it was all over. Apéritifs were served and medals awarded.

The final results are as follows:

1st place: Kevin Evoy/Phim Nielsen/Tamara Efron: $73.00 each
2nd place: Paul Moua/Pierre Bremont/Christine Cragg: $41.00 ea
3rd place: Steve Jones/Jean-Michel Poulnot/Simone Furlan: $31:00 ea

1st place: Steven Paulsen/Patick Vaslet/Helen McGill: $31:00 ea
2nd place: Yor Lee/Larry Cragg/Christine Jones: $20.00 ea
3rd place: Alain Gusella/Antonia Paulsen/Nan Walker: $13.00 ea

Before I put my pen to rest, I would like to beg for sympathy.

Because of my mate’s (annoying) prowess on the field, I am now in the unenviable position of playing second fiddle to somebody I taught how to drink wine, eat snails, and play Pétanque.

This is humiliating and has got to cease! I need your support to help me find ways to regain my previously unchallenged macho man status.

All suggestions are welcome and I will publish the 10 best ideas.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.



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