Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I was not myself
no, this last week I was something else altogether
namely chef Pierre mon frère

I was shapely –
in a round, pillowy sort of way,
unconcerned with how my weight was settling!
This was perfect for welcoming hugs from all,
for playful pokes and ready arm rests.
This also made me quite photogenic!

I was a man -
and some of the children never knew otherwise
(perhaps it was my mustache)
one boy in particular comes to mind,
who told me I was a very nice man
the nicest he had ever met -
and he sat by me
and then he leaned on my shoulder
while all the children were singing and dancing
he held my hand and shared his thoughts
and I thought of a father’s strong comfort
and how words are often over-rated.

I was French -
though decidedly with international training
as my French accent often slipped into Spanish or Italian;
no one minded that my French was ‘bad’ (that’s an understatement)
but only delighted that I tried, which in turn
helped my French to improve each day!
When I led the prayer one day
all the children prayed in the same
French accent, imitating me.
Now there’s a little food for thought in that, eh?

I was generous-
Every day I brought pastries and chocolates,
baguettes and culinary pleasures to share.
My arms were never empty
my pockets held countless surprises to give to others always something,
I named the treasures in the people around me
with an easy hand on their chin,
a direct look into the eye
that told them they were seen, with gratitude.

I was extravagant-
bigger than life
The mundane was tres magnifique
and joy was found everywhere
but most especially in the people all around me.
Little one’s were mon petit chou chou
and any good deed showed le sacré coeur de Jesus
My arms were never folded.
My hands were only in my pockets to pull out a treat or a
silly thing to bring a smile and Voilà!

I was playful-
I took the pokes with cheerful anticipation
I posed and danced, I joked and laughed.
We shouted a hundred times, to their mischievous delight – oui oui!
Yes, Yes. It’ joy resounding in my ears still.

It was VBS week; and fruitful beyond our wildest dreams.
I miss Chef Pierre, mon frère;
He is my Brother
(and husband said Chef Pierre looked just like my brother!)
He is the embodiment of Christ’s lessons we were learning this week


My almost 8 year old was in on the whole thing
and together with Papa we had more fun creating me together
than I ever could have had alone.
A lot of others had a hand in creating me too;
some who daily refined me
and others who never saw the fruit of their labors
but never-the-less contributed to my becoming.

No, I was not myself this week
and I may never be myself again...
or perhaps I was more myself than I could have known
without the help of mon frère
and I am grateful that we are creating me together...
Oui! Oui!

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