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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


Have you ever just wanted to escape the stresses and demands of every day life just for a little while? I know where I would go to do that. I would find myself a little village like this one in the Aquitaine area of southwest France. Last summer on a scouting expedition for antiques we went to such a village. To get there you drove on narrow, twisting mountain roads, hoping that you would not meet another vehicle coming from the other direction. Up into the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains we drove until suddenly, there it was. A tiny village of probably not more than a couple of blocks of closely built houses and barns. Other than the antique merchant and what I think may have been his wife, we saw no other people. But, while old and time-worn, the houses seemed relatively well maintained and the streets were clean. Many of the houses had flower boxes in the windows brimming with brightly colored geraniums. Some of the doors were split ones, where you could open the top to let in air and light, but the bottom could remain closed to keep out wandering animals. Peeking into one of these I saw a tidy tiny room with basic furniture and a bowl of flowers on the table. I wondered where the other village people could be? What do they do for a living? I suspected that everyone knew each other by name, and probably their "business," too. Looking further down the street to the end of the village, there was one farm and then the road meandered on into the forest ahead. Life may be hard here. Certainly the winter snows would prevent going much further in either direction than the section of road dividing the two sides of the village. But for a time, if you needed a place to "veg out" and find yourself again, this could be perfect. Here is where you could really appreciate the little things: dawn, dusk, the singing of the birds, the passing of one season into another, laughter, camaraderie. And once you had had a chance to find yourself again, with a full heart, you would be ready to head back down that narrow twisting mountain road to the hustle and bustle again.

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