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  • Betty Girardeau

It's The Simple Things


Last night I was thinking about the things that make me happy. When I started to think of specifics, I realized that they were really such simple things. I love the feel of the sun on my face and the sounds of birds singing. I love good music, but I am equally happy with peace and quiet, especially when it is part of visual peacefulness. I love a good book, good food and wine, and great conversation with intelligent and fun people. I like the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a day. It is rare to have all those things in one place, but I did last summer when I spent a month at Chateau deGudanes as a volunteer worker for a month.

This is the view that I had every morning as I started my day. Sometimes I would see the horses nibbling grass in the field below. Some mornings I could hear random conversations from the early risers who were enjoying their coffee in the kitchen garden. There were daily tasks that had to be and were accomplished, but rarely was there a feeling of urgency about them. While there were a lot of other things that I did, I primarily became "laundry girl" with a special emphasis on table linens. Most days the linens were hung out to dry in their own special yard behind the Chateau, where, especially in the afternoon, the sun and the mountain winds made it quick work. Just below the drying yard there is a place with comfortable chairs, where I would often sit in the sun and read a book, occasionally looking up to watch a random car going up or down the road beside the river. There was almost always activity in the kitchen and, not surprisingly, it was often the best place to spend time chatting with whomever happened to be around, guests and/or other Chateau Team members alike. Friends were made who are still enriching me as we continue to be in contact despite the fact that we are now quite literally all over the world. Those thirty days were simple and fulfilling and, in many ways, life at its best.

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