Tales from

the Loir

A Weekly Column

July 25, 2001 - La Resistance

As the rain taps on my hood, I can hardly believe what I am seeing from my perch on the bridge. I watch a short muscular man moving through the shallows of the river setting charges and running wires. He moves like a seal through the dark cold water of the Loir River. Again and again, he crosses the river to set a charge and run a wire. He appears to be ready to blow this XIIth century bridge. He has the cold hard stare of a veteran. Some say he can open an oyster with that look but it is the firm jaw that shows his determination. The people here call him Coco but his real name is Olivier Tremblay and he has been the explosives expert for the village for longer than anyone cares to remember. I have known Coco for years but Kiki, his assistant, is a new man in town and no one knows if he can be trusted. To make matters worse another man has been recruited who may or may not be own our side. The explosives team calls him Titi.

As Kiki attaches the last wire to the plunger, a fleet of six dragon shaped vessels appear around the bend in the river. It is too late to run now. Either the plan works or we run to the caves on the hill. As the attackers approach, the plunger is pushed and an explosion of fire and thunder turns the river red. Out of the corner of my eye, I see blood red flames glowing from the thick acrid smoke billowing from the chateau high on the mountain. We have been tricked. The chateau is under attack. The river attack is just a diversion.

When the fireworks are over, I ask who is responsible for this great show. I am told that Coco and Didi handled the fireworks and the music. I know Coco and Kiki, and I met Titi for the first time tonight. But who the hell is Didi? It must be a code name for Stephen Spielberg because no local could have produce this kind of spectacle. But I am wrong. It turns out Coco is the main producer of the fireworks and has been doing it for years. It is the best sound and light show that I have seen and well worth the wait until midnight to see it. But I am not the only one to wait. Hundreds of people make the effort to come here every year to see the show and eat moules frites. Vive la Resistance.

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July 18, 2001 - System D
July 11, 2001 - The Accident
July 4, 2001 - Ange Pitou
June 27, 2001 - Feu de Saint Jean
June 20, 2001 - Geoffroy Martel
June 13, 2001 - Saint of the Day
June 6, 2001 - Escapade dans le Berry
May 30, 2001 - Learning French
May 23, 2001 - Pete and Manny
May 16, 2001 - Les Journees des Aubepines
May 8, 2001 - Armistice Day
May 2, 2001 - May Day
April 25, 2001 - Les Manouches
April 18, 2001 - Trôo
April 11, 2001 - Le P'tit Jules
April 4, 2001 - Men and Their Caves 
Archive of Weekly Columns Jan-Apr 2001
Archive of Weekly Columns from 2000


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