Tales from
the Loir

A Weekly Column

March 19, 2003 - Geneva


We decide to drive to Geneva to visit our friends David and Kim Everett who work for the U. S. State Department. We have lived in France for almost five years now but we rarely venture out of our little village. We love the rolling valleys of the Loir Valley but we have decided to visit some other parts of Europe this year. David and Kim are on their second four-year tour in Geneva so they know it well but they have spent the last ten years in various places in Africa. Africa is their first love and is reflected in the African art that they have collected. Among the things collected in Africa are two Zairian wild cats named Shabu and Kiva. They look like regular house cats but their bright eyes reflect a superior intelligence and, as we will learn later, a bit of mischievousness.

We have free reign of this huge penthouse with just one caveat. The cats don't understand that they are five stories up and will climb up to the roof to gain access to other apartments if they get outside. So when Kim leaves for work, she says WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T LET THE CATS OUT.

I get up early to find a better place to park our car. When I return, Aprille is running around in a panic because she can't find one of the cats. She went out on the balcony to look at the beautiful, majestic mountains surrounding Geneva. When she came back inside, one of the cats was missing. I walk around shaking the cat food box while she searches every nook and cranny in the house. We have no luck. The cat is gone. Aprille goes downstairs to ask the neighbors if they have seen the cat while I make a search of the balcony with the cat food to try and lure the cat back. When I finally give up and go back inside, the other cat is missing. I now have the same fear that Aprille had. I let a cat out when I went on the balcony. Aprille finally returns in a panic to learn that the other cat is now missing. She decides to go back downstairs and search the park across the street and perhaps save the cats from the large dogs that seems to claim the parks of Geneva. I continue to search in the apartment with the food as a lure.

I finally give up the search and decide that I have to call Kim at work and give her the bad news. I consider packing our bags and just disappearing but I finally resolve myself to deliver the bad news. Aprille is still the park so I decide to check with her first just in case she has discovered something.

When I find Aprille, she is still crying. She has asked every citizen of Geneva if they have seen the cats. As Aprille continues her search, I return to the apartment to phone Kim and tell her the bad news. As I am dialing Kim's number I look down and see the two cats come strolling in the room. There is obviously a nook or cranny in the apartment that we don't know about.

I went back downstairs to tell Aprille the good news. She was still in the park crying but had made a lot of friends. A lady approached us and told me that my wife was tres minion and I was lucky to have her. The people of Geneva have a reputation for being cold but they seem to have warmed up to little Cindy Lou Who.

We finally settle down after the cat crisis but we are both exhausted. We decide to walk down to the Old Town of Geneva and try to relax a little. Geneva has the look of wealth but it has always had a drab look. It is the look of old money and in the month of February, the look it is poignant.

The one jewel in this gray cityscape is the Russian Church. Its gold plated spires and precise eastern orthodox architecture make a remarkable impression. Inside is even more impressive. It is filled with eastern orthodox iconographic art that is both exotic and precise. I am very please with this structure and its contents. It stands like a cultural protest against its surroundings.

We decide to visit the Old Town, which is not far away. We find many nice art galleries but the strong Swiss Franc makes everything expensive here. The Archaeological museum under Cathedral of Saint Peter is interesting too but we are exhausted from the cat incident so we limit our visit and return to apartment.

Aprille wants to move to a hotel so we don't risk losing the cats again but Kim's home made pizza and a little Swiss red wine ends that debate. We sip wine until late into the night as David tells me his recollections of people and things that I vaguely remember from our childhood over fifty years ago. David was a prisoner of war in Vietnam and that experience seems to have cemented a remembrance of things past. In the end, Geneva turns out to be a great visit.

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March 12, 2003 - La Chouine
March 5, 2003 - Undercover in France

February 19, 2003 - Return to France

November 6, 2002 - Impressions of America
October 9, 2002 - William of Orange

October 2, 2002 - Catacombs of Paris

September 25, 2002 - Suburbs of Paris
September 18, 2002 - Saint James

September 11, 2002 - Le Chemin de Saint Jacques de Compostelle

July 10, 2002 - Flintstones, meet the Flintstones

July 3, 2002 - Bugs

June 26, 2002 - Summer

June 19, 2002 - French Property News

June 5, 2002 - Emmanuel de Broglie

April 24, 2002 - Election Day in Saint Rimay

April 17, 2002 -Surprise Review

April 3, 2002 - Spring in Lavardin
March 20, 2002 - Guest Columnist /Furman Magazine/ John Roberts
March 13, 2002 - Tête de Veau
March 6, 2002 - Table Etiquette
February 27, 2002 - A Country Boy Can Survive
February 20, 2002 - Driving in France
February 13, 2002 - The Circus
February 6, 2002 - History of France
January 30, 2002 - THE BEST I EVER HAD
January 23, 2002 - Miranda This
January 16, 2002 - Charlotte Observer Interview
January 9, 2002 - Walnut Wine
January 2, 2002 - Sloe Gin
December 26, 2001 - Winter Solstice
Archive of Weekly Columns from 2001
Archive of Weekly Columns from 2000


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