Embarrassed In France

In 1985 my wife, Elmira, and son, Ken, and wife, Gina, traveled through France for 10 days. This was my treat since this young couple had been married for a short time.

Elmira and I were visiting friends in Germany where Ken and Gina met us by way of England. Leaving Cologne by train, we arrived in Paris where we rented a car. Holding Paris to explore later, we left for the countryside.

First there was Giverny with the beautiful flowers and of course the land of Monet. We proceeded to the Normandy coast where I made a war visit 41 years before. We spotted a large roadside ad pointing to a war museum. Thinking it was a government museum we readily stopped. We discovered that it was a private one that was established by some guy from the Bronx. He had gathered every war relic he could find. Actually it was a very complete display.

As we were paying our way in, the owner told me if I fought in the liberation of France I could enter free. I gave him the name of my infantry division which fought 5 months across Northern France. He pulled out large books and maps and verified what I told him.

I noticed as I proceeded that he was showing the books and maps of my division to a French gentleman. I saw this gentleman several times later as he was conducting a tour for French school children. As we were leaving, the bus load of children was lined up to greet us. I had to give my autograph to each one. I was happy to play hero but what an embarrassment,

The next day we traveled through the Loire Valley and stopped overnight at a beautiful chateau. That night we had a fantastic meal with drinks, of which I think I had a tad too much. The waiter asked if he could serve an after dinner cognac, and named several. Of course, I knew none, so I said, “Just bring us the best.” I saw my son drop his head.

Checking out the next morning, I discovered that the 4 cognacs cost more than the 2 rooms. Embarrassed, I vowed that on the remaining trip I would have just one beer per day.

David Daniel
Southbury, CT © 2014

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