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  • Yesterday when I was in the kitchen preparing lunch with Lara she noticed Daniel walk by our window, and tapped on the glass with the back of the spoon she was using to scoop some honey into her tea. He looked up and smiled at us when I opened the tall white paned windows and called out a friendly "bonjour!"

    "So for Thursday...we are good for dee-ner?"

    "Yes, Thursday night! We want to use the lamb we have been storing in our freezer forever...make a stew, do you have any good recipes?"

    "Mais oui, but of course! I have lots of recipeeez! I know a very simple one...you take one third of everything...one third onion...one third lamb..."

    A car rattled by on the cobblestone street.

    "...then you add water..."

    "Daniel, I can't remember all of this and its too noisy here...we come tomorrow afternoon for coffee and you can tell us the recipe then ok?"

    "Ok, bon...at two thirty, after my walk?"

    "Yes, good two thirty, see you then! Bonne journee!"

    ***
    We always make a point of being punctual with Daniel because honestly he is retired and not very busy, so whenever we do go and see him he has everything ready for us, which means he always prepares in advance and must be expecting us. Today was no different. At half past two we rung his bell and he came out into the courtyard with a grin as he unlocked the gate and kissed our cheeks. The sun was shining and the smell of a promise of spring tickled my nostrils, carried by an air warmer than any we've had since summer made way for autumn so many months ago. We decided to take our coffee outside, in the backyard, under the warmth of the sun. On the blue and white checkered tablecloth was already two small yellow cups on yellow saucers for Lara and I, and a large white mug for himself. We brought these outside and set them on the marble table, sliding up the wooden chairs from the kitchen table. Daniel came out with some dark chocolates and put them down.

    "Drink your coffee while it is hot! And then eat some chocolates!"

    "No, I can't eat chocolate right now...I gave it up for Lent!"

    "Ok well then Lucas will eat yours for you...he will eat twice as much!"

    "No I can't eat THAT much chocolate!"

    "Why not?? We are in France! Chocolate, coffee, beautiful sun...EVERYDAY!"

    We all laughed, looking up at his beautiful old house which was probably older than the United States of America...by a few hundred years, and a sigh of contentment at being alive escaped our lips in unison.
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