Prologue – Itinerary of a Teachers’ Son

Saint-Girons is surrounded by mountains, the Arièges-Pyrénées. This is where my father is. We should have joined him, isolation during Covid made it impossible. Here is how all happened. On Feb. 29, he brought us Adrien Gombeaud’s book : un été sur la Bièvre (A Summer on the Bièvre River). We had lunch together. At 3 PM, we attended a performance in the House of Léon Blum[1]proposed by the local theater workshop Atelier Théâtre du Josas, in Jouy-en-Josas. Léon Blum was played by Pascal Blanc., consisting in a bottom up visit guided by the troupe. Then my father came back to Savigny-le-Temple before heading for the Arièges after a stop-off at Limoges. He has been making this journey for sixty years now.

He watched the Eastern mass on TV and invited friends for an online drink. Since the Covid-19 era, virtual reunions are the norm. This is the only way to socialize since there are few folks on the road. With an Aznavour’s song in my mind, I need to sing : My father is alone in St-Girons, imitating his popular song : Comme ils disent (As they say). We chatted on the phone or by SMS with a new rush. And so I wrote to him: this silence is a terrible thing to hear. The Copernic synagogue president said something like that at an interreligious dialogue programmed on the Radio 100,7 FM. Maybe this sentence is from himself. This distance has some merit: it makes me more connected to my father.

Our schedule was full of happy events.

Our evening in Tours disappeared. Then the trip in the Couserans region and also the Dordogne Valley planned during the Easter hollidays. No more visit to our family, not to speak about flying to Russia, out of reach this year. Everything collapsed like a house of cards. Devastating domino effect I wrote to my elder (4 years) brother who was born in Saint-Girons in 1959. These pandemic days erased our scheduled concert : Beethoven’s quartets at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. He was due to come from Belgium and we would have had lunch in Paris.

Nobody is around.

Everything went off with the tide.

As you can see bean sprouts, mint leaves and shrimps, through the rice paper wrapper of a spring roll, you’ll find your tickets deep in the water, deep in its memory

It’s easy to imagine Dad locked down because he’s very comfortable with the phone and video. Three (?) weeks after the Covid has started, all the churches were required by the bishops to ring the bells during 10 mn. My father registered the bells of the Lédar church, near the house, and sent us a photo where you can see part of the bell tower and part of the house. Our grand-mother (mother’s side) would have been happy about this decision.

In March 2020, we had planned to fly from the Orly airport to Toulouse and to visit my father. We were locked down[2]On this Covid period, the philosopher Gaspard Koenig said he got the impression to switch from peace to war. at home in Jouy-en-Josas. My wife, Valérie, did not want to waste her holidays and cancelled them. I decided it could be an opportunity to write this essay.

 

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