Le Havre illness lingers until mid-afternoon. Garrett and Nani head off for the countryside while the remaining two limp to the coast. Historic re-enactments are interrupted by the news from the earlier birds...'you wont believe this, get here immediately'.
Motor out or Normandie towards Le Mans. 5 hours later arrive Courgenard, France.
A winding, dusty, country road off the horror of French toll laden highways leads us to the center of a sleepy, almost medieval neighborhood. Gate opens, familiar faces direct us to park. The other 2 have been exploring these surroundings for the majority of today. They are still in awe of its grandeur. Chateau Pinon, is a stone throwback to life long before global wars, telephones, America, and more or less everything we are familiar with. It is a standing piece of history still fully functional and still in tact primarily due to the skilled hand of its inhabitants. A 500 year old farmhouse/palace, whose personality is nearly eclipsed by its neighbors.
The cast at this gathering, too rich of personality to properly describe, is in a word: electric.* Old friends, new friends, international stars, and a town dignitary share food, drink, music, stories, and laughter as the sun sets over a barely dusk bonfire. Local performers shower us with beautiful songs, the subject matter, we can only imagine. Night falls fully and the footlights blaze upon the stone farmhouse an eerie, yellowing light. To say this experience has been overwhelming is by far too limiting. The feeling of love and comraderie that descends upon us is like none we've experienced. The local culture, completely unreserved, is in full display...it is the opportunity of a lifetime for those who care to embrace it. Jean, his wife, and grandson, neighbors of the Pinons and characters larger than life carry us through to the early morning hours in song. The fire is winding down, some have climbed the stone steps and retired through the ghostly halls. We could stay here forever and I have a definite feeling there was a plan within our camp to see that reality through. Jean has had enough, only because his audience is fading...and we are. Sunlight begins and this party sets off to sleep.
*There is far too much to consider in a single blog. This recount is simply highlights. To all who attended you know who you are. Thank you from all of us for making this such a special occassion. We will never forget it.