A month slips by and the caller ID on my phone registers the caller. Louise is calling.
Louise is my friend, wife to the bass player for Sonny Landreth's band. I mention this as it will come into play later in this post.
Louise has her own musical history. "The Girls" band was comprised of her, her twin and another sister. Thirty years have passed but there are still people that remember them. I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Louise then but music has played a large part in her life.
Louise was calling to arrange a lunch date. We chose an Indian restaurant, mainly because neither of our husbands would care to eat there so we take this opportunity to indulge and Friday (today) was selected.
We agreed to meet at Masala's (http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/190/1018631/restaurant/Masala-Indian-Kitchen-Lafayette )at 1100 hrs. Both of us are prompt on appointments. Within a few minutes of my arrival to the empty parking lot, Louise rolled in. We were early and the restaurant was not to open for another 15 minutes. In the shelter of some shade, we chatted for a while. She had bought me a pair of earrings from her recent trip to Guatemala. I removed the ones I was wearing, slipping the wires to the new ones through my ears. Perfect!
1100 hrs. and the doors unlocked. We were early which is done to beat the lunch rush.
I can't begin to name the foods we enjoyed. Chutney was one of the things I can name. A deep green sauce that we used to dip the Naan into, pungent and tasty. We munched and chatted.
The manager was our waiter. We have been here before. The staff is well trained on explaining the menu and are happy to help with your selections. We ordered the Friday special.
About half way through our meal, I summoned our waiter. When he arrived, I requested more of the Chutney and the other sauce we were enjoying. Soon he returned with squeeze bottles of both sauces. Jokingly I asked "Do you have lids for these bottles so I can put them my purse?"
He laughed and said "My mother would do something like that."
I laughed and said "So would my mom. She was a little Italian lady that would have tagged those sauces."
His reply "My mom was a Parisian."
At this, Louise make an inquiry.
"What is your name?"
When he replied, she said "I took care of your mother!"
He came back and sat down beside her and wrapped his arms around her for a long hug. Misty eyed, he thanked her for all the care she had given his mom before she passed. I sat quietly and listened to him recount her final days. As nurses on an oncology unit, we are accustomed to encountering family members outside the hospital setting who have lost love ones. Usually they become emotional and express their gratitude for the care given. This was one of those times.
Occasionally he would apologize for taking up our time. Louise and I assured him that it was fine and let him talk. Soon he was telling us stories of his parents, grandparents and great grandparents. How they (Giselle's parents) had escaped Paris during the war to move to Louisiana to be with their daughter Giselle.
She was a war bride, her husband was from Lafayette. They met and married in Paris. Giselle's mother couldn't bear to have her daughter so far away so they both left Paris and moved to Louisiana to be with her and her new husband.
The father (Giselle's grandfather) was left behind in Paris, telling his daughter and granddaughter, he would be fine. The Nazi's don't want old men. Paris was being occupied.
He was wrong. Grandfather was very kind to children. He enjoyed being around them and loved telling stories to the little children of Paris. It must have been very difficult what was to happen next.
He, along with 400 children rode a train to Auschwitz where they were immediately herded into the gas chambers and then to the ovens.
Giselle was a beautiful young French girl that attracted many friends here. She opened a cabaret and ran a very successful business. Soon the gay population begin to frequent her business. They felt safe and accepted. This was in the 70's and 80's when there was little acceptance and much violence visted on the gay population. Apparently Paris was much more accepting and Giselle was Parisian.
I listened totally enthralled. Occasionally he would look my way and apologize. Louise laughed and said "Oh, I'm sure she is having a great time. She loves history and she reads a lot!"
He scribbled on the paper table cloth the book written about his mother. As the conversation continues, he and Louise realize they have much in common. He remembers her from her band days. He grew up with Dave and Sonny and crosses path with Sonny occasionally. I sat back and watched them make connections with people they had in common, most of them in various local bands.
He scribbled again the name of his album and the band he was in now.
I ripped up the paper table cloth after each entry and returned home with scraps of reference material.
As we were leaving, he asked us to return to continue our conversation. In about a month, Louise will call again to schedule another lunch date. We will meet at Marsala's and this time we will include the waiter in our plans.
Louise and I laughed as we crossed the parking lot to our vehicles. We enjoyed our selves and the waiter and are looking forward to our next lunch date!