Everyone needs affection. Read on, in today's story column. (photo: taken at Le Salinas (recommended!) restaurant, located along La Plage des Estagnets along the presqu'île (peninsula) of Giens, near Hyères (Var).
dorloter (dor-lo-tay) verb
: to pamper
synonyms: bichonner (to cosset), pouponner (to coddle), gâter (to spoil)
Audio File & Verb Conjugation:
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je dorlote, tu dorlotes, il dorlote, nous dorlotons, vous dorlotez, ils dorlotent (p.p. = dorloté)
A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse
The babe on the beach two towels down from mine has got it made. Made in the French shade.
"On met le chapeau?" Shall we put on our hat? her mother coos.
"Un peu de crème?"* And a bit of sun cream, her grandmother fusses.
I turn to witness the scene: a doting duo dorlotent their darling de dix-huit mois.* In French that's called "le dorlotement".*
"Non!" The little girl protests.
"Reste assise,"* the mom corrects.
"Quelle chipie!"* grand-mère interjects.
Oh to be pampered, and in French! It is the best of both worlds: language and love.
"Tiens, bois un peu, Chérie,"* I watch as Maman reaches into her wicker panier,* produces a bottle of jus.*
"Ahhh, ça fait du bien,"* mamie* sighs. "Après on va mettre les pieds dans l'eau. Allez, on y go!"*
Quelle chance* to be reared in France, fed on its language, fussed over en français... or fussed over, pont barre.* My own skin is burned and I am thirsty. I want to go into the water and feel refreshed--by so much doting, loving tenderness. Words, even in French, cannot convey our ongoing need for affection: for a gentle humanitarian hum, a caring caress. If we need this at the age of forty, how much more will we need this at eighty? And how much less will be available to us... and who will be there to administer it? "It", or "loving tenderness," le dorlotement if you like. And we all like, want, need.
I watch mother and daughter -- unmistakably related in their fair & freckled skin, curls from heaven and lithe figure oh-so-trim. Between them, a giggly, jiggly Gaul is handled like a precious china doll.
I roll over onto my back, not without a creak--Aïe!*--and a grincement*. I'm no china doll, but break I could. I set my straw hat over my face, protectively, and stare up through a scented wicker dome. Through the loose weave of my own chapeau, the sky is now several hundred blue dots: it may be an impressionist painting, if I wish it so -- or a thousand doting eyes looking down on me, caringly. And the sounds of the waves clapping over the sand, the sea breeze caressing this skin, that's Mother Nature, there after all--humming, fussing, pampering--all the while holding our hands.
* * *
Thank you, Julie Turner, for responding to today's story with another. Julie writes, "It’s the touching story of a 104-year-old woman (Clarice "Classie" Morant) who was a primary care-giver for her 92-year-old sister who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease." See this narrated story & photo gallery, from the Washington Post. Update: another must-read story, about Classie Morant. Please don't miss it!
Comments, corrections--and stories of your own--are welcome and appreciated. Thank you sharing in the comments box.
dix-huit mois = eighteen months; le dorlotement (m) = pampering; reste assise = don't move ("stay seated!"); quelle chipie! = what a little devil!; Tiens, bois un peu, Chérie = Here, have a bit to drink, Sweetie; le panier (m) = basket; le jus (m) = juice; ah, ça fait du bien = oh, that feels good; la mamie = granny, grandma; Après on va mettre les pieds dans l'eau. Allez, on y go! (Franglais) = After, we'll put our feet in the water. Come on, let's go!; quelle chance! (f) = what luck!; point barre = period; aïe! = ouch!; le grincement (m) = squeeking, creaking
"Ulysse" the Great Dane
Don't miss some photos from our family album (including "The Kiss!"...) -- and over a dozen images from Giens -- in this Saturday's Cinéma Vérité.
Three Random Words:
la panosse (f) = floorcloth => passer la panosse = to mop the floor
le monticule (m) = hillock, mound; heap
la papille (f) = papilla => les papilles gustatives = taste buds
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