Wednesday, June 28, 2006
A little port de pêche in Marseilles
My 8-year-old strides up in a leopard skirt, pink sequined sandals, and her swim top—the one with the real coquilles sewn on.
"J'ai fait mon lit," she reports. She has also swept the floor of the séjour and, without my asking, she has watered the begonias, the tomatoes, and the thirsty peach tree. She must want something.
"Je peux avoir une pêche, maman?"
I look out the window to the fruit-laden pêcher—thirteen peaches this year! But shouldn't they be bigger than the fuzzy orange balls hanging from the branches?
"I think we should leave them," I decide. "They're not ripe yet."
"But it is the first day of summer!" my daughter pleads.
It is hard to resist her enthusiasm, all the more so when I think of the amusing scene I witnessed yesterday. Jackie was standing beneath the little tree, her nose pressed to a peach. She wasn't allowed to pick the fruit, but no one said she couldn't inhale it!
"Who ate all the peaches?" I shout.
Max and Jackie point fingers at each other. Jackie swears she's eaten only two. As for Max, he's halfway to the front gate, about to take off down the street.
"You ate NINE peaches?" I scream, chasing after him.
"But most of them were on the ground already!" Max hollers back.
I am lying on the couch, a small peach cradled between my nose and upper lip. I don't dare eat it, but I can inhale it. Earlier, Jackie had tiptoed into the living room with the fuzzy peace offering. The little peach is soft and warm, and the chaleur sends a strong fruity infusion into chaque narine, calming me and sending images of would-have-been delights: peaches 'n cream... peach pie...warm peach soup... peach cobbler....
The aromatic smorgasbord fills me up, until my evil plan (involving next year's peach harvest and the aiming of a fresh-baked pie toward two little thieves' faces) disappears—as fast as the fruit had vanished, there on our little peach tree.
Je peux avoir une pêche, Maman?
May I have a peach, Mom?
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Hi Jackie. Love this story. It's a keeper.
I think there's something wrong with the tenses in a couple of the sentences. They aren't so clear.
"Earlier, Jackie tiptoed into the living room with the fuzzy peace offering."
"Jackie had tiptoed" perhaps?
"as fast as the fruit on our little peach tree."
I don't think this fragment can be in the exact same tense, because one part hasn't yet happened and this bit has.
"toward*s* *the* two little thieves" instead of "toward two little thieves" may be better.
comma after "fills me up"
Posted by: Divya | Monday, May 14, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Hello Divya, thanks for these edits and for your vote to keep this story. I thought about changing the end (did I really want to imagine a retalitory pie in the face?! or leave off with the peach--the very last one!--cradled there, like a victory peach!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Monday, May 14, 2012 at 03:11 PM
"nose glued to a peach" or nose pressed to a peach?
French Vocabulary:(3)"J'ai fait mon lit," pêcher, set chaque in ital.
"he shouts back, halfway down the street" or he hollers back? I'd delete the rest of this sentence because it repeats "down the street."
"The little peach is soft and warm and the chaleur sends a strong fruity infusion into chaque narine, calming me and sending images of would-have-been delights" or The softness of the little peach calms me; its warmth brings a rich fruity fragrance to chaque narine, suggesting images of would-have-been delights
The last sentence confuses me a bit. And, I think that your plan for next year is not evil, it's a tease.
Thanks, as always, for filling my day and heart with loving thoughts of you, your family and France. -julie-
Posted by: julie camp | Monday, May 14, 2012 at 03:52 PM
The image of Jackie inhaling the peach is beautifully aromatic, as is so much of this story. I particularly liked the sound of a fuzzy peach/ peace offering. Keep the retaliatory pie ending; we know you don't really mean it.
Incidentally, the American Heritage Dictionary of English Usage says that “toward” is used more often in American English, while “towards” is used more often in British English. Both are correct, only dialectally different, but "toward" sounds more like you.
This story really smells good!
Posted by: Sushil Dawka | Monday, May 14, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Sweet and charming story; I vote to keep it, too!
Edits (very minor, as usual):
1) Should "port de pêche" be included in the vocabulary?
2) Add "J'ai fait mon lit," to the vocabulary.
3) In scene II, "half way" should be halfway," if it isn't -- it's a little hard to tell from the font (for me, at least!).
4) In scene III, "chaque" in "chaque narine" should be in italics, too.
5) "peaches-n-cream" or "peaches 'n cream?" I've seen it more often in the second form, but can't find it in a style guide. As always, your choice!
Apologies again for any edits already noted.
Thanks -- your stories always make a pleasant start to my day!
Posted by: Peggy | Monday, May 14, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I'd use "peaches 'n' cream."
The word "ground" doesn't look good elongated. Use all caps or underlining to emphasize Max's stress?
I'd take out the word "there" and its preceding comma in the last sentence.
Posted by: Amanda Frost | Monday, May 14, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Thank you all for these helpful edits and suggestions!
Julie, I like *pressed* much better than *glued*. Thanks, too, for the other edits and for the sentence re-write. Ill have another look and consider it!
Sushil, so good to read your feedback. I will keep the story! And good to know the toward/towards explanation.
Peggy, thanks for your vote and for these edits and additions.
Amanda, many thanks. Ill think about taking out the *there*, but I did want to slow down the last part of that sentence (to refocus for an instant on the little peach tree) and this seemed the way to do it.
I really appreciate these notes and corrections. Merci encore!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Monday, May 14, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Hi dear Kristin,
I loved this!
Not only could I inhale the sweet scent of those peaches, but I wanted to give a big hug to Jackie and Max for such adorable antics!
You captured the moments perfectly!
It is excellent as is!
Love, Natalia XO
Posted by: Natalia | Monday, May 14, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Peaches are ripe to eat at the start of summer in the south of France? Wow, that is an early treat.
From a less Mediterranean clime, I was sure the story would end with sick stomachs from unripe fruit.
Tiny spelling change --
Max hollers back
(not Max hollars back).
Posted by: Sarah LaBelle near Chicago | Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I add my vote to keep this story and to change glued to pressed. Also, I think the last sentence of Scene I would read easier if the sentence was: Although she wasn't allowed to pick the fruit, she could certainly inhale it.
Posted by: Susan Carter, Westminster, CA | Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 02:10 AM
I like the story - and can smell the peaches! I did have a bit a challenge with the very last paragraph. I like the idea, I just had to read it a couple of times to get the tongue in cheek. Not sure how I'd change it, and it might have just been me - like the idea of 'pie throwing' - just maybe needed it a bit 'sweeter' - ha ha! Definitely, keep the story!
Posted by: Judi Boeye Miller, Lake Balboa, CA | Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Sarah, Thanks for the spelling correction.
Susan and Judi -- I appreciate your suggestions and will have a look and consider them. Much appreciated!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Monday, May 21, 2012 at 07:59 PM