sparkling, bubbly, fizzy 

When I finished mopping the apricot tiles of our home, I considered my next mission: to prevent so many little feet from pottering across the clean carrelage. The messy four o'clock goûter would just have to take place outside today! I would not risk cake crumbs or spilled drinks on this clean floor!

I gathered Max, his two neighborhood friends, and Jackie into a football huddle out on the patio.

"Listen closely. I don't want any of you coming in the house, d'accord? I've just cleaned the floor, and I have GUESTS coming soon."

The French boys turned to Max and Jackie for a translation:

"Elle ne veut pas qu'on aille dans la maison car elle vient de nettoyer par terre et elle a des INVITÉS demain."

The kids gave serious nods of comprehension.

"Understand?" I checked.

"Oui," they confirmed.

Satisfied, I brought out individually wrapped chocolate sponge cakes, fruit and water, and placed a stack of plastic gobelets next to the snacks.

"Do you need anything else?" I inquired.



"C'est bon, merci," they replied, politely.

"Okay, now remember, don't go into the house. Keep it clean for my guests!"

I left the kids and the cakes and went inside to tidy up another room. Ten minutes later I noticed a suspicious calm.... Running for the kitchen, I stumbled onto a trail of sucre!

I followed the crunchy path to its source, at which point my eyes shot out of their sockets on witnessing the sticky scene.

"What ARE you doing?" I questioned my children.

Jackie was holding a plastic cup filled to the brim with just-picked mint leaves. Max was standing beside her, pouring sugar from box to cup; some of the sweet crystals landed inside, but the rest of the sugar hit the rim of the cup and shot out across the floor!

"L'eau à la menthe," Max explained, concentrating on his aim.

Astonished, I followed my son and my daughter outside to where the neighbor boys waited patiently, bottles of sparkling water in hand, ready to pour the eau pétillante into the cups of sugar and mint. Another trail, this time of mint leaves, began at the flower bed and ended beneath the boys' feet.

I observed the kids with the virgin mint juleps in their hands. I noticed how careful they were with their gestures as they raised their full glasses to their mouths for refreshment. They looked my way with smiles of gratitude.

And then it hit me. What I had failed to realize, back inside my spotless house, was that my guests had already arrived! My all-important invités had been here all along! Others twice their size might be on their way over; meantime, here were some visitors with a thirst for life! How much more could a hostess ask for?

I quickly made my way back into the house—across the sticky floor… and over to the sticky freezer door—to get my important guests some more ice for their fancy drinks. It is never too late to be a caring and considerate maîtresse de maison.

French Vocabulary
le carrelage = tiled floor
le goûter = afterschool snack
d'accord = okay
Elle ne veut pas qu'on aille dans la maison car elle vient de nettoyer par terre et elle a des INVITÉS demain = She doesn't want us to go in the house because she's washed the floor and has GUESTS tomorrow
le gobelet = cup
c'est bon, merci = it's good, thanks
le sucre = sugar
l'eau (f) à la menthe = water with mint
l'eau (f) pétillante = sparkling water
l'invité(e) = guest
la maîtresse de maison = the "mistress of the house" (hostess)
pétillant(e) = sparkling, bubbly
Did you see any typos or formatting faux pas in this story. Thank you for pointing them out for me, here in the comments box!

French Pronunciation:

Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the word pétillant:
Hear my son Max's sentence: Je me suis servi un verre d'eau pétillante avec de la menthe. (I served myself a glass of sparkling water with mint.): Download petillant4.wav

Quel vin est aussi pétillant, savoureux, enivrant, que l'infini des possibles! What wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating, as possibility!
                                               --Sören Kierkegaard

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety