When I had spoken with my famous cousin Jasper before leaving The States, I had asked him where we should meet after our tour at Fontainebleau . His reply was something like: “Oh don’t worry, you won’t be able to miss me!”
It was raining that day comme vache qui pisse .
I had expected, that because of the rain, that my cousin would be arranging for an alternative means of transportation. Nonetheless, there he was a’putt-putting on up to receive us in front of the chateau on a Russian military motorcycle, fully equipped with sidecar.
We traveled through small beautiful villages, and we whooshed past expansive green farms to arrive at my cousin’s meticulous home in Fontenay-sur-Loing.
Jasper has always had a style of his own, and you would notice this upon first glance by indication of his red handlebar mustache. He has always worn round eyeglasses, and he has ALWAYS been a man who exclusively travels by motorcycle. Jasper is an artist. He has a mastery of multiple languages and is a professor at The University of Paris, he moonlights as a violinist (although he calls it a “fiddle”), and he maintains his house in what would appear as a direct reflection of his identity. Every object is beautiful and meaningful. A knife is not simply a knife. Every detail is there in his home in a specific placement, with a significant meaning.
My husband and I were overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality of my incredible cousin. After the most delicious multiple course feast of salad, duck, kapusta (our grandmother’s recipe), filled pastries for dessert, and tons of wine, Jasper offered us yet another special treat: Slivovitz! It is important to mention that this was by no means any ordinary ol’ Slivovitz…
It was in fact Slivovitz from the town where our grandfather had lived in Rohatec in the Czech Republic.
We drank, laughed, told stories, Jasper played fiddle, and we danced until dawn, just late enough to manage a few hours of sleep before rushing out to catch a train back to spend our last evening in Paris.