Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Majorette Fete

The Leran Fete Locale is over. When we vocalized disbelief that some friends would dare head head for the Mediterranean coast on a Fete weekend, they replied "It is an event to be missed." But how could they leave without being part of the candlelight parade or cheering on the majorettes? Pretty easily, I now surmise.

The American-sized 18 wheeler trucks rolled into town, squeezing into unimaginable spaces between the pollarded plane trees and began setting up their go-karts, bumper cars and carousels---an engineering masterpiece. The amount of heavy equipment for two nights was amazing. These folks will tear down and be back on the road like this for the rest of the summer.

The weather barely cooperated the entire weekend. The opening candlelight parade on Friday was rained out. The vendor booths trying to pedal "SANDWICHS" (their spelling) and stuffed animals were empty. Go-karts and bumper cars sat idle. Only a few of the spike-haired Leran youth dutifully listened to the boom-boom sounds of J.M.Music.

Doug and I were ticket holders #11 and #12 for the "Repas Anime" for Moroccan food on Saturday, and the only thing holding us back was figuring out where it was being held. The flyer didn't say, but there's not that many places to hide a community dinner in Leran. As we stood outside the door wondering whether to be the first ones inside or not, we read the presidential election results posted on the door. Segolene Royal (the leftist female) won hands down in this district against Nicolas Sarkozy (ultimately the right-wing winner).

For Moroccan food, the chicken and rice was absent of spices; but it was definitely a lively crowd, a mixture of about 60 English and French speakers. Rose wine flowed most freely and an accordion duo may have been performing some local favorites. The folks who organized and served were the true heroes of the event, and the couple in the photo (Jean-Paul in the yellow shirt with sac noir) were ever vigilant throughout the evening.

We returned from the hospital on Sunday morning just in time to join the march through the streets following Les Majorettes de la Bastide Sur L'Hers. Doug kept commenting on how "un-French" the idea of majorettes seemed. Isn't that American, he kept asking? But the band, Los Mountagnols de Tarascon, did play the French national anthem. And there were an abundance of men in berets. We heard that one year it rained so hard the majorettes had to perform in the community hall, and when they tossed their batons they kept hitting the ceiling.

Kids will be kids, and Sunday morning the gendarmes had been called out. On Saturday night some of the festive lights in the Place du Monument aux Morts were torn down and plants pulled out of window boxes. I found myself thinking about the usual Police roster in Moab. It usually involves monster trucks, guns, meth. This seems pretty tame in comparison.

I am also reminded that when I awake during the night in Leran, it is never sirens that I hear. It is the church bells chiming the hour and half-hour. How civilized.


Anonymous said...

Luke agrees with Doug...majorettes seem quintessentially American...the pictures and descriptions reminded me of all the holiday parades in all the small towns in America...where everyone knows everyone and the kids parade and the parents wave as they walk's "corny"...but somehow reassuring at the same time.

At least the fete gave you an opportunity to "see and be seen" and probably practice your French a little!

Doug, I hope your pouce is healing so you can continue ripping the hell out of those floors/celings!

Au revoir for now!

leslie said...

Vashon Island has Strawberry Festival every summer, half the town is in the parade and the other half is watching. The old stick in the muds leave town. The carinval comes but they don't have les auto scooters, which my kids loved in St Remy. The majorettes are a nice touch, the word looks french. (Doug I saw a bumper sticker today--01.20.09 Bush's Last Day.) Leran's Fete looks cute and I am glad you went, I am sure that the locals appreciate your participation.

sarah alexander said...

I LOVE the majorettes! How funny is that??