bastille day colors

France Day 10 

August 10, 2022

July 14th Bastille Day

   The heat wave had taken full hold in France by now, plus we’d seen and done most that there was to see and do in Tours. So my suggestion that we just hang out in the apartment until the National Day activities would get underway at 6:00 p.m. that evening was met with surprising approval. Carol’s discomfort with heat was paying huge dividends.

Sorry, I can only see Laurel and Hardy

   Soldiers dressed for a Laurel and Hardy movie (The Flying Deuces) were enjoying sundaes in the cafés at Jean Suares, where they would soon assemble for the pomp and circumstance kicking off National Day. My only interest was to hear Marseillaise soaring over the square. All the rest of the military formations, speechifying and presentations of arms was just something that had to be suffered through before the heart stirring anthem. Which only lasted for one verse, and then it was done.(Sigh)

   On to the guinguettes!

A partying crowd, not looking over their soldier

   The partying was in full swing by the time we arrived at the river. We were lucky enough to find a table amidst the crowd, and enjoyed a nice bottle of rosé, which lubricated the people watching quite nicely. A rap group energized the millenials.There was an extra charge among those French who were regaling the overthrow of the idea of Divine Right kings. (I counted two. Actually. I didn’t count any, but I imagined tens of thousands.)

   The French Revolution occurred about eight years after ours had succeeded. Theirs descended into a Reign of Terror that lopped off the heads of anyone who looked at the Revolution crooked. Ours ascended to White Supremacy that enslaved millions all the way up to 1965 (and then started up again in 2015) so why all the celebratory fireworks you ask? I don’t have an answer. But their anthem is the more uplifting one, at least as it comes out of the brass section.

   The big truth to come out of both revolutions is that revolutions not only don’t change much, but generally make things worse. (Insert the Russian revolution here.)

There was an extra charge among those French who were regaling the overthrow of the idea of Divine Right kings. (I counted two. Actually. I didn’t count any, but I imagined tens of thousands.)

Empty streets, not a problem

   I don’t know what to think. France is under siege from the Right, but you’d never know it from the party going on here tonight. Share that with the residents of Highland Park, IL. and see how they feel about celebrating safely anymore.

   Nobody has an answer to a way out of the apparent global descent toward authoritarianism. But it does seem that the countries with less insane gun laws than ours are probably in a better position to defend democracy than we are.

   At least all of us in this guinguette tonight were not thinking of a gunman opening up on us.

   Carol and I walked a deserted city street back to our apartment, and never once thought about what could happen. We don’t walk anywhere back home anymore thinking that way.

bastille day colors
Closing out France’s National Day

   Instead, we sat out on our balcony that night watching the Bastille Day fireworks in the distance, and wondering if “active shooter” drills in our grandkids’ schools will help us sleep better tonight.

   No we didn’t. We didn’t think that at all. We went to bed thinking we and our families were still all right in the world as we knew it to be for us and them.

   In the final analysis, isn’t that all we really can and should be concerned about?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.