Holiday lights are ablaze in St. Rémy de Provence. These spirit-boosting salutes to the festive season are most welcome, especially during this very different December in Provence.
Celebrating traditions is a special challenge now in the time of covid. Most public events have been cancelled, including one of our favorites, the convivial Fête de Lumière, which typically takes place the first Saturday in December. Shopkeepers stay open late and offer a tempting array of beverages from vin chaud to bubbly. There are also yummy treats like tangy olive tapenade on tiny toast rounds and mini quiches Lorraine. It’s a popular community affair, so throngs fill the town center, despite the weather. Usually, our only concerns are how to best beat the crowds and how many layers to put on to withstand the chilly temps.
But this year, with the lethal coronavirus in our midst, the Saint-Rémois will not mingle as usual, shoulder to shoulder, in the historic center but stay safely home. This is not to say we’re skipping the season. Mais non! Creating our own holiday cheer chez nous is de rigueur with a pint-sized tree, twinkly lights, and homemade vin chaud.
While we think festive thoughts, we also reflect on this difficult year, saluting those who successfully fought the virus and paying tribute to those who were less fortunate, like our charismatic neighbor. We miss him every day and will always treasure his friendship.
Speaking of treasures, there’s my dear mom who saved quotes like this one, (possibly attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt), which seems particularly relevant right now: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”
And you, dear readers, are gifts to me. I thank you with all my heart for your support this year. Every message, whether about the blog or Passion for Provence, means so much. Mille fois merci!
Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy and hopeful holiday season and New Year 2021.
Grosses bises, Gayle
PS The Birdwatcher’s Wife is with the editor right now. There are more revisions on the horizon, but progress is in the works–pas à pas–step by step!