Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wholy (holy?) satisfaction

Once I was biking in Europe.  It had been fun and easy despite being in my late forties and one of the oldest people in the group.  But one day we got off the train in Trois Rivieres, Belgium.  We had to get our bikes off the train and start up a steep hill, all in the rain.  We hadn't had rain before that day but this was cold, depressing and a bit of a challenge.  I had a rain suit but I didn't want to put it on over my jacket since I thought it would get too hot and sweaty.  Pedaling up that hill with the rain hitting me in the face and eyes, I was hungry and cautious.  The little thin tires looked like they could skid out from under me easily.  We thought we knew where our accommodation was but it still took a few wrong turns and inquiries before we found the large square hostel sitting out by itself in a field.  It was around 1 or 2 in the afternoon and this place practiced the European habit of closing for several hours in the middle of the day.  No one answered the bell or knocks.  We searched around the building but could find no shelter from the increasing downpour except to stand flat against the outside walls of the place.  Normally, we would have sheltered in a coffee shop or tea room but we were too far from anything else and it was no weather to travel even fifty meters.  We just stood flat against the building and waited with no knowledge of how long before someone showed up. 

About something like a half hour, the hostess showed up.  She had noticed the Americans standing against the hostel in the rain and came over early to let us in. 

About an hour later, she had fixed us a dinner of pork chops, carrots, French fries and white wine.  I was hungry enough that the meal, probably the best we had on the whole trip, was heavenly.  It felt incredibly good to be satisfied and warm.  I just sat and relished the feeling in gratitude and appreciation.

Later in the evening, we all got in the baggage van for a ride to a confectionery and a "blancmange".  It was much like an ice cream sundae.  I think everyone else had one but I was still in a holy state of gratitude and couldn't allow that lovely meal to be modified just yet.

There are times when a single line in print or tv can satisfy me and fill my mind in a similar way for a day or more.  The question "Why can't I own Canadians?" in yesterday's post is an example.  Much like a song or tune, it keeps re-playing in my mind.  When a text has many such arresting lines, I may proceed through it very slowly because very savory bites occupy and satisfy me over and over.

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