Letter from a vagabond 16 October 2018 Conversations happen…


As it happens when traveling, conversations happen.

One of my favorite memories of my first trip to Europe, lo these many years ago, was eating by myself in a restaurant – London, I think, when the people next to me, also young though older than my college self, struck up a conversation with me.  They were from somewhere in America; I have never seen them again and I can still hear her laugh.

Other trips have brought other, similar memories.

My first night in Bayeux the young man who organized dinner seating in the restaurant at my hotel, cleverly sat me at a table adjacent to another man dining alone.  We started a conversation; his name is Eric, from Detroit, a lawyer in Grosse Pointe, actually, also traveling alone on a food odyssey before going to Wiesbaden to visit his cousins there.  His mother had been a German war bride, who, from what Eric says, is still annoyed at the Allies for their bombing.  His reminder that the Germans started the war has limited effect on her views, it seems.

In the bar the last night, I fearlessly struck up a conversation with some Brits, who were working their way back to England from a party in Burgundy.  Eric came in, joined us, and then Eric and I wandered off to one of the few restaurants open on a Monday.  He ate lightly as he had recreated a lunch that a writer had written about when he arrived as the town was liberated from the Germans.  A huge crab, frites, salad vert.  It sounded marvelous.

The Chicken Fricassee tickled my palate and was worth it, accompanied by a little muscadet and made a delightful dinner for me.  As I left the restaurant, I stopped and wished well to a couple from Philadelphia who had been on the Omaha Beach tour with me earlier.

Another set of Brits had arrived at the hotel bar when we returned and long conversations began and then I surrendered to my need to sleep, excused myself and went to bed.

As it happens, Eric will be in Wiesbaden when I am there; we have exchanged emails and he has offered to show me the town where he has spent goodly chunks of his life.


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