Ever since my wife died a couple years ago, my life has taken a turn in a completely new direction. My son moved away with his girlfriend, got married and had a couple of kids. The house full of stuff was no longer necessary, so I sold all of it. Any work I was doing was now done online, from anywhere in the world. So, I moved to the South of France and opened a small brew-pub. I call it Un Voyou.
Every morning I get up early. The first thing I brew is some coffee. Then I tend to my other brewing: beer. Every day there’s something to do: brewing, fermenting, packaging, and ordering ingredients. Sometimes I imagine this is how the Belgian Monks lived. Not bad at all. Then, I walk to one of the cafes nearby to get lunch or just relax with some fresh fruit, a cheese sandwich, and some wine.
Afternoons on clear days I open the front door so I can hear the waves and take a deep breath of the sea air as a gentle breeze washes away the mustiness of yesterday. I can see the sea from the end of the bar where I sit to welcome guests. Some are regulars, some are traveling from all over the world.
The best part of my day, other than the beer, is when I talk with my guests and get to know them. If we enjoy each other’s company in that moment I ask if I
can take a picture. I label the picture with their first names and the date, print it out and add it to my Rogues Gallery along the long wall that runs from
the front to the back. You have to look closely to find anyone who might be famous. Most are just regular people like me and you. They’re all living their adventures from moment to moment with no grand plans other than to simply enjoy life from day to day.
I make a few notes on the backs of the pictures. Maybe one day I’ll write a book.
Every evening one of the local restaurants supplies a tray of food that I share with my guests. I’m sure you’re wondering if those French chefs and their
soufflés and sauces are really the best in the world. Now I know. The answer is a resounding, yes! When we’re done eating I take out my guitar and play some gentle tunes. Sometimes a friend or two will stop in to play along. Eventually, everyone joins in by singing along to some popular songs.
On my day off I will spend time with my friends at their restaurants or on the water in one of their boats. We’ll make plans for the holidays and the summer.
Maybe I’ll start writing that book.
I end the day, not too late, with a cappuccino and a small sweet French pastry. I will be up early the next day to do this all again. I wish you could see me now.
Peter Terzian (whose wife is alive and well) wrote this as part of an OLLI Imaginative writing course taught by Marilyn Myerson. It is part of “The Quest – an essay of imaginary travels.” With luck you may see more in future issues. A school media and technology teacher since 1980, Peter started brewing about four years ago as a hobby. Now retired, he also enjoys volunteering for arts, media, and technology projects. He fills several online volunteer roles for OLLI-USF.