First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sunrise 6:16: Serious about chickens (and holidays, too)



The female Dawn Jogger rose well after dawn and took a terrific 7-mile loop jog in the countryside around the watermill house. Thanks to the great patchwork of tiny roads, it's easy to got a good work out it and pass very few cars. One of main activities in the Bresse countryside in early May appears to be getting the kitchen garden underway, and she went by a number of farms/country homes where the occupants where busy tilling the soil. In the hamlet of les Dezarets, the female DJ came upon the largest Bresse chicken farm that she's seen. There were three fields of the special poultry (although one was shared with cattle). And each was marked with a firm sign warning to "stay clear." Yes, Bresse chicken is a big deal. Or at least a clever marketing scheme...

Afternoon update: The female Dawn Jogger knew Pentacost in France meant a three-day weekend (not for its religious significance - as their friend David pointed out, "No one knows what it means other than they get Monday off.") But she hadn't factored in another holiday - even when the butcher who fancies himself a chef told them to come in the morning for their order and even when there was a gathering around the war memorial in the village square. It wasn't until the afternoon and the DJs noticed that everything everywhere was closed that it occurred to them that this was probably some war related holiday. Indeed it's the 64th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. There is a war memorial - usually honoring those who died in both WWI and WWII - in any place in France big enough to have a village square. On her jog this morning, she'd passed one monument to two local villagers who had been assassinated by the Gestapo. It made her wonder if there were any actual veterans alive (particularly given the great toll WWII had taken on young men in Europe.) But there were about eight gray-haired men standing at one side of the ceremony in Montpont en Bresse this morning, gathered there with local villagers and a band. She admits tears came to her eyes when the band played La Marseillaise...

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