“How in the world do you know how to say that in French?” I asked my hostess, in French. The reason for that was simple — we were in France and she was French. In fact, she was my closest friend at that time and in that place. As I look back, she was one of the best friends I have ever had, in a basically friendless world where I have received few favors. She told me — as we stood in front of a cranberry display on the Market of the Rue Mouffetard, in Paris — that she had learned the word when she had been on the team that discovered that DNA (and not protein) was the hereditary material. Afterward she had a year of sabbatical in Cleveland, Ohio at the Case Western University, and they grew cranberries somewhere around there. Her friends had known that this strange little fruit did not exist in France, so they showed it to her, and somehow they had tested and exchanged vocabulary, just as I had with her.
Although I had been born in suburban Boston, I had not seen cranberries growing in a bog until a high school road trip. My class had traveled to see Plymouth Rock, and the reproduction of the Mayflower (so tiny — they must have been really cramped) and other such things I had been told existed no other place on God’s green Earth except for Cape Cod. I was glad I had my French friend to help me break such myths of chauvinistic rubbish. How strong the myth had felt, how deeply I had believed it, and for so long. Read more on Canneberges?…
Remember the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that nobody found? The only way you can be happy about what our beautiful government is doing is if you still think they are there.
Pardon me, it is the season when “The Wizard of Oz” is on TV and I just got into the weird mood of a surreal world.
Although former Pres. Bush and former CIA head George Tennant and Colin Powell and all the rest of that crew have come forward and admitted there were no WMD, I understand from some of my friends who get their entire world-view from Fox News that many of the pundits still claim it was there, is there and other such fantasies.
One of the big scares of the run-up to the Iraq war was the biological hazard attacks. Remember when anthrax was sent to some senators and some other people (it was traced to a domestic source, not a foreign one) and there were rumors-rumors-rumors of other disease-cultures being launched against our citizenry?