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Little Spouse On The Prairie: Simply Unflippable

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After fending off Eiffel Tower keychains offered by seven different vendors, exploring the area around the Paris landmark, and soaking our tired feet in the fountains, we decided it was high time we tried some crepes.

After fending off Eiffel Tower keychains offered by seven different vendors, exploring the area around the Paris landmark, and soaking our tired feet in the fountains, we decided it was high time we tried some crepes. The cute chalkboard marquee near the closest food stand advertised 27 flavors. Clementine was drawn to lemon crème, my friend wanted fromage, and Joel, being the resident carnivore, liked the looks of the ham and cheese.

I waited to verbalize my choice, since I didn’t want to influence anyone’s selection. I’ve ordered food in the presence of my six-year-old daughter often enough to know that no matter what she thinks she wants, what she actually wants is whatever I get. For the longest time, I tried to order stuff I was sure she wouldn’t like, but it backfired because now okra, deviled eggs, and tuna melts are some of her favorites. As for my own crepe choice, I had stopped deliberating just as soon as I spotted the cream cheese-white chocolate flavor.

We ordered and watched, fascinated, as the cook smeared batter all over a huge griddle. The first thin pancake was nearly transparent, and the size of a manhole cover! I smirked, thinking that obviously, this crepe was too large. It was simply unflippable. Clearly, it would end up in several crumpled pieces, just like my much smaller pancakes back home always do.

Imagine my surprise when the cook gently rotated the pan with a deft turn of his wrist. Defying gravity, the crepe quivered a moment and then rotated, airborne. Then, much like a flat sheet being gracefully tossed onto a bed, it fluttered back to the griddle, a perfect golden circle. Well, I guess that guy lucked out that one time.

It all happened so fast after that. Thick lemon cream was fluffed on and spread with a thin frosting knife. Then the finished product was folded and placed in pretty, ruffled paper. A moment later we settled onto a nearby bench to enjoy our snacks. As it turned out, the cook was able to flip each and every one of our crepes without so much as a wrinkle on an edge. The lemon crème was fine, but, boy, did I covet the cream cheese-white chocolate I had ordered.

Those of us secure enough in our own ability to enjoy touring without having to ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower in a silly elevator still had some time to burn before the daredevils returned from their exercise in bravado. We decided a Seine River cruise was about our speed, so we lined up beside the pier.

This was a not so amusing portion of our day, because although we saw wonderful things, we also saw the poor Cathedral of Notre Dame, which had recently suffered a devastating fire. Every tourist on the boat fell silent as we passed what might be described as a giant, gray skeleton. Though I had read that the people of France have vowed to rebuild, at that point, it seemed to me that only a miracle could ever put flesh on the bleak bones.

After a couple more days in and near Paris, we crawled back in our little rented SUV and headed out. Bound for Switzerland with stops at villages in the Burgundy region of France along the way, we were more in our rural element now. We screamed excitedly at the fields of wheat and barley, the cows and sheep grazing, and even tractors putt-putting along holding up traffic. I guess we must have been homesick by now. At one point, Clementine poked her head out from her little hidey-hole in the back and said, groggily, “Are we almost home?”

We stopped in Dijon and bought mustard that was made with seeds grown in Canada. We paid twice as much for French makeup brands than we could have paid at our local drugstores. We chose what we thought was a Monet rain poncho, but which ended up being a reusable shopping bag. This became obvious when I excitedly pulled it out of my purse in the middle of a downpour. A bag over my head wasn’t quite as effective as a rain poncho would have been, but hey, it was something. We ate countless macarons. And then, we squeezed into the little vehicle, which seemed to be getting smaller and smaller as the trip continued. Au Revoir!