(A French Day with Teresa)
Scott and I had been living in the Keys for about a year when I received a phone call from Cousin Teresa saying she was coming to Miami and wanted to get together. Teresa had been living overseas for several years, Germany and France. I know she ended up living in Japan as well, but I’m not sure of the time line. I’m pretty sure she was living in France at the time she visited us.
She was traveling with friends of hers; a French couple who had asked (hired?) her to travel with them and act as interpreter since they spoke no English. Teresa was a language major. A funny side story… when Teresa was very small, she had a serious speech impediment. Her older brother, Tony, was the only one who could understand her and he would act as her interpreter. I was always proud of her for not only overcoming her “handicap” but totally making it her bitch! It’s a little bit ironic as well.
When she arrived in Miami, Teresa called me and we decided on a day to get together. We lived 2+ hours from Miami, but they wanted to come down and see the Keys. They came to our house and then we went to lunch at Hawk’s Cay, a resort nearby, on the ocean, with dolphins. As mentioned, the couple she was traveling with spoke no English. When introductions were made, we picked up the man’s name as Remi, but for the life of us, neither of us ever understood the woman’s name. So, they have become forever dubbed Remi and Remi’s Wife in our memories.
We had a very nice lunch. I hadn’t seen Teresa in many years at that time, so we enjoyed catching up and talking about the family and her adventures in Europe. Scott entertained Remi and Remi’s Wife with his pigeon French. I remember them getting a kick out of him saying “Mon crayon est orange.” I don’t think they quite knew what to think of Scott.
Of course, as it turns out, they didn’t quite know what to think of either of us. Scott and I both asked for “to go” boxes for our left over lunches. As the server brought the containers and we started scooping food into them, we noticed Teresa in animated conversation, in French, with the couple. They were obviously asking her questions and she was explaining something to them, but they remained confused. Finally she said something and they both busted out laughing. I mean they laughed hard!
Sheepishly, Teresa turned to us and explained what had transpired. They had asked her the purpose of the cardboard containers we were given by our server. Apparently, in Europe, they don’t do doggie bags. In her attempt to explain it to them, Teresa used the term “doggie bag.” At that point, they had seemed to understand…they had met our 4 cats when they stopped by our house, and assumed it was more of a “kitty bag” and that the food was for our cats. When Teresa further explained that, no, we were actually going to eat the leftover food at a later time, they found that to be hysterical. They kind of looked at us differently the rest of the day.
We finished lunch and they stopped back by our place for goodbyes, and then headed back to Miami. I remember how much I enjoyed spending that day with Teresa. We had spent so much time together as children, but hadn’t hung out much as adults. My clearest memories of her were, and still are, playing Batman with her, Tony and Mark. Batman and Robin were obviously taken, so I played Bat Girl and she was Bat Baby! We had a lot of good times. But, it was really nice to spend that day in the Keys with her, and so pleasantly unexpected. I remember how pretty she looked. She smiled that big smile of hers a lot and seemed genuinely happy. It’s a great memory.
(We lost my cousin Teresa last week, the day before Thanksgiving. RIP pretty girl. Bon Voyage.)