Monday, October 15, 2012

Farewell Roger and RIP

We arrived back in Sablet a few weeks ago followed by Liz, Yvette and Jennifer, three of Shirley's nurse friends from 2 East unit at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where Shirley works when we are in California. In case you are interested, 2 East is a neurology unit.

We have gotten to know and become friends with quite a few Sabletains (men who live in Sablet) and Sabletaines (women who live in Sablet) in the village, especially the last two years.

This includes Roger who lives with his Maman and Papa near the bakery. He is a jolly guy who does handyman work for people around the area. We run into him frequently as we walk around the village; whenever he sees me he greets me with a loud "bonjour Michel".

Roger's Maman is a very sweet woman with a head of white hair who always flashes a big smile and without fail, asks about "votre dame", your lady, if Shirley is not with me.

When it is time for us to leave Sablet, we usually have a full refrigerator; some leftover cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, butter, olives, crème fraîche and other things we didn't use. It is really hard not to buy too much at the weekly markets. Wait till you see the pictures of the mushrooms at the Vaison-la-Romaine market this past Tuesday.

Anyway, rather than throwing out all this food, we give it to Roger to give to his Maman and they can save "monnaie" for other things.

Last March, I made a comment to Roger about the baseball style hat he was wearing. He told me loves "casquettes" and would love to have a baseball hat with California on the front of the hat.

As soon as we got back to California, I began to search on line and in tourist shops as I walked through the Los Angeles, San Francisco and John Wayne airports. To my great surprise, they don't make a lot of hats with California on them.

There are lots of baseball style hats with California sports teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics. There are hats with California Bears for the University of California at Berkeley but I couldn't find any with just California till I found two of them at Oakland airport just before I was supposed to return to Sablet.

After parking my car upon my arrival in Sablet, I saw Roger across the street. He was happily surprised with the hats and he put them on so I could take pictures to show Shirley which I included with this post. He was wearing one or the other of the hats and would point to his head every time I saw him that week.

By the time we got our car unloaded a few weeks ago, it was late afternoon and time for aperitifs and I went out to go to the Café des Sports. Walking down the street, I saw Roger's Maman and Papa sitting in front of their house as they often do at the end of the day.

I went over to say "bonjour". She flashed me one of her big smiles and then reminded her husband that it was me who brought Roger the "casquettes". She then said "Roger is not here." I asked her what she meant and she told me Roger had passed away in August.

I was obviously and visibly shocked and she went on to tell me that she had come downstairs one morning and Roger was lying on the floor and he was gone. I was so happy I had brought Roger his hats last June. This was a harsh reminder that life is short and you never know what the future holds.

The evening before we left Sablet to go visit friends Dominic and Diane near Como Italy, I took a big bag of our refrigerator leftovers plus some things I bought specifically to give her to Roger's Maman. I told her we were leaving the next morning and would miss her.

Now we almost never see her in the morning. But the next morning when we were to leave, there she was standing by our car waiting to tell us goodbye and give Shirley la bise (face kiss).

She gave me la bise too. Roger's Maman has become a special part of our life in Sablet and we hope she will be there when we return in 2013 and for many years to come. I will miss seeing Roger and hearing his "bonjour Michel" as I walk down the street. RIP Roger.

Have a great week! Bonne journée mes amis et à bientôt.


  1. That's sad about Roger and a good reminder that if there is something we'd like to do for someone, now is a good time to do ti.

  2. oh my. What a shock. Must have been terrible for her.

  3. That's a sad post, Michel. I'm sure Roger will be remembered with love in the Village for a long time to come.

  4. Yes life is short, and you never know when it is going to come to either a quick, or slow end. Both my parents went very quickly for which I am grateful for their sake, but it is a shock for those left behind. Roger's parents must have had a huge shock to find him lying on the floor. RIP Roger.
    Have a good week Michel and take care Diane

  5. A lovely tribute to your Sabletain friend, Roger, and his mom. I love that "la maman de Roger" came out to meet you that last morning before you left. What a dignified lady: Look how elegant she looks! She reminds me of my own [French] grandmother when she was still alive. :-) I know she values your friendship and will enjoy your visit when you return. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  6. You are a very lovely man Michel :)
    RIP Roger

  7. Meredith - You are absolutely correct!

    Megan - I am sure it is scary for them too since they relied on him for lots of help. Not sure who is going to step up for them.

    McCardey - Roger was definitely well known and a familiar sight around the village. His sudden passing was a shock to everyone.

    Diane - Thank you so much. I can't imagine what it would be like to discover someone you love lying on the floor dead.

    Veronique - His maman is a very sweet lady and we have really enjoyed getting to know her. I hope she is around for many years to come.

    Sara - Thank you; that is very sweet. I would say that I truly enjoy people of all types and ages and I always striking up conversations with strangers where ever we go.

  8. We've just returned from a trip to France. We spent a lovely week at your place in Sablet, and some time in an apartment in Villefranche. After I read your post, I resolved to give our leftover groceries to the old couple living downstairs. We had interacted with the husband briefly during our time there. I speak just a little French. They spoke no English. I was hesitant when I took the bags to the door. A neighbor came up and rang the bell for me, after confirming that I was there to donner (give)something. I have to say it was one of the most fun and sweetest exchanges I've had in many trips to France. The cute little old lady talked to me for quite a while. Seemed to be so taken aback that we would give them our leftover milk, butter, veggies, fruits, even T.P. She was thrilled when I said, a la prochaine, madame! I hope I was being truthful. She's my first friend in France, and I do hope to see her again.

  9. That's very sad to hear and I know Roger's maman was very touched by the kindness you showed him, sounds like a very special lady. RIP Roger

  10. Kathy - Nice to hear from you. I was sorry to see that the weather wasn't all that wonderful while you were in Sablet. Thanks so much for sharing your experience in Villefranche. I am happy my post encouraged you to give your leftovers to your new friend there. We love Villefranche too.

    Tuula - She is a super sweet lady and we hope to be able to spend time with her for years to come.

  11. Farewell Roger - you're right Michel, life is short and we never know when it will come to an end. It's up to us to make the most of each day.
    I look forward to your return to Sablet in 2013 - we'll almost be neighbours since my new home is located in Beaumes de Venise !
    Take care,

  12. Nathalie - Thanks for visiting my blog and for leaving a comment. Good luck with your move to Beaumes de Venise. If you like wine, make sure you go visit Domaine de Durban at the top of Beaumes de Venise; great wines and beautiful views. I would love to have a meet up when we are back.