18 June 2012

memories to take home with me

I went to Les Puces du Canal for the last time yesterday.

I wasn't looking to buy anything -- my niece was visiting for the weekend and wanted to go to the fea market; I thought it would give me an opportunity to say good-bye to the lovely people I've bought some wonderful things from during the last three years.

I used my very limited French to explain that I was returning to the U.S. permanently, and that I was grateful for the opportunity I had to get to know them. I wanted to tell them that I would take care of the things I purchased from them, but my French failed me there.

I don't think it mattered. They seem genuinely touched that I would come and say hello for the last time. They all wished me luck with the move and with my new life back in the States (I'm pretty sure that's what they said).

Until yesterday, I'd been a little worried that some of my fragile Puces finds wouldn't survive the transatlantic voyage. I thought I'd be heartbroken if something broke in transit. But I realized yesterday that what I treasure about these things are not the things themselves but the memories and stories that come with them -- memories and stories of these wonderful people and the absolutely delightful place that is Les Puces du Canal. Even if something broke, I'd still have the memories to carry and stories to tell.

And there's no price tags on memories and stories. That makes this painted box, for which I paid only 5€, a truly remarkable bargain of the century.

No comments: