Two happenings lately reminded me very much of my past life! The first one, relating to that poor house on East 62nd Street in New York City. The exact cause of its demise, a possible gas leak, is under investigation. My mother's cousin lived very close to that address. It was, and still is, a beautiful neighborhood for many reasons. The first and main one being: location, location, location. To begin with, a townhouse is charming, the prestigious address tops, the neighborhood classy. The advantages that come with the territory are multiple. No matter which way one walks, you are a winner! Central Park is only a few blocks away, in the opposite direction, a few blocks and one reaches Second Avenue, which in those days was filled with the most wonderful food stores, including foods from different countries. Any holiday was a food celebration. We hope it is still the same, as that time when my relative owned an antique store very close to her living quarters. Visiting her was always a special treat. My late brother and I were fairly young at the time, but a visit to her was not only a culinary treat, but also a valuable learning experience. She taught us why antiques are so precious. Many times they represent a family's history. She also said how lucky one is to have them in the family, reminding you of people, former owners or special family events. I only realized much later how much she taught us. Speaking to another relative about that cousin, her comment was: "We should have paid more attention!"
The second "happening" were the wild fires in California. That was during our spice trade days. We were in Los Angeles in a beautiful hotel and one morning woke up to a strong smell of smoke. The waiter, who brought us our breakfast, gave us the news of the day: Huge fires had broken out in the area. I remember wherever one looked there were signs: "Please, do not smoke." But maybe that did not help. Los Angeles is quite spread out, for an out-of-towner the traffic is unbelievable! Where does the town start, when are you out of town? My girlfriend, whom I wanted to visit, lived at the time in Manderville (not sure about the spelling) Canyon. A canyon is mostly a one-way street, with sometimes restricted traffic. You take it, and it means you have to find another canyon to get back where you started from! Or, a whole street may have the house part backing up on a canyon. In that case it is your responsibility, including simple landscaping. My girlfriend cultivated wild flowers, they looked so pretty. Something was always in bloom, adding to the charm of the scenery.
Last, we had a little reminder how fast a year goes by! It's that time again. In France, "Le Tour De France" is going on. Last year, our hero was Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner.