A Luncheon Under the Linden Trees
I’ve noticed that many people park their cars backwards these days. Landscape architects say they’re having to reconfigure parking lots as a result. Why do people back into parking spaces? Are they thinking of leaving as soon as they get there?
I had lunch recently where no one thought of leaving. We were friends gathered to celebrate a wedding anniversary. We dined on the terrace of the Auberge des
Tilleuls, an old French farmhouse in Grambois, Provence. Linden trees shaded its plaster walls and dappled the linen tablecloth with shadows.
The waiter was invisibly attentive, as is the French custom. We dined for two hours. Some of the wine we drank was made from a nearby vineyard, and as we
drank tractors pulling wagons filled with red grapes glided past. Children leaving school rode by on scooters and bicycles.
How is it that the French will travel 50 miles to have lunch in a restaurant in a small Provençal village? The French writer Michèle Fitoussi said that her compatriots “have a keen sense of the brevity of time and the immediacy of pleasure.”
On this afternoon there was a faint smell of smoke from leaves burning somewhere in the distance. It was early fall.
When we left, I noticed there were no cars parked backwards in the parking lot.