Days of Wine and Roses
This was supposed to be a fun column for the Labor Day edition, the deadline to occur during my 10-day vacation.
Not knowing if I’d have wi-fi aboard ship, I left behind a perfectly adequate column about the joys of dining with dogs on Rehoboth restaurant patios.
A writer plans and the Delaware Division of Public Health laughs.
While I was trotting around France, a little-known state regulation banning dogs on restaurant patios reared its head.
Seriously? And I’m about to publish a puff piece hawking the joys of brunching in public with our best friends?
Hold the presses. I texted home to pull the column, and instead I am in Normandy, France, thumbing a replacement column on my phone.
We’ve sailed the Seine from Paris to the beaches of Normandy, seeing Van Gogh’s wheat fields and Monet’s water lilies. In Rouen we photographed 16th century buildings and sampled the apple “cider” of the region.
It’s an Olivia Riverboat cruise, so my wife and I have been with 125 other lesbians, enjoying a fabulous week of wine, women, and song. And croissants. Escargot. Champagne.
Comic musician Lisa Koch is onboard. She spontaneously came up with a song about the lone female crew member athletically handling the lines on the ship’s bow as a hundred queer girls ogled her from the cocktail lounge. I’m sure Lisa has apologies for Sondheim for the new lyrics to “Maria,” which had us, including crew member Maria, howling with laughter.
As we drove by bus to one of the picturesque towns, our local guide told us all about the history of the area and pointed out marvelous sights— including the church where she was recently married. Then, she added “to a woman!” And the passengers erupted in congratulatory cheers.
Today, we lunched at a French farmhouse liberated in 1944, and wound up at Omaha Beach and the American cemetery there, still decorated for last June’s 75th anniversary of D-Day.
There are over 9,000 U.S soldiers buried there. We placed roses on the monuments.
I gazed out on the beach where so many Americans fell or risked their lives, and tears rolled down my face—not just for those brave soldiers, but for my country, which in many ways is behaving increasingly as our sworn enemies did in the 1940s.
What have we become? How do we fight for our democracy? How do we quell the hate and reclaim our national reputation for having room for all?
As I write this, we’ve got two more days of strong coffee, baguettes, art, sightseeing, and fine red wines. My veins are full of pure lard by now.
But when we get home, first, I’m hoping the canine patio issue gets resolved so I can run my column celebrating (a dietetic) brunch with Fido.
But more importantly, I hope the lesson I took from the D-Day landing sites propels me to work like crazy to fight and help win the 2020 battle of the ballot box. I hope you’ll join me. For the memory of those more than 9,000 Americans buried in Normandy and many more all over the world, we can do nothing less. ▼
Fay Jacobs is an author of five published memoirs. Her newest is Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked. As a humorist, she’s touring with her show Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay.