Au Revoir Les Quebecoises

Christmas trees appeared in Fort Greene the day after Thanksgiving and the pine aroma of the Northern Woods permeated the corner of Lafayette and South Elliot for the weeks leading up to Christmas. The two young people selling the trees were from Quebec and I greeted them each day with a ‘bonjour’. Amy and Vincent hailed me on my return at night with a ‘bon soir’ from their spruce and balsam forest.

They were amused by my ability to speak French and I gave each of them gifts of warm clothing throughout their stay on the corner; radio to share, a white scarf and cashmere jacket for Amy, and Yoji trousers for Vincent. I had found them on the street. South Oxford between Lafayette and DeKalb was a rich block.

Last Sunday night the two of them announced their impending departure for their village south of the mighty St. Lawrence. I returned to their depleted stand with a bottle of wine. They were delighted by this last gift and we drank to each other’s health.

Christmas Eve I spent at my doctor’s house on Staten Island. The next morning I arrived back in Fort Greene. Amy, Vincent, and the trees were gone as was the scent of pine.

But they’ll be back next year and with luck I’ll greet them with a bon jour.

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