A FLYER DROPPED BY
Our Canada|October/November 2020
“I wish to invite your family—I would be honoured— to join me tomorrow afternoon for aperitifs. I met my first ‘Canadien’ about 60 years ago today. He just… dropped by!”
Larry King

I cannot recall “honouring” anyone by accepting an invite; we were certain this one had not been extended due to our family’s singing at a fête the previous evening hosted by the person extending said invite. In fact, it is André Leboucher, patriarch of vacation homes (gÎtes) on his Normandy farm, who “honoured” us, the only Canadians among his 20-plus British, American and French invited guests. All of us had booked “chez les Lebouchers” for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings the previous day— 06/06/2004—commemorating the decisive invasion that breached Hitler’s Atlantic Wall 60 years prior. Observations were held along the 80-kilometre expanse of all five landing beaches: There were attendees by the thousands—veterans and families and masses of grateful French, most unborn on D-Day. We came to honour our three uncles who landed on Juno Beach, assigned to the Canadian Army.

The next day, the Leboucher family hosted a fête of their own for their guests. After canapés and flutes of champagne— the French do have style!—guests were commanded to sing for their fare; in turn, the national anthems of France, the U.S., and U.K. were sung, leaving our tiny family coterie to render our version of O Canada. Double-duty ensued as we were then compelled to warble it “en français,” too. I suppose we had become conspicuous for our lusty, if atonal, joining in for every anthem sung, the only ones to do so. Regardless, our two renditions got the loudest applause. Then soon after came André’s invite to his study the following afternoon. There, pouring generous doses of Calvados (on empty stomachs!), he related his meeting with his first “Canadien.”

STRANGER IN THE NIGHT

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