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Blue, white, and red

A French flag, with blue, white, and red vertical stripesThe colors of the American flag are traditionally given as red, white, and blue. I don't know if there's any particular reason why the colors are stated in that order. Note 1

In contrast, the same colors on the French flag are usually given in the order blue, white, and red.

The fourteenth of July is the French Independence Day, which celebrates the storming of the Bastille prison Paris in 1789. For the past six years, Margie and I have celebrated the fourteenth at a dinner hosted by Cynthia Edelman, Margie's French teacher, and director of French in Acton.

I've written about this annual dinner in two previous blog entries. The first, called Allons enfants de la patrie ..., mentioned the French in Acton dinner of 2011, although that entry was largely a description of 14th of July we spent in 1970 at the Club Med in Martinique, on our honeymoon. My second blog entry on this holiday, called Le jour de gloire, described the French in Acton dinner of 2012. The titles of these two entries comprise the first line and a half of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem.

My blue, white, and red outfitThis year, we returned to Cynthia's dinner once again - it was on the actual 14th. While deciding what to wear, and looking for items of clothing that were blue, white, and red, it suddenly dawned on me that I now own a red jacket. This is because about a year ago, I had my 50th college reunion at MIT, and it's traditional for MIT alumni to wear red jackets to college events starting with their 50th reunion. The first of several entries on that reunion can be found in the blog entry called Fifty years.

That made my choice of clothing obvious - I wore blue slacks, a white shirt, and the red jacket. I also found a tie which itself contained the colors blue, white, and red. You can see the final result to the right.

The dinner this year was held at a relatively new restaurant in Concord, Massachusetts called Bondir (there's also a Bondir in Cambridge, MA). Our group occupied a private room in the rear of the restaurant. Before the dinner, we enjoyed wine and hors d'oeuvres, and were entertained by a flutist.

For the dinner, we selected from two or three choices offered for each course, which we ordered from the waiter in French. The dinner was excellent, and Margie and I will probably return to Bondir in the future.

Of course, as is traditional, we sang the French national anthem, waving French flags that Cynthia gave out. She also handed out sheet music containing the lyrics of the first verse, although by now, I know it by heart.

The dinner was covered by the local newspaper, the Concord Journal. Their reporter, April Crehan, interviewed various attendees, including me. I was quoted in the resulting article, which appeared on-line yesterday evening. You can see it by clicking the following link: French students gather for Bastille Day event. Note that "Bastille Day" is the name given to this holiday in English-speaking countries. In France, it's commonly called le quatorze juillet, just as Americans refer to our Independence Day as simply "The fourth of July."

Then today, we received the Wayland Town Crier in the mail, as we do every Thursday, and found a short story entitled "Bastille Day celebration". It contained a picture of French in Acton director Cynthia Edelman with Margie and me at the event. It turns out that this resulted from a press release which Mme. Edelman submitted to the Town Crier.

The French in Acton dinner was on Monday evening, and the end of the work day on Monday is generally the deadline for the submission of articles and letters to the Town Crier. Nevertheless, the press release, with a photo taken at the event, made it into the print version of the Wayland Town Crier on Thursday. The story got into the Concord Journal equally rapidly. Reporter April Crehan must have turned in her story and photographs Wednesday night or Tuesday morning, and by late Wednesday, it had appeared on-line.

I wanted to include here a link to the Wayland Town Crier article, especially since it has a photograph of us, but it seems to only exist in the print version, and not in the on-line version, at least for now. In searching for it online, though, I came across a Wayland Town Crier article on the 2012 dinner, entitled Wayland resident sings French national anthem to group (click on that link to see it). That "Wayland resident" was me, but I had never before seen this on-line article.

It seems to me that the Internet has rather turned the newspaper industry upside-down. Major big-city newspapers used to do very well, while small local newspapers like the Wayland Town Crier and the Concord Journal used to struggle. However, there are now so many sources of news on the Internet, not to mention the advent of on-line advertising and on-line classified ads (e.g. Craig's List), that the major newspapers are having a hard time.

But there are fewer sources for highly local news on-line, opening up an opportunity for small town papers. http://www.wickedlocal.com/ is a URL owned by GateHouse Media. If you go to that page, and click on "FIND YOUR TOWN", you'll see that they have local newspapers in an astonishing 162 towns in Massachusetts, plus 7 "daily news sites" (if I've counted correctly).

Below, a picture taken at the 2014 dinner showing both Margie and me. In her outfit, she nailed the colors blue and the white, but missed out on the red:

Margie and I at the dinner

I hope you had a happy fourteenth. Never miss an excuse to party.

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© 2014 Lawrence J. Krakauer   Click here to send me e-mail.
Originally posted July 17, 2014

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Footnotes (click [return to text] to go back to the footnote link)

Note 1:   The comedian Steven Wright once said, "Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song?"   [return to text]

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