When I woke up yesterday morning, I could not have been happier to see a text from Jeannie, my American BFF living in Paris, France: “Hope that you enjoyed your birthday…We had lunch (in your honor of course) at “La Coupole” yesterday for Father’s Day…”
And a few days before my actual birthday that landed on Father’s Day this year, I received in the mail (like clockwork every year) a “curated” birthday card from Jeannie. The cover was a photo of us at the legendary La Coupole, my favorite Parisian brasserie where regulars in its heyday of Roaring Twenties Paris included Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Marc Chagall, and Josephine Baker. The French called that period after World War I “Annees Folles” (crazy years) when the end of the war inspired a “longing for joy and lightheartedness.”
In 2002, Louie and I dined for the first time at La Coupole with Jeannie and her husband, Stephane. We were blown away with its fantastic Art Deco interior and an enormous room filled with a sea of hundreds of diners.
Jeannie ordered a “plateau de fruits de mer,” a tower of two platters filled with crustaceans and shellfish on ice: oysters, mussels, shrimp, clams, lobster, crab and snails. We had no trouble devouring the glorious bounty.
Then, when I managed to come up for air and glanced at the table across from us, I didn’t realize that an American family dining on burgers had been watching us in complete amazement.
And I can’t help thinking: With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, we, too, long for lightheartedness and joy.