You may well ask: what is the DEAL with this hand-crocheted, crafted-with-love, red, white and blue French g-string, anyway?
You might wonder if it’s true that this new mom stayed up past midnight to finish it. I assure you: why would I lie about something like that?
You know there’s a story.
About a week ago, we had a barbecue up in the garrigue near Aumelas, with the whole family and some wine-maker friends from Faugéres.
Faugéres is a tiny village of just a few hundred people, and is known for the old windmills that overlook the village from a nearby hill. More importantly, it is known for its wine; it actually is its own AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) zone. They’ve been well known for producing high quality, primarily red wines, since the French Revolution.
Phillipe is the president of a wine-making cooperative called Caveau Les Crus and are longtime friends of my father in law. Each year they host a balade vigneronne , a 24 kilometer hike through the vineyards, castles, and windmills of the region, with a picnic provided. It starts and ends at the Les Crus cellar, where champagne is served…and it’s hugely popular. Four hundred and fifty people, this year! I did it last year, and it was GREAT. It’s a long day, but they serve gallons of wine along the way and lunch includes a wedge of Camembert with a baguette, and huge coils of sausage cooked on big open bonfires… Everyone crosses the finish line sunburned, exhausted and a little drunk.
Anyway, Phillipe and his wife have turned it into an annual event! They are really nice, really warm, funny people, and (going back to the barbecue last week) as the afternoon went on up in the garrigue, and bottles of wine were emptied over the course of several hours, the conversation turned to the slightly risqué.
My French skills do not extend to a lot of slang, so when everyone started laughing and I heard the word for “acorn” over and over, it took me a while to realize they were making a play on words. (The word for acorn is “glands”, so, uh, figure it out.)
We had been discussing the baby’s hat earlier, which I had hand-crocheted in a fit of excessive hormone-induced domesticity…and the conversation about, uh, acorns veered into the realm of hand crocheted G strings. Phillipe invited me to make one for him.
“What color?” I returned.
“Le tricouleur, with two little pompoms,” his wife answered to general hilarity. “Very small pompoms.” She held up her thumb and index finger to indicate the size.
“Are we still talking about acorns?” I asked.
The tricolor is the French flag, the blue, white and red. And the lesson here: don’t bring up this kind of stuff to someone who, one, loves to make Things, and two, has WAY too much time on her hands. What with not sleeping anymore, you know. Your days get long and your judgement gets poor when you dispense with sleep…so I decided I was going to make this thing, and give it to Phillipe at the balade.
I literally forgot about it until the night before the balade, when Mathieu asked me if I had made le string yet. I pulled out a pair of his old briefs for a model, and got to work figuring out how to make this thing. It took longer than I thought, and Mathieu fell asleep with Nolan on the couch watching the news as I crocheted by the blue light of the TV.
We left early for Faugeres, and met with my father in law at the Clos d’Elle cellar in Cournonterral so we could all drive together. I waved the g string in the air provocatively at him, and watched as Claude and his girlfriend Carole broke into giggles.
When I gave it to Phillipe at the Les Crus cellar in Faugéres, he laughed…and immediately jumped on a picnic table to recount the story and to announce to the multitudes of hikers, with their white socks and sun hats and hiking poles, that if everyone made it to the stopping point for lunchtime, he would actually try it on.
We set off on the trail. We had to stop to feed the baby at one point, on the top of a hill looking out over all of Languedoc, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The air was rich with the scent of thyme, and Mathieu retrieved handfuls of figs and dates while I held the baby in the crook of my arm, sure that I had probably found the best place for breastfeeding in the entire world.
Stopping for breastfeeding meant we got separated from the group – which was fine by us, since instead of muddling along in a pack of hikers like sheep, we were able to enjoy the trail together in silence, as a family.
When at last we made it to the picnic spot (and did you know the French word for this kind of thing is actually pique nique?) we gathered our food and wine and sat amongst the grapevines, enjoying the sun and the scent of the smoke. Nolan went to sit with his grandpa in the grass.