WHEREAS my name is on all the junk mailing lists, I get notified about six times a week that I have one more chance to win $3 million - cash. Now I'll tell you about Juliette Deland. Juliette is a refreshing lady in a world that needs her, and you may all meet her if you wish. She runs a sort of public house on a hilltop in Ste. Katherine of Hatley, one of the eastern townships of Canada's Quebec Province - not far from the cities of Sherbrooke and Magog. Her place is a little hard to describe briefly, but she's open to the public and all you need do is drive up and walk in. You'll find her in the kitchen of her restaurant, smiling, cheerful, happy, and eager to add your name to her list of thousands of friends that anybody else would call customers. If you pause just before you enter her door and look back, you'll see miles upon miles of valley that will make you gasp - the Massawippi Valley, some of Lake Magog and a few other lakes, Mount Orford, and quite a bit of the rest of Canada. Juliette doesn't speak any English. She is just back from an extended visit to Japan, not on a tour but by herself, but she has never been to Sherbrooke, 12 miles away.
Widowed and her children grown, Juliette came to this hilltop some years back, and acquired for almost nothing 150 hectares of summit which she named le sommet and began serving small meals to wayfarers who instantly became friends. A hectare is a metric unit of land measure and equals 2.471 acres. So Juliette has about 370 acres of choice Canadian scenery, plus the buildings she maintains for her little business.
Her little business runs to a kind of recreational facility. There is camping, hiking, skiing, and just sitting around. She has rooms, but also has dormitories that are admired by groups that come from Montreal - and elsewhere. The big dining room is en famille, but she has other places for parties and receptions. Juliette does all the cooking, and she'll set a banquet or make you a sandwich lunch. You'll have to skip the word ``style'' but Juliette can cook. On our latest visit she took us into her special room behind the kitchen, and after we were served she sat at table with us and recited much of her life history while we ate - and she ate, too - and we learned about her present annoyance at extreme wealth.
We were we two, M. and Mme. Henri Delorme, Mme. Muriel Delorme, Mme. Fran,coise Dunn, Mme. Florence Marois, and Juliette. She had us in stitches, as they say. Witty, animated in speech, flourishing gestures and waiting like a trained comedienne for her laughs. We had an apple and vegetable pur'ee, roast turkey in deep brown gravy, a beef stifle on mashed potatoes, a full-moon salad, and various supplements that preceded the numerous pies. I had the strawberry.
Juliette said a man approached her one day while she was mixing bread. He told her he had been driving about, and just by chance had driven up the hill from Ste. Katherine, and he was immediately so taken with the view that he wanted to own the place. He was prepared to pay her price. Before the interview ended, she told him she had no disposition to sell and he was wasting his time, but Juliette is keen and first she asked some of the right questions. M. Bombonnel hedged in the neighborhood of $75,000, and after he left, Juliette finished baking the bread.
She told us, ``If he offered that, I decided 10 times as much.'' Not long after that another gentleman came in and offered Juliette $250,000. She asked him what connection he had with M. Bombonnel, and he immediately said, ``None, whatever!'' in such a way that Juliette knew he was well acquainted with M. Bombonnel. ``I knew the laundered money had found me!'' she told us.
That's about it - to show that I'm not the only person who doesn't get excited about free millions. The last man who approached Juliette lifted the offer to $3 million, and Juliette (according to what she told us) gave him an unceremonious heave-ho. She told him she'd been bothered quite enough with this foolishness, and didn't want any more.
``I have thousands of friends,'' she said, ``and lots of them are good lawyers and policemen. If you or any of your people come again, they'll be ready. Now, get out!'' Or words in French to that effect. ``I was so mad I swore!'' she told us, but a translation at this time is not necessary. It's hard to believe she'd do that. You'll love Juliette. Try the strawberry.