You were happy as a crab with three pincers playing on the shore of the Baie Doree at La Garoupe, that summer you were six. At the end of each briny day, smelling like a sea urchin, you flip-flopped up the street to our trailer with a fistful of treasures, cockleshells, flotsam, a starfish, maybe, all but one of its twinkles out. Freckled with sand, freighted with buckets, and crisscrossed with scratches from the valves of angry inner tubes, you were ready to shower under the green hose coiled for solarheating on the wrinkled tin roof of the shed. We dressed you in your sailor suit for a voyage to the Tea Pot, but you thought it was time for trains, not sails. With Stacia as caboose and for smoke the spinning spores of dandelions, you chugged three times around the fig tree, and out of the gate, past the sentry swords and white flowers of the pyracantha bush, admired every day by Michel, the iceman, and once by a gypsy with the patched eye of a pirate. In the VW, headed for Antibes, we passed the two pon ies who lived halfway up the hill, and the boulangerie on the corner, where each morning the baker, his face white as a ghost with flour, sold us petits pains au chocolat for breakfast. At the Tea Pot Madame Rochedieu served the salad Nicoise with a proud smile, not knowing that for lunch you and Stacia and Bernard and Sylvie had concocted a five-star bouillabaisse at the beach.

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