Whenever I hear it I think of that Patty Griffin song, Sweet Lorraine. Our time there certainly was sweet.
We ambled in after dark one night after dozens of wrong turns and haphazard guesses at the right direction, and as we got out of our car on a narrow dark street in the tiny village of Gorze, a small man made eye contact and crossed the street to meet us:
Je suis Michel, he said. You are eating at my place tonight.
And we did. His apartment, a mash of 17th century thick-timbered ceilings on top of 15th century floors, was warm and inviting. He put a log in his Alsace-blue wood stove, poured us some red wine, and stuck an entire chicken in a pot and shoved it into the oven.
He only spoke French. I translated back and forth as best I could between his excited questions and Trae's smiling responses. It was a night to savor.
An hour later, the chicken was ready and Dominique burst in, who lives next door, and we all sat down to the meal. We sopped up our olive oil with our bread, which Dominique told us was very impolite in French society, but that we were allowed to do it anyway, and she told me I could even use my hands to eat my chicken, which should never be done.
It was a good meal. We spent two nights chez Dominique, and we discovered the honey sweetness of the Mirabelle plum, a tiny golden-yellow fruit she had made into jam from her neighbor's tree. She also baked us a Quetch plum tart, Lorraine's famous and more common darker plum with a fiery interior. We spoke about life and listened to opera nonstop. She told us about giving birth, leaving her husband, and breast feeding a squirrel on a camping trip with her children. She let us sleep in her bed while she slept on the couch. She shooed us out when it was time to go with the grace of a cheerful host hastening their guest to the next adventure.
We left with a breath of fresh air, two days the wiser about a tiny village in Lorraine called Gorze.