Escargots
This delicacy, in her first1 such experience, stretched the formidable limits of Valerie’s sportsladyship, but she came through like the proverbial champ. Since then, of course, we’ve served escargots to guests and enjoyed them ourselves, both at home and in restaurants. More on the scrumptious green snails of Orleans, when the chronology takes this narrative to our Paris sojourn together in 1968-69.
1When the subject comes up, Valerie likes to tell a story on her father. Back on the ranch in her childhood, it seems, he dealt with an infestation of snails by installing some ducks, who then indulged a gratifyingly-boundless appetite for the slimy little critters. When, later on, the Jorgensons ate the ducks, she tried not to think of them as processed or recycled snails.
A sidebar1 on our Boston hospitality. Old Paris companion Gordon (“Bar-Jonas The Whale”) Jones and his friend Jim Green came from New York (Columbia) and stayed overnight with us on Beacon Street, by the courtesy of our young neighbors in the basement front (who were spending the weekend in Albany). We had six tickets, you see, for a performance of medieval ensemble music by the New York Pro Musica under Noah Greenberg. Great seats: we actually sat behind the musicians at the back of the Sanders Theater stage. Where we could see and appreciate Greenberg,2 the genius behind this group and also behind much of the recent revival of interest in ancient music.

This was the first time Gordon had seen Elaine McMeen, since the three of us had served together on the Mission Staff. As handsome young folks, sharing a second-floor office in a very beautiful place, they had been strongly attracted to each other. But as well-behaved missionaries, they’d agreed that they’d get home and settled and then see what would happen. Elaine was living on Lee Street in Cambridge; her roommate Susan Harrison came with us as Jim Green’s date.

We enjoyed the evening vastly. Oh—you’re wondering about the sequel for our friends? Well, Gordon and Susan are happy grandparents, these days. He’s still active on the community stage in Draper, Utah. And still the same brilliant, thoughtful, irrepressible “Bar-Jonas” we loved in Paris. Elaine is Mrs Lawrence Flake; she tells me they have eight kids and 28 grandkids. How life does go on.
1It’s a sidebar, because I can’t find any photos of the occasion.
2We couldn’t know that he would die unexpectedly, only about a year later, leaving the early-music revival in the hands of a whole ’nother generation.
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