my french friend janou’s birthday today!

1988 janou with margarita002

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” 

(To paraphrase:  “There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with a beer mug filled with tequila.”)

If you’re wondering, this was in 1988.

“If you have good friends, no matter how much life is sucking , they can make you laugh.” 
-P.C. Cast

1991 janou with christmas trees

Here is Janou in her Idaho Mountain Woman Pose, circa 1991. I’d returned to Idaho to celebrate my 40th birthday and Janou figured out how I could take a Christmas tree home–on the plane–to Rhode Island! And yes, we cut one down, shoved it carefully it a tube, and shipped it as luggage.

Janou is famous for her Big Plans. Last year she organized a huge neighborhood yard sale that actually caused traffic jams on the remote peninsula on which she lives. She is an intrepid bargain hunter, a brilliant cook, a generous hostess and a fiercely competitive card player.

I met her when our daughters were in diapers.  Dancing Mandolin Player and I had a gift shop; Janou had just moved to town.  Disappointed that the shop was closed on a Monday morning while her husband was home with her two small children, Janou was not about to be denied some adult, female conversation.  So she went to a pay phone (yes, this was back in “the old days”) and found my name in the phone book (yes, back when there were phone books) and called me.

“Remember me?” she said.  “I was in your store on Saturday with my daughter?  I just moved here from California?”

“Yes,” I said.  I was barely awake.  The boys had just left for school.  The kitchen was in its post-breakfast mess, the baby was in her playpen (back when there were playpens).  “How are you?”

“You’re not open today!!”

“Uh, we’re closed on Mondays.”

“But I’m here at the Hi Hopes Market!  Without the kids.”  She paused.  “Can I come over for coffee?”

I looked around my messy kitchen.  Well, if that’s what she wanted, then she’d have to deal with it.  “I guess so.”  I gave her directions.  She arrived in five minutes, sat down at the kitchen table, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Every time she came to Rhode Island she redecorated my house, which was a good thing and such a relief.

See this?

mont st michelle003
We met in Paris for a week, after our kids were grown. We ate chocolate and strolled through parks and drank wine and enjoyed cafes. We shopped the Paris Flea Market…and we went to Mont St. Michelle. We actually hiked to the top of this monastery.

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Janou!  I wish I was there to celebrate with you!  I might be tempted to create another x-rated coffee cake in honor of your birthday.

(I have searched through 7 photo albums for a picture of that coffee cake and haven’t found it–darn!!)

I miss you.  I hope you have a wonderful day.  I’ll call you later, after you wake up.  🙂

More Pie

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5 Responses to my french friend janou’s birthday today!

  1. Ellie says:

    What a beautiful tribute of love and friendship! Happy Birthday, Janou!! The memories we hold close to our hearts are the ones we will relive over and over again. I believe people come into our lives for a reason, to help us along the way, inspire us and love us…no matter what…thanks you two crazy wild women!!!
    May you have many more years of mugs of margaritas!
    Insidently, did you happen to have those here in Hope because I need one right about now! Lol

    • I’m having a margarita exactly at 5 pm tonight. If you have one at 2PM we’ll be drinking together!!! 🙂 Copy edits on ms. were finished last Tuesday, author edits were just finished a few minutes ago. Now I have to do laundry and pack!!! Work is over, at last. On to Austin…

  2. Sharon says:

    Waving to Ellie! How’s the knee? I hope you are back in dancing form.

    Kristine, you wrote a wonderful tribute to Janou. I feel like I’ve known her for years!
    Someday I must venture out to Idaho and meet all these fantastic women. Or they could all come East and meet me! 🙂

    Happy Birthday Janou!

  3. Janou Scherb says:

    Oh, What a beautiful Birthday surprise!!!! Thank you dear friend! It so made me smile and remember with joy! You are a love and many memories are yet to be made!!!!!!! A special thank you hug is being sent your way!!

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