Monday, July 13, 2009

Preparing for Bastille Day

Allow me to preface this by publicly stating "I love the French".

I love their arrogance, their smugness, some of their food, most of their wine, and am thankful for their contributions to American culture. I am glad they are around.

That's why I was caught off guard recently doing a bit of research on our local community. Eastern Missouri was a decidedly French outpost. The earliest explorers were French. Cities, rivers and churches were given French names, there are even small very rural communities within a short drive from Mayberry where the locals speak almost exclusively French. Go figure.

Archaeological digs nearby have shown that people lived in Mayberry over a thousand years ago. I presume the earliest white men to come through here were trappers in the early 1700's. The earliest churches in the area were built by French priests in the 1790's.

The Park however was originally part of a Spanish land grant given in 1797. Approximately every 40 years throughout the 1700's this area traded hands from the Spanish to the French, and back again. The last trade was 1798 when it was reclaimed by France only to change once again during the Louisiana Purchase.

The only sign the Spanish were ever here is a Catholic church 5 miles down river. Now Mexicans, that's a whole 'nothr story.

Locally, we cherish our French heritage, no matter how big a stretch it is to think that it includes us.

Celebrate your frenchness tomorrow. You deserve it.



The Blushing Hostess said...

Much good, much influence, much food. All of it good and worth celebrating.

David V said...

Half of me always celebrates the 14th.

preppyplayer said...

I am a Francophile, unabashed.
Give me Paris over an island getaway anytime.
However, my father can't stand the French. When I ask him why he gives me his reasons and then I remind him that we have some French blood.
He always replies, "The only part of me that is French is the part I sit on!"
I do think that is funny.
Hopefully, the part of me that is French is my heart :)

ZZ said...

Completely agree. My Francophilia began at age 15 when my sister left to attend the Sorbonne. Good way to celebrate, by the way, would be to buy yourself a copy of "Dancing To the Precipice", the life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, aka Lucy Dillon, an amazing woman with an amazing life.

Toad said...

ZZ: the local bibliotech has a copy. I'll order it today, thank you.

Let us put the freedom fry nonsense out of our minds for now.

Mom on the Run said...

I am currently unable to leave my chair for fear I will miss every single presentation of le tour on Versus. I literally watch it 4 times a day.

Thankfully, today is a rest day. I must do some work!

J3's classmates are in Europe this week and arrive in Paris tomorrow. Much excitement.

Clayvessel said...

I recently blogged about my short trip into France. The excursion started out very traumatically. The rest of the time was wonderful and I can't wait to go back. I need to eat more bread and pastries and drink more wine for sure! But first I'll learn a little French.

Renovation Therapy said...

I'm hoping for crepes for dinner.