A sleepy farm town, a little dot on a spot next to the River Briance, in the province Limousin, in the southwest of France.
Well, that was what everybody said. Only cows and cornfields hung in there. Tired and stuck.
One insurance office.
One bank – a branch, that only opened three times a week.
One post office.
One grocery store, that only opened from 9-12, but it did open five days a week! Now, that was a lot for a town like La Croisille-sur-Briance!
Two restaurants, that closed during winter months, and during spring and summer, they opened three times a week plus the weekend.
But, Monsieur Sebastien Chamboulet loved the town.
He was, afterall, born there.
In the same farmhouse that he lived in now. All by himself.
He reared cows. Not just any cows, by the way. The famous Limousin cows, mind you! The big, brown-haired cows that produced good meats. Famous all over France and the world across the oceans!
Monsieur Chamboulet had everything! His limousin cows, his farmhouse, his fields, his 1978 car, a Renault of course. He could go for vacation to towns like Saint Hilaire-Bonneval, Saint Vitte-sur-Briance, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, Linards, Saint Méards, or, even all the way to Eymoutiers, Meymac, or even a metropolitan like Limoges, 57km to the north! Who needed Paris? Or Marseille? Or Toulouse? He had never been to Paris, Marseille, or Toulouse. Too far, and too expensive!
Now, there was one thing he did not have, yet.
Yes, a lady of the house. The farmhouse.
His old aunt, Aunt Bernice Chamboulet, had been badgering him about it. Oh! How could she still be sharp enough to remember that he had no wife, yet? She was 95! She lived in a nursing home, in Bugeat.
She would call, once a week, every Thursday at 10:30 in the morning.
She would ask, every time, whether he had a wife, already.
No! Of course not!
Monsieur Chamboulet was too busy with his prized cows to find a wife.
Was he ugly?
No! Of course not!
He was just a tad overweight, with a beer-belly, and a moustache that needed more shaving. He had beards, which also needed a bit more shaving. He had developed a slight rheumatism on his legs’ joints, but he could still walk just fine, most of the time.
Was he smelly?
Are you kidding me? No! Of course not!
He took shower every few days, too often and his skin got too dry. He made sure to always, always scrub his armpits… and, well, all the other parts of his body, which need not to be mentioned here…
It’s the women. Women were always a mystery to him!
Cows, his prized limousin cows, were much, much, easier to understand! They ate. They chewed for a long time, and then drank some water, then sat and chewed again, and they did not protest too much. He could predict them much better than women!
He had, of course, met women before. Women, who made his heart flutter and his logic went awry…
Like a certain Mademoiselle Sophie Désannéres. They were both 17 when they met at a neighbour’s party. She was pretty, with brown curls and blue eyes. She was kind, and gentle. But she…well, she refused to be a farm wife, and went to school instead in Limoges. She studied to be a lawyer, actually.
Sophie broke his heart, maybe…
Then came Marguerite Rosneux. Well, she was married when they met. With 3 kids. They were both 28. Ahh, they would meet in secret to satisfy the bubbling lust, and that went well, until her husband found them in the barn and chased him away with a rake.
Marguerite died a few years after the barn incident, maybe of brokenheart. He was not sure, he was not allowed at her funeral…
Elise Chârot was next. Well, she was way too short. 152cm! And he was 169cm!
Clementine Blancaque. She decided to go to Le Vigen, and became a nun.
Celine Farquardt. Now, she was too tall. 175cm!
Isabel Chandön? She was too fat.
Lillian Periquieux? She was too whiny.
Corinne Pérrè? She had hairs in her ears!
Monsieur Chamboulet smiled when he looked at his green pasture and the cows grazing on it.
He had everything!
He was just 52 afterall. Still plenty, plenty of time to find a wife and shut Aunt Bernice up.
C’est la vie, et la vie est belle.
- C’est la vie, et la vie est belle = It’s life, and life is beautiful.
- Monsieur: Mr.
- Mademoiselle: Miss.