The day Fodder, the Saint and I were to leave our haven in the southwest of France, Fodder was up early.
He packed the last-minute stuff that can’t be done ahead of time – toothbrush and so on – and he also had to add the string belt to his traveling ensemble.
The drive to Bordeaux was beautiful. During our week in the Dordogne River valley, the oaks and chestnuts on the hills had gradually turned more gold and orange, and here and there Virginia creeper had blazed into red on creamy limestone walls.
The trip was also exciting because the Saint was having a lot of fun driving our rented BMW. From the backseat, I called out the speed limits – 130 km/hour, but please slow to 110 if it’s raining. We laughed, because our cautious Canadian highways max out at 110 in ideal conditions.
However, I was also a little anxious. I wanted Fodder to have a good trip and what if the string didn’t work? What if it snapped? What if the knot unraveled while he was standing in the middle of the metal detector?
This was not healthy anxiety – there was nothing I could do about any of it, and Fodder is a grown man who is more than capable of managing his own life. And his own string belt.
When we checked in at the airport, I was careful not to watch Fodder, not to hover or fuss. I breezed through security with my pants flapping around me like luffing sails. The Saint showed up next, backpack and jacket only slightly askew, as usual. We looked at each other, then carefully turned around.
And there came Fodder, striding forward with the handle of his rolling suitcase in one hand, his walking stick in the other.
He beamed at us. “It worked!”