A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Papa's 85 today!

My darling Papa is 85 today! What a guy!
Papa had a hard time during the Algerian war against the French. (1954-1962)
Our farm was used as a meeting place for the Freedom fighters. The French authorities got to know about it, but although none of the fighters was caught, Papa ended up in concentration camps at the edge of the Sahara for about three years and then exiled from our "départment" for another three.
My mother, bless her soul looked after us five kids with my eldest brother's help.
When Algeria got its independence, Papa came back home. I was too young to understand what he had gone through. Seven ribs broken during interrogation, a back that is still black and blue after all these years and untold psychological trauma
He went back to his job as ambulance driver at the local hospital and worked there until his retirement.
The gentlest person I have ever had the pleasure to know, Papa has always got time for people especially children. He always keeps a supply of sweeties in his pocket to hand out to our young neighbours.
I honestly cannot recall hearing him complain about anything.
Well, actually maybe once. At the end of lunch one day he said to my mother: "You should use less oil in the cooking."

Nowadays he spends his days meditating at the local mosque* or going for gentle strolls around our small town where everyone knows and respects him.

Have a great day, mate.

*A funny anecdote


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24 Comments:

Blogger Mary said...

Happy birthday to your Papa and many more.

25/8/06 12:21 PM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Oh my gosh, only yesterday my mum and I were talking about Papa, and wondering how old he is, and we cracking up all over again about his 2 am adventure.

Please tell Papa happy birthday from us, and hope he's showered with many, many blessings.

25/8/06 2:55 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

Yes, Happy Birthday to your Papa, 85 what a fine age. He sounds such a lovely man, must be like father like son!

25/8/06 6:51 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Thanks, Mary! He is quite fit for his age and I hope we have him for many more years.

Gigi, that story still makes me laugh! I phoned this morning to wish him happy birthday and guess where he was... Yes, the mosque!
I will pass on your wishes and spend half an hour explaining where Guyana is just like the last time! Thanks.

Thanks, Dizzy! If I am the tenth of what he is, I'll be happy!
He is truly a saint on Earth!

25/8/06 7:07 PM  
Blogger Shyha said...

Happy birthday!

I've seen at least one movie about this war. One of which was algerian. This war is a bit unknown here. I'm glad your father hasn't got broken there!
Cheers!

25/8/06 7:19 PM  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

Ha that minaret call was a funny story..as opposed to the internment part of it which seems so cruel and unfair..

you must have been so happy to get him back...he sounds like a man of principle and a gentle soul, you are very lucky to have such a mentor..happy birthday papa cream

..have a couple for me and give him a big hug next time you see him.
cheers.

26/8/06 1:20 AM  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

هبّي بيرثدي] ، [ببا] قشدة

26/8/06 1:25 AM  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Does that make any sense? I hope it's not offensive. It was supposed to wish Papa Cream a very Happy Birthday x

26/8/06 1:26 AM  
Blogger Hayden said...

It is incredible luck to be born to someone like your Papa and to have that role model. He must be a wonderful example to the entire community.

best birthday wishes to him!

26/8/06 2:51 AM  
Blogger Calamity Tat said...

Happy birhday to ton Papa Cream... sorry I haven't popped in often.. Sounds like you've been having adventures though...bisous...

26/8/06 9:34 AM  
Blogger Calamity Tat said...

Cream it's me again.. I have been searching all morning for a recipe for tonights dinner party and I just fell upon your chicken with marsala... I am so making it, I am starting with a baby spinach salad with goats cheese sorbet followed by your recipe, I will let you know how I get on.. I can give you the sorbet recipe it is too die for...byeee

26/8/06 9:40 AM  
Blogger cream said...

Thanks, Shyha! There is a film called "La Bataille d'Alger" a classic if you ever get hold of it. I think the war made Papa a stronger man!

HE, it was hilarious! I am due to go in October. It is a pleasure to sit with him and listen to his old stories. Thanks.

Cherrybabe, no it wasn't offensive! There was a baba which means Papa in Algerian ! Was that a random coincidence? Thanks!

Thanks, Hayden! I guess I am very lucky! My mother too was an amazing woman!

Hiya, Tat! Nice to see you again! Yes, many adventures this summer! And life is good! Hope your summer has been great! x
I hope the chicken turns out ok! Your starter sounds good!
As for the sorbet recipe, yes please! Just email if you can.

26/8/06 9:56 AM  
Anonymous marjan said...

How great to have such a father, you must be very proud.
Congratulations with your father. I hope you serve him a nice meel

26/8/06 12:02 PM  
Anonymous trac said...

Hiya Cream and a happy birthday to your Papa! :o)

Got back yesterday and now off to Wales... Will catch up in a week or two! :o)

Hope you are well....

26/8/06 1:02 PM  
Blogger cave renovator said...

Hats off to your Dad and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY you must be a proud son. Cook something Grrrreat.

26/8/06 3:31 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Hi, Marjan, I see you've managed to comment. Thank very much. I will try and cook for him when I see him.

Trac, so nice to have you back! I am well and looking forward to see you up and running again!

Thanks CR, definitely proud of the old man!

26/8/06 5:49 PM  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

Happy Birthday to your dear dad!!! he sounds like the most wonderful person you could hope to meet!

26/8/06 5:55 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Thanks, Val! He is definitely a gem and not just because I am his son!

26/8/06 6:19 PM  
Blogger Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Ya vava inouva ... I was dragged up a mountain in Kabylie at the crack of dawn to see the house where the ex was born, and the hole that the French had blown in the wall! Then the younger ones all buggered off to France anyway. Chapeau to vava for staying put in the country he fought for. Has he ever been to Teesside?

28/8/06 12:29 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Now I know why you like the Kabyles, Daphnée! Did you ever visit Beni Yenni and the silversmiths?

Yes, looks like the Algerians are getting their own back on the French by invading France.

Yes, Papa has visited a few times but he prefers Algeria.

28/8/06 1:34 PM  
Blogger LDahl said...

Happy Birthday to Papa!

29/8/06 5:51 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Thanks, L.
And yes, life does have a funny way of turning everything on its ear!

29/8/06 6:51 PM  
Blogger Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Yep, did the Benni Yenni (hey! think we've just found your standup name!) and bought enamelled silver, and also had a rug hand made by an old lady in Taguemount Azouz. One day, over a bottle or three of Chateauneuf in Paris, I'll tell you all about it ...

30/8/06 4:03 PM  
Blogger cream said...

Daphnée, I went to Beni Yenni on a student day out in the early 70's. Kabylie was new to me.
You know more about it than me, girl.
Peut-être un de ces jours, tu n'en sais rien!
I went back to Edinburgh at the weekend for the last day of the Fringe and saw a Japanese stand-up artist explaining the art of Japanese theatre and cracking jokes. Was weird and amusing at the same time! Maybe I still have a chance.

30/8/06 7:50 PM  

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