Like our trip to Italy, Isabelle and Christian, our Paris friends, were going to play a prominent role in our vacation. We were traveling to Marseille in France and would recover there from our jet lag for two days. Then our plan was to meet Isabelle and Christian in Buis-les-Baronnie at a rented villa in the Luberon Mountains with a view of Mont Ventoux.
Isabelle and Christian spent two years in Nashville while Christian was completing a fellowship in Cardiology. Isabelle was trained as a psychologist in France. While in the U. S. she attended to her children, Thomas then 6 and Charlotte then age 2 ½. I hooked up with her by a request from Hans Strupp, who she sought out when she arrived in Nashville. I invited her to be a member of our peer support group and to supervise me on a case. During her time in Nashville, we met weekly. She observed my work through a one-way mirror with permission of the patient, and then we talked over lunch. We had both Christian and Isabelle over for dinner.
We were excited to see them again, because of our previous connections, because of their kindness to us on our last trip and because we were so eager for the refuge of their company in a foreign land. Isabelle had a similar excitement about travel and new experiences as Marietta’s. Christian had a similar notion to mine that everywhere you are, you are still there. To Christian and me, this means we reserve the right to complain. Neither of us alone is a match for our wives high moral ground, but together we make a formidable team. My seeming composure was not without complications. As the time approached for us to fly to France, I was aware of a gloom descending over me. This feeling seemed familiar to me. It had many of the hallmarks of the dread I felt before our last foreign trip.