We had a really tough time choosing our favorite writing contest submissions. However, in the end, we had to make a decision. In case you missed it, our third place winner was J. M. Cools with her 4th of July cemetery celebration and our second place winner was Cherie Kephart with her loving description of disgusting cat food. Go check it out if you haven’t already. But now it’s time to announce . . .
Our FIRST place winner is Diane Rogers!
Diane’s delectable descriptions of Parisian baguettes make you want arrive early to seize the day even with grumbly teenagers in tow.
Never arrive in Paris at six o’clock in the morning.
If you do, a bland-faced hotel clerk will stare you down from across a marble counter and shake his balding head from side to side.
“C’est impossible,” he will say.
His words banish your dreams of an early check-in and a hot shower. They make you forget the thrill of watching a fuchsia sunrise pirouette over the City of Lights during landing—a spectacle that made you believe Paris is the kind of place where anything is possible. Instead, the comingled aftertaste of irritation and airline coffee drive you in search of your toothbrush.
You brace for a volley of complaints from the two exhausted, ripe-smelling teenagers slumped on the lobby sofa behind you. But when your 15-year-old daughter shrugs her shoulders and says, “C’est la Vie. C’est Paris,” and your 13-year-old son shoots you a what she said look, you think you’ve won the lottery.
After your son’s hunger leads you onto the Parisian sidewalks, you feel your stomach clutch at the realization you have no idea where you’re headed. Within minutes, however, you arrive by chance into a world exploding with the scent of honeysuckle and summer peaches. Shaded by rows of leafy Linden trees, an entire city block lined with market stalls envelops you in the fragrance of yeast, warm butter, and chocolate. A waft of espresso sends you to your knees.
At the intersection of Saxe and Bretuil in the seventh Arrondissement, your senses come alive. This, you think, this is the pinnacle of Paris. Who needs the Eiffel? Here, a rainbow of produce pulsates with freshness. The air is laden with the earthy scents of fresh-harvested food, damp cardboard, and cigarette smoke. Rush-hour commuters scream by on motor scooters blasting tinny horns. Crusty baguette soldiers stand at attention. Creamy orbs of artisan fromage blink at you like alien stars daring to be explored. Shameless custard-filled pastries, burlesque and berry-laden, flaunt themselves. The toasty croissant in your hand tastes of sweet butter and bliss. In the company of your children, Paris is a place you want to chew on forever.
On this corner, you watch with motherly pride as your daughter’s high school French generates a spontaneous feast, more lunch than breakfast. From her lips, magical words like Baguette Les Ouefs yield edible bread boats smeared with velvety butter, brimming with sliced eggs and lettuce frills. Sandwiched between your teens, you sit on a curb eating a bounty of simplicity. The size of your burgeoning son’s Converse sneakers makes you wonder where the time has gone. You beg it to stand still, but it won’t.
This summer, your husband will be in the process of booking two tickets to Paris. He will stop and ask your thoughts on the best time to arrive. The aftertaste of that speckled sunlit morning seventeen years ago will come rushing back.
“Six o’clock in the morning,” you will say. “Any other hour of the day is ‘C’est impossible.’”
After retiring from a corporate career in business transformation and change management, Dr. Diane Rogers brings her expertise in social psychology to classrooms and families.
Her first picture book, Stand Tall, made its debut at the 2008 Seeds of Compassion Conference in Seattle, Washington featuring His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. A week after the book’s release, the State of Washington selected Stand Tall as an official teaching resource for compassionate education. Diane’s other published works include Emerge, A Story of Confidence, and When We All Stand Tall. To find out more, visit www.drdianerogers.com.
A self-professed global nomad, when they aren’t traveling on or jumping out of planes, Diane and her husband Kevin triangulate between Sydney, Australia, Newport Beach, and their sailboat in the Mediterranean.
*O.C. Writers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. By clicking on the book links anywhere on this site, we earn a small commission from your purchase.