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Friday, April 11, 2008

Petanque Party


Petanque is for the French what Bocci is for the Italians. But instead of playing on grass, petanque must be played on dirt or tightly packed gravel. Petanque is the old men's game on hot afternoons in village squares. It's the after-dinner activity when churches have big functions. It's what we do once or twice a week with Remi and Dorothee when we go to France. Often there are visitors who join us. Remi has a big box full of boule's (baseball sized metal balls with distinctive etchings). The lights come on and we laugh and tease, grunt and moan.
Several years ago Martha and Liz decided we need to take home three sets of petanque boules (they look like small bombs in airport x-ray machines! and weigh about 20 pound per set). Needless to say I opposed the idea, so they nested in my luggage! This year we wanted to buy two more sets for our sons, so we could have five sets with which to play. I searched the web and found Philippe Boets in Jamestown, North Carolina who has a store dedicated to petanque (the only one in the US!). He is a friendly and chatty Frenchman from Marseilles, now relocated to North Carolina.
Last week Philippe emailed me inviting me and Martha to an informal petanque game in Montecito. He was going to be in LA at a petanque tournament and wanted to drive up and see his customers and get a game going. So we drove into a nice home after lunch and met a new bunch of strangers become friends. We played petanque with our new friends for only about and hour (a sermon was in need of work) while they were devoting the whole day to the game. Ah the life of leisure!

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