It was August 1960 and I had been invited to have dinner with Arlette and her parents at the house they had rented in Biegonnette for the summer, just a mile or two north of Chateauneuf, France. I met Arlette at the Chateauneuf swimming pool.
Chateauneuf was about 10 Ks from Dreux Air Base. You went into Chateauneuf and turned left after going approximately a half mile and then a couple of miles on to Biegonnette. Arlette's friend Caroline, who was staying that summer with her in Biegeonnette, was there along with Arlette's brother and her Mom and Dad. I recall how lovely that dinner table looked being set for six people when I arrived.
Well, here we are motoring away from Dreux Air Base, some time near noon that Saturday in August 1960 on my French Moped. What a beautiful day for a visit with some French folks from Paris, France. To top it all off, they were going to prepare a French meal for me. Along the route to Biegonnette I passed by a beautiful green looking corn field. Why not pick some corn for us to have at the dinner? In only a few minutes I had both moped saddle bags stuffed with fresh corn. With a smile I motored on toward what I just knew was going to be a swell meal. Into Chateauneuf and hanging a left toward Biegonnette I motored and in just a short time I entered the summer house driveway.
Kick stand down and the Moped engine switched off with corn in hand I entered the house. I laid the corn on a small table and the gals came to welcome me with kisses and hugs. I was introduced to the parents and brother and they all shook my hand and made me welcome. I had never met the parents or the brother before that day. Then the gals told me they would not need the corn for they did not have any animals there and they did not eat the corn from the cob.
We all had a good laugh but my face was a bit red. I was invited to have a seat and after their blessing in French, the meal was served. With red wine and a plate full of good looking food set before me I prepared to dig in. I did not ask what was set before me for it all looked very good. I did take notice that the meat was hard to cut. When I took my first bites I noticed they were all looking at me. Chewing and chewing I ridded the meat of its toughness to swallow. That's when the gals told me it was horse meat and everyone had a laugh but me. After the meal, topped off with some French pastry, outside we all went to converse with one of the gals being an interpreter. Soon after we all had our talk Arlette's brother tied a rope to a small tree and invited the gals and me to jump over the rope he was holding. We all jumped as the rope was raised higher, which caused each of us to take a running start. The gals also held the rope so the brother could take his jumps along with us. Just who was holding the rope end I don't recall when I took my final run and made my last jump. When I landed my right foot twisted under me and down I fell with a moan. The gals took off my right shoe and sock and said it was a sprain and not a break.
Her mother ran to the house and came back with some ice to apply to my ankle. After some two and a half hours the swelling had gone down somewhat and I was able to get my sock back on with the gals help. I took a few small steps sock footed and it didn't feel too hurtful. We all just sat outside and the parents told me they were so sad that I was injured. I thanked them for their concern and we all had a laugh about my purple ankle. With my shoe on but not tied I shook hands with the parents and the brother of course I kissed the gals and thanked everyone for the nice meal and fellowship. I told the gals I would be back in a few days for a visit for a moped ride around the Chateauneuf area. When I left they all said good luck and I waved to them "Good By" as I headed out toward the Air Base. My ankle hurt some as I pedaled to get the Moped engine started but all in all it was still a good day for me away from Dreux Air Base. With hot water showers on the ankle for about a week I was feeling no pain. Needless to say, no more jumping rope for me!! Just a few days later I was back riding with the gals as though nothing had happened. Being 25 years young had a lot to do with it. This is another story of the happenings while I was stationed at Dreux Air Base, France 1960.
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