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Sometimes — but not so often as to be annoying — we found ourselves clueless in Boucherville. We were clueless at those times because we were listening to someone speaking in French. A French speaker told me the other day that it takes longer to say things in French than it does in English. With a smile on my face, I type: I believe it!

Therefore, when we eight very distant American cousins left our lodgings to go to a concert in a park last Thursday night, I had only a vague idea of what we were about to see and hear. I expected perhaps a symphony orchestra and perhaps a chorus and had heard something about opera. I had a ticket but with all the words in French, it didn’t help me one little bit.

What really happened was a huge surprise to all of us Americans. We had been given strict instructions to arrive at least an hour early for the 8:00 p.m. concert. That is why we left at 6:00 p.m., piled into our car which we drove to Canada and the car that a couple from Kentucky had rented. We stopped at a McDonalds on the way, thinking that with a whole hour to sit and enjoy the park before the concert, we could eat after we got there. Getting our meal was seamless; Ray and I ordered very Canadian poutine at that iconic American restaurant.

We had a clue that this might be a very large event when we saw people with lawn chairs heading to the park when we went to our hotels in the late afternoon. That should have been our clue. Though we had been instructed to sit in the “V.I.P” section with descendants, we did not receive any sort of special parking pass. When we got to the concert, a policeman instructed us to drive back quite a way to a school where three full-size city buses were shuttling people to the concert. Concerned that they wouldn’t let us bring food onboard, we ate our fast food standing in the long line of folks waiting to get on a bus.

When we arrived at the concert, we entered with dozens and dozens of other people across a pretty bridge, trimmed with lights and festooned (as they say) with pretty window boxes filled with blue and yellow flowers. Once we crossed the bridge, we slowly began to take in that this was not a little concert in the park, but a giant event with thousands of people. The estimate we heard the next day was 20,000 to 22,000 — quite a crowd for a town of about 42,000!

Beginning to take in the crowd . . .
Beginning to take in the crowd . . .

When we arrived in the V.I.P. section, along with hundreds of other “V.I.P’s,” a man in front of where we sat turned around to talk with us. I believe this was because he heard our American accents. I asked him — with a bit of embarrassment — what we were about to hear. We were about to hear Ginette Reno, he told us, a very famous Quebecois singer who is around seventy years old and who has had a long career in entertainment. He wondered who to compare her to in the U.S. and finally decided on Barbra Streisand. We were fascinated, of course.

The program began with talks by the mayor and other dignitaries and with a beautiful video production telling the history of our famous ancestor! After much ado (as they say), Ginette Reno took the stage. I sat between Ray and the president of Nashville’s Timothy Demonbreun Heritage Society, so I know our reactions best. We all just loved it.

Sue Ellen and Charlene
Sue Ellen and Me

Ginette Reno’s voice is beautiful and she sang her heart out for two hours to the music of a beautiful symphony orchestra from the suburb which is next door to Boucherville. It was obvious that she is well-loved. Three of the most special moments for me were when we descendants were asked to stand and be applauded; when the audience stood to show their love and respect to Ginette Reno; and when the audience knew the songs so well that they sang along — with very melodious voices, by the way.

God transformed dusk to nighttime while we soaked in the beautiful music.

Other special times were when the star’s son conducted the orchestra for several songs and when her beautiful fourteen–year-old granddaughter came on stage and sang a solo. But the most special moment of the night was when grandmother and granddaughter sang a duet. They looked lovingly into one another’s eyes and sang so beautifully.

Family love — oh, it is so very, very precious. Relish it. Keep it. Nurture it. Enjoy it.

Grandchildren are the crown of old men,
And the glory of sons is their fathers.
Proverbs 17:6


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