Au revoir, M. Pierre

WARNING: This may be a long, rambling post. Bear with me.

To save money, my husband and I go to the library and take out movie and TV DVDs. On one trip, while trying to find something we hadn’t watched to death. I remembered him telling me that he was a fan of a show called “Combat!” which I mostly knew about due to Vic Morrow’s untimely death.  So I found the first set of the first season and took them home.

Talk about not knowing how something small could wind up being so much bigger.  At first I sat and “watched” the episodes (while reading or doing crochet or cross-stitch). Then I started really watching them and eventually, I was the motive force for us watching, even when my husband might not have been as enthusiastic.

In the course of watching them, I realized I had a favorite character – “Caje”, the reliable, quiet and deadly Cajun scout, who Saunders relied on for point duty and silent killing.  I didn’t know much about Pierre Jalbert, the actor who played him, but as someone who knows their way around a search engine, it didn’t take me long to find out.  I also got connected to a surprisingly large Combat! fandom.  I even began writing fanfic.  To this day, I have no rational explanation as to why this TV show (and I’m a Trekker, a LOTR fan and a Narnian from way back – I’m no stranger to fanatic fan bases) meant so much to me.

In July of 2010, the particular group I belonged to met in Burbank, California for a “Recon”.  As part of this, I had the very great fortune to meet M. Jalbert and listen to him tell us stories. I was allowed to sit in one of the two seats of honor (although that may only have been because M. Jalbert changed the seating arrangements without warning! 🙂 ) He was a lovely man and quite charming and polite. It was a pleasure to meet him.

Yesterday (January 23, 2014), one of the members of our group who was friends with Pierre and his wife of 53 years, Joy, sent out an e-mail to let us all know that  Pierre had died. I found myself grieving for him with an intensity that surprised me. I think I had always hoped to meet him again; I had told him at the Recon that if it hadn’t been for him, and Caje, that I might not have started writing again after a very long hiatus.  I wanted to tell him, too, that because I wanted the French in my stories to be right, I started learning French on my own.  That has developed into a severe case of Francophilia – I got back to following the Montreal Canadiens (in French, on RDS), watched French movies, read French newspapers (I’m hoping to tackle at least one book very soon) and my favorite music on my Sansa Clip are the songs from France (Joe Dassin, Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour and Django Reinhardt), Quebec (Ima, Coeur de Pirate, Les Trois Accords, Boom Desjardins, etc., etc., etc.) and Cajun Louisiana (D.L. Menard, Iry LeJeune, Jo-el Sonnier, Beausoleil and Zachary Richard, among others).

I’ve made French-speaking friends – mostly in Canada – and I owe Paul, Louise, Laura, Vivan, Roz, MaxHabs (on Twitter), Ryan, Fred, Jonathan and even Marc (who keeps talking to me in English – I’ve always wanted to ask him if that’s because he wants to practice his English or because my French is so bad 🙂 ) for correcting my mistakes and encouraging me to get better.  (If I left anyone out, blame my memory – je ecris sans vouloir vous offusquer.)

That’s a lot of impact to result from fandom and from a meeting with M. Pierre that lasted an hour or maybe two.

As I read through the messages people are leaving on the Combat! group and the fan page for Pierre on Facebook, I’m moved by the affection people had for Pierre.  He mentioned in different ways how surprised he was that people still remembered him and Caje, nearly 50 years after the program left the air.  He accomplished so much – he was an Olympic caliber skier and captain of Canada’s 1948 Olympic ski team  (1)   After years of competition and championship at many venues, sadly, he didn’t get to compete in St. Moritz because he fell during a training run three days before the Games started and broke his leg.  He was a sound and ADR editor with MGM and he worked on some big projects. And of course, there was Combat!, along with a number of acting roles on TV and in movies. M. Pierre led a full life.

Reposer en paix, M. Pierre. Nous allons tous vous manquez beaucoup. And thanks for the hug.


Workin’ for a Livin’, the Sequel

Here’s the score at the end of the sixth inning: 1 temporary job (for the nonce), 1 face-to-face interview from yesterday’s phone interview and still waiting to hear on the 1099 job in Twinsburg. Looks like the other job is a strikeout, since I should have heard today and I didn’t.

I was listening to a Glen Campbell ‘greatest hits’. I like the music, but I’m finding it a little depressing. I regret the time and chances I wasted in the past and this music, which is a big part of my childhood and adolescence, brings all that back vividly. It bothers me a little; I don’t recall being so hung up on the past before and I wonder what triggered this. Although I have a good idea, I can’t be completely sure.

I have half a FridayFlash done, or a little more, and after reading it, I think I’ll hold off for a little while on this one and work on another one I started and couldn’t get anywhere with.

But Dr. Wicked’s site did prompt more than half of a new Combat! story which I think I’ll print out and take with me to my new job to work on at breaks and at lunch.

Onward and upward! At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Getting Closer to my Home …

Well, yesterday’s trip was interesting. When I got to Burbank Airport and checked in, etc., etc., I no sooner sat down by my gate when the person behind the counter announced that the flight had been oversold and that they needed eight volunteers (shaddap, Kirby, jes’ shaddap!) to take different flights.

They offered a travel voucher, a free cab ride to LAX and (to me) a flight directly to Chicago (bypassing the connection to/from Dallas) and getting in to Cleveland a half-hour earlier. Such a deal! 🙂

So I took it, got a courteous cabbie who really booked to the airport (I left Burbank at 11:25, give or take and had to catch my flight at LAX at 1:25). Still, it all worked out and I got into Cleveland at 11:30 pm.

All my flights to this point were either commuter jets or DC80s — the flight from LAX to ORD was on a 737. I regret to report that it really wasn’t much better except that I got a whole can of Diet Coke instead of just a cup and there was a movie. Woohoo! (Hee)

So now life goes on. I got a call this morning about a potential new situation, so that’s a good thing. As for all the other witches’ brew of emotions I’m struggling with right now — my mind and heart will heal with time. As with any process of healing it will take time and it will hurt, but I will survive. I’m a lot stronger than I feel as though I am right now, and I have to remember that. (Thanks, Lord.)

p.s. The really funny thing is feeling like an “old pro” after five plane flights. I can be so silly! 🙂

And In The End …

Well, Calicon is more or less officially over, at least for me. I leave from Burbank today.

Those who are leaving from LAX decamped last night to another bivouac location more convenient for tomorrow’s manouevers. 🙂 I’m standing lone picket (so to speak).

This morning, I stood looking at my room as I closed the door for the last time. It occurred to me that we leave behind little bits of our lives everywhere we go; this room, that home and so on.

I know I learned some things about myself over the last few days — some of them good, some not. After seeing all the pictures that have been posted, I am insistant even more about losing weight. It scares me. If I look this bad NOW, after I know I’ve lost weight and inches and sizes, what in the name of all that’s wonderful did I look like THEN? Gee whiz! Still, I’m going to keep the pix around and remind myself that this is not who I am or want to be or look like.

The hardest thing is dealing with how things are going to be when I get home. I have to find work. I have to deal with the fact that I have lived on the hope of this weekend for the past year, and as much as I did enjoy it, there were some unmet expectations that I will likely never have the chance to fulfill. Dreams die hard and I will be doing some mourning for them. I’m already creating a new expectation by aiming for Montrèal in February — getting to see the Habs in Bell Centre. I need something.

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Dumbledore tells Harry that “It does not do to dwell in dreams and forget to live.” Sound advice, I suppose, but what do you do when dreams are all you have?

Highway to the Danger Zone …

The title is tongue in cheek; I was thinking of “Top Gun” and “I feel the need — for speed!” Yesterday, I was on a plane (three of them, actually) for the first time since the 80s. What I didn’t realize, as I anticipated this process with some trepidation, was how much I’d enjoy it.

Not so much the waiting or navigating the terminals and security and all that, but the actual flying. Taking off was exhilarating — the ramping up, feeling the acceleration and taking off. When I could see out the window, I enjoyed seeing the cities roll away under us. Landings are a little tough for me, but I got through it.

So now, here I am in Burbank and tomorrow I’ll get to meet Mr. Pierre Jalbert — something I’ve looked forward to for a year. I hope he can overlook HOW I look and see me, but even if he can’t, I will have met him and hopefully had the chance to thank him, and that will be all right.

I’ve really enjoyed meeting all the people that I’ve talked to over the internet. This is such a neat thing, and now I understand better why they like doing these Recons.

I Love it When We’re Cruisin’ …

Well, I have posted two more stories on my website. They’re here and here. The first one (warning: canon character death) is a straight squad story. The second is the continuation of the story I started a couple of weeks ago. Hope you like them.

I have two more stories substantially completed, and am working on finishing them, although I imagine it will be at least another week before either is to beta state. Plus, I need to keep working on the other part or parts of “Here Endeth the Lesson”. I have at least two readers who can’t wait to read the rest and that’s such a boost. I feel a little silly admitting that, but it’s true.

Then I’ve got three other stories that are at slightly better than idea stage. One in particular is going to require some research and I initially thought my whole timeline for the GA universe was going to require some rethinking, but what I found the other day says I’m probably okay. Whoopee! This is the best part of my life, writing!

Coming up …

Wish I could embed this, but the trailer for Harry Potter 7 (Deathly Hallows, Part 1) is here. It looks awesome, but so did the trailer for Half Blood Prince and I probably liked that movie least of the six that have been released so far. Hope this is better — it would be sad if the series went out on a whimper, rather than a bang.

Once it’s done, it would be neat to see a montage of Dan, Rupert and Emma – kind of like the one they used in the trailer for Goblet of Fire, where you see them grow up.  I can’t, offhand, think of another group of movie characters who have grown up on the screen like these three (and their fellow Hogwarts alumni) but if there is one, I’m sure one of you will let me know! 🙂

I have the first part of a new story, Here Endeth the Lesson, up on the website.  You can find it here. Love to know what you think of it.

On the Sansa: “Lacassine Special”, Cajun de la Ruston