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.


Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Yes, I’m a day late with this.

I cried yesterday when they played “Taps” before the Browns game, but I’d been upset before that, watching the video someone made with video and photographs to Alan Jackson’s song. Today, I have what a friend of mine called a “9/11 hangover” and this post is the result

If anything should come of the aftermath of the events of 9/11, even ten years (and one day) on, it seems to me it ought to be a reassessment of what’s really important to us. Over and over again, I’m brought to a realization that no one who died that day is likely to have woken up thinking, “Well, this is it. I don’t get any more mornings after this one.” I doubt they did anything majorly different from the things they normally did. They fed the cat/dog/fish/bird, thought about what they’d make or get for dinner that night and tried to organize their work day, setting priorities and deciding what to tackle when they hit their desks.  Some of them went to vote — but most of those folks didn’t make it back to the office in time to be victims of the terrorists.

Not that I think we ought to spend our whole lives focused on death, but it might not hurt to occasionally realize that now is all the time there may ever be. No one is promised one second more than the one they’re in right now. It’s a good idea not to defer the kindness you mean to do, to tell a loved one that they matter to you, to do whatever it is you can do to improve the world in your immediate vicinity.

Forgive me for saying this — I’m sure it will come across as morbid — but I have always wondered what passes through someone’s mind when they realize that THIS time, there won’t be any second chances. I don’t think it’s possible to die without regrets. I don’t think anyone’s life is so perfect that there isn’t at least one thing they wish they had or hadn’t done — unless they’re really deluding themselves. I do think it’s possible to reduce the number of regrets. And maybe that’s the ultimate gift those 3,000-plus people give us; to honor their memories by making whatever difference we can.  It has to be a more positive legacy than hatred and war, don’t you think?

I Would Give Everything I Own …

I’m not very good at taking my own advice.

Back a ways I wrote that you shouldn’t get too hung up on FB friends whom you don’t know personally.

Now, here I am. One particular FB friend — very special to me, but not a “direct connect” — who was previously on pretty much every day, has disappeared for the last two weeks. I hope it’s just vacation, or being really busy with life, but I keep clicking on the “Clavardage” button to see their name and it’s never there. (Which is, I think, the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.) I feel like a puppy dog who keeps going to the door at every little noise. I may even start whimpering … 🙂

Work proceeds apace! I am getting more and more to do and I feel as though I’m getting a handle on a lot of it. That’s a comforting feeling.

Last night’s weigh-in: -6 pounds. I’m working hard on my eating. I’ve been bringing in 2 apples, I have my raw almonds and fizzy water and oatmeal. I’m also being careful about dinner and restricting my milk intake (which is skim milk — the dietitian I’ve seen in the past would be so proud of me.) I hereby declare that I am NOT going to Calicon looking like “The Thing That Ate Cleveland!” LOL.

I Keep Holdin’ On …

“My friends ask me how I’m doin’
But I just can’t lie to ’em
Not feelin’ fine today …”
Marc Cohn, Miles Away

I know part of what’s wrong for me right now is the time of year. I’ve written about this before, about how my mom, dad and grandma all died this time of year within four years of each other. Finally figured this out last night, when I was feeling as though I had lost something precious and suddenly I realized what it was.

But that’s not all. I’ve done or said something wrong again and some people who were talking to me aren’t now. I really hate myself sometimes — I never mean to do anything to hurt people and I try so hard not to do the things that cause problems, but sometimes I open my mouth and nonsense comes out or something and I find that I’ve done ‘it’ again.

The creative things in my life, drawing and writing, are the only things that get me through a lot of days. Today’s going to be rough, because I won’t get to do either. It’s raining outside right now; I see the drops spattering on the window and it feels like all the tears I can’t cry because it wouldn’t be professional to do it at work.

Take care, all of you. I hope you have someone to love you and keep you warm.

Raise your hands to heaven, and pray …

The tragedy in Haiti breaks my heart.  It’s hard not to feel helpless, to see the overwhelming destruction and need and have so little of practical use to offer.  There is so much pain and suffering, and once again, it looks like the response to Katrina — lots of sturm und drang and very little actually getting accomplished.

I find myself wishing to gain some useful knowledge — get a paramedic’s certificate or learn search and rescue for the next time — and there will be a next time.  There always is.  Father, be with Your children in Haiti and help those who come to help do the job right. Amen.

On my Clip: “White as Snow”, U2

Give thanks with a grateful heart …

I reread my post from yesterday and realize that I may have given the wrong impression about something.

One thing that has become increasingly valuable to me as time goes by is people who are willing to be honest, even if the truth is painful.

I wrote two fairly long stories back at the beginning of my Combat! writing. One of them (and the prequel for it) was among those I sent off to the actor whose character figured in them. All along, as I was being betaed (by the first group) I belonged to, I was told “oh, these are really good stories”. But it’s patently obvious they weren’t. I wish my beta had just said, well, it was a good idea but it really isn’t working.

That’s why I’m glad the person who read my newest story has been honest with me. In fact, she’s spent a lot more time on me than I had any right to expect, given I only asked for a critique of the French and Cajun dialect. I am deeply thankful for her honesty. If I am discouraged, it has nothing to do with the rewrite and everything to do with whatever it is I’m fighting with at the moment. I don’t want to write anything right now, not even the Nano stuff.

I hate even writing this here, but where else can I say it? Some of the people I have been talking to aren’t talking to me any more and I don’t know why (this was before the onset of this moodiness).

Lord, aid me. Prayers appreciated.

I will not back down! I will not go quietly!

Well, something happened this morning which was a MAJOR downer for me.  In fact, it started over the weekend, and the crowning touch was on my desk this morning when I came in.  “Decision” with a vengeance.

At first, I was devastated.  I have pinned so many of my hopes on what I believed MIGHT happen that it never occurred to me to prepare for what would happen if those hopes were dashed.  Not a pretty sight — an old broad like me weepin’ awae over the loss of something I couldn’t be sure of in the first place.

But I have decided that even though things haven’t gone the way I thought they would, that I am not giving up!  My goal is too precious to let despair stop me from reaching it.  I have the Lord on my side and I still believe that there is a way — I know he doesn’t want his precious child lost, if there is any way, and I still believe He will provide one.  I can’t see it right now, but I know when the time comes, it will be there.

Besides, I have a lot to live up to … 😀  I took this quiz on Facebook …

Janet completed the quiz “Which TOLKIEN character are you?
with the result Arwen.
You never give up hope even in the face of defeat. You love dearly those that are close to you and you would fight for them without fear. You can be a bit rebellious, yet, your heart is noble …
So you see, I CAN’T give up (she said drily).  And I will not back down — I will not go quietly!