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Friday, February 4, 2011

Mr. Pons

We were a little worried. We haven't seen Mr. Pons at the Cabane à Huîtres for a few weeks now, and even at 96 years of age he's one of the most consistent of the regular customers. I had lunch there yesterday, exchanging "bises" (kisses on both cheeks) with Francis, Segolene, and Jean-Marie. As we were catching up on the latest news and gossip I commented that I hadn't seen Mr. Pons for a few weeks. Francis and Segolene agreed - where is he? The weather hasn't been too bad, and during my last conversation with Mr. Pons, he said he never leaves Paris except in the month of August when he travels to a family home in Brittany. (He eats oysters every day there, too.)

Is he ill? or worse? How would we know? Would his daughter-in-law come by and tell us? We know that he lives nearby - but no one seems to know his address. And Francis acknowledged that he doesn't know his phone number. I volunteered to play detective. I'll find him, I vowed. And, of course, through the magic of the internet, I found a likely candidate in the online phone book.

This morning I picked up the phone and dialed a number. What will I say if it's a stranger? I'd prepared my speech about looking for "the Mr. Pons who is 96 years old . . ." No need. After several rings, Mr. Pons answered. I recognized his voice right away. Whew. He's alive. He's very hard of hearing, and so I had to speak quite loudly to communicate. I think he was touched to hear that we - the Cabane à Huîtres - were worried about him, and he assured me that even though he'd been feeling a little tired lately, he wasn't ill, and he'd be coming in soon.

I called Francis to relay the news, and we all heaved a sigh of relief. It's nice to know that you're missed. Here's Mr. Pons with Francis:

And with Sophie:

p.s. After my phone call this morning, Mr. Pons went to the Cabane for lunch. I wasn't there, but Francis called me afterwards and said that Mr. Pons was touched by our concern and left "Happy as a king."

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