The eve of Christmas Eve. Pretty much just Accad family events. An all-family breakfast with knaife, a trip to the grocery store, the hypermarket Bou Khalil where I had my first chichi Lebanese grocery store experience. I bought two good bottles of white wine that A picked out for me the Kefraya Blanc de Blancs is the best. Very dry. Have I said that A reminds me of my father? Well, he does. He’s funny and easy to talk to the way my father can be when he isn’t feeling the pressure to be a father.
Also somehow in that very busy day I found time to take a drive with A and J to a camp that Evelyne’s father’s church runs. A was sweet enough to drive through Roumieh so that I could see it. We took the turn off the Mansourieh road and A said that we were in Roumieh. When I didn’t recognize anything at first, I was worried that he would want to turn around and so I asked a man passing on the road where l’Ecole des Soeurs Antonines was and he explained it to me. Once we found my old school, it was easy for me to get around. I found Mansour’s house and the apartment building where my family lived. I also saw the spring where we would get water and the Catholic church.
We drove into Broumana where we looked for the movie theater where I saw the first Star Wars. We never found it. Mansour later confirmed that is now a Dunkin Donuts. Up the road to Baabdat we went where there are Lahoud pictures everywhere. It’s where he lives it turns out. We drove past the old Marmousa convent and then onto an apartment building owned by the family that, because of its location on top of a mountain, was completely gutted during the civil war by every group with guns passing through. Honestly, everywhere I go I see some reminder of the civil war mostly in the form of bullet holes in walls and shelled buildings. All the towns surrounding the town that I grew up in, Roumieh, have such signs. And Roumieh does as well. Mansour and family drove me past an old-style Lebanese house that I remember from my childhood. It is now roofless due to shelling.
After the gutted apartment building, we drove up the road and got out for a few seconds to look at the place where his parents were buried. It was just about two seconds, really. I later commented about this to A. He said “What do want? They are dead. I am not Catholic, I don’t worship the dead.” The guy makes me laugh. Later that evening, we had a wonderful get together with cheese. Pate, and wine at Evelyne’s.