Eric's Sunday Sermon; Let Us Talk About Nice
I do not have photos of Nice
A place and space.
Nice. Oh my what sweet memories. First visited in 1972. Went back in ’75. Beautiful place it is. Just one of the most wonderful settings along the Mediterranean. I do believe the largest city on the coast. Really cool architecture in the common. I just love tight knit neighborhoods that have all buildings painted pastels and different. There is an old town there named something like Vielle Ville. It is so cool with narrow alleyways and centuries old buildings. It has this long road, I would guess it is about 10 kilometers like a main street. I remember cobblestone type streets. I seem to recall a promenade type avenue with a name like Anglais and a big awesome hotel named Negresco. It seems to me the renaissance of Nice was like in 1910 or so. I am pretty sure it was before the two world wars. Of course it’s founding was by Greeks in around 300 BC. So for an old country boy from the Western United States this stuff was ancient. The name is a type of from Greek literation of City of Victory. I must say the place really reminded me of Greece.
If you dig olive oil and herbs combined with fresh fish and local vegetables you will gain weight there.
Hey, if you are like me and love to checkout churches – Nice Cathedral is like 400 years old, awesome and ornate and really interesting architecture.
Let me see what else I really liked about Nice…. Oh yea, the girls, whacka whacka! It also has one of those climates where you can get all hot several blocks from the water, then scoot over to the beach and be cooled by the constant refreshing beach. One of the neat things I remember about Nice was that is was like you could get kind of lost (I do that on purpose when traveling) and you could just as well be in Greece, Italy, France or Spain. It is just, well, Mediterranean. And for sure it has that Southern Europe air of hanging out for way too long on a coffee shop sidewalk watching the world go by and waxing eloquent about world affairs.
There is something about a coastal town in a warm climate with years of history that just kind of creeps into the people there. Kind of a live and let live easiness. A true Laisse Faire both social and business. And this was still a time when children would run around free with every adult in the community as a guardian.
Sorry I got no pictures and I am sure my reflections are outdated and skyscrapers now fill the sky. So perhaps I go on about a bygone era. But I suspect you can build up a city, but you really cannot change its people and atmosphere. Oh my I have probably gone on too long about the humanizing of a place.
The same moon reflects on us all.
Coming of age?
This region is called the Cote d'Azur French Riviera. I first visited Nice with my older sisters. I was shocked when they removed their tops at the beach. But then pleasantly surprised to see many young beauties doing the same. Ah to be young again! We stayed at a youth hostel and hung out with young people from throughout the world, eating local cheese and bread while passing around a bottle of French wine. Much guitar playing and singing in harmony. Americans were not always welcomed with open arms in France at the time. Something about being loud and obnoxious and throwing around money. And that pesky issue of making wars not love in Vietnam. But us youth were still basking in the aftermath of cool stuff like Woodstock and hippies. Yes you could do Europe on five dollars a day – or I would not have been there.
The world when I was first in Nice did not have a worry in the world about terrorism. But let me set the timing in focus. We had quite a blast along the Mediterranean coast but we were next headed up to Norway to the Arctic Circle to see the sun not set and dance and revel in the never ending twilight and dawn. With a name like Dierker we cruised Germany and that included the horrors of the concentration camps which were only a few decades removed from being used. Talk about an impact on your world view. Well there was this really great happening in Munich Germany at that time and it was awesome. The ’72 Olympic Games. So really cool. We visited and loved it. That is before the “massacre” happened. Palestinians committing horror on Israeli athletes killing I think 12. How strange and new to us. Terrorism shattered our world and the wonderful days of Nice became a refuge in our minds. Over the next few weeks my sisters and I went back there in conversation and sweet remembrance. What the hell happened?
So I reckon I see my time in Nice as a youth. My time in Munich as the ugly beginning of being an adult in a sometimes ugly world. Some fifty years later I kind of had a line of demarcation in my mind. Cote de Azure as the bastion of love and peace and Germany the land of stark contrast and harsh reality. Pretty much nothing to do with the place but rather my experience while there.
Just a country boy in a wild wild world.
I loved this song when I lived in Paris in 1975
Own it, deal with it and then move on.
Oh believe me I know that I have no right to own any of the suffering going on in Nice at this time. I know that time and distance insulates me from the actual horror of the terror. To be sure it is too much of an abstract for me. But I can’t help my memories. I hate the dirty bastards that stole my place and space of refuge that has survived in my mind for decades. A totally crushing blow to now have to envision such a wonderful place as a place of terror. The children I still saw in my mind were mowed down their lives cut short by hatred. Surely I know that that place in time was gone long ago, just like childhood. But the good memories that last into older age should be sacrosanct and inviolate.
Have no doubt that lives with futures are terrible to erase from earth. But I have just realized that killing a part of our past is also a crime. To brutally snatch a part of what makes us who we are and replace it with visions of horror is also a theft of part of life.
Sorry for all that about me stuff. But there is a point here. I felt guilty about having such feelings. I felt like I had no right to them in light of people actually directly affected. But I got to thinking and feeling about it and realized I have to respect how I feel, stuffing it aside out of guilt ain’t no good at all.
Horrible acts of terror are personal to each of us. These are crimes against humanity in the very real sense that they steal a part of each of us. You are good and you mourn for others. But please take the time to be good to yourself and others. Accept and honor your own life, and recognize the pain in you and respect it enough to feel it and grieve it. It is just a fact in our humanity that with love comes pain. We must consciously understand this in order to move past the pain and back into the love. You and your feelings are valid.