Edith had wanted a honeymoon in Paris but her husband said NO! so she scrimped and saved for 40 years to make her dream come true.
Edith Dalton had been dreaming about visiting France since she was a little girl. When she’d accepted Hank’s marriage proposal, she timidly mentioned that she’d love a honeymoon in Paris, but her brand-new fiancé had disappointed her.
“France?” he’d sneered. “You think I’m gonna blow that kind of money on a honeymoon when I need a new car? Keep dreaming!”
Edith had obediently kept dreaming, and now, after forty years of marriage, that dream was finally coming true.
For forty years Edith had saved up every dollar that came her way and vowed that she’d see France if it was the last thing she did. In the meantime, Edith also took French classes and soaked up everything she could about French art, culture, and cuisine.
It was to her credit that Edith managed to do all this while raising three children, working as a substitute teacher, and putting up with Hank. Hank wasn’t the easiest of men, but he was honest and hardworking, and in his own way, he loved Edith and their children.
So while Edith dreamed of romance and adventure, years went by, her children grew up, and she got older. Then one day she woke up and realized it was now or never.
Edith was now sixty-seven, Hank was seventy-two and they might not be fit and spry for much longer — especially Hank who had been gaining weight since his retirement.
Edith felt that the perfect opportunity to spring her surprise on Hank was in as public a way as possible, so she organized a fortieth wedding anniversary celebration and invited all their friends and relatives.
At the height of the party, Edith broke the news. “As you all know,” she said breathlessly, “Hank and I have been in love for forty years, and I think it’s time for a second honeymoon!”
Edith smiled radiantly at Hank and handed him a giant envelope with ‘Bon Voyage’ printed in giant gold letters. Hank opened the envelope and his mouth hung open. “Tickets to Paris?” he asked, frowning.
Edith was practically jumping up and down with excitement. “Oh I want you to have the best time, Hank!” she cried. “It’s all arranged and paid for, and it’s a five-star trip all the way! We leave in a week!”
In front of their family and friends, Hank couldn’t very well complain so he smiled and thanked Edith, but he was far from thrilled. He didn’t speak any French, and in fact, he had never even left Minnesota in his entire life.
Hank wasn’t the world traveler type, but he was damned if he was going to let Edith lord it over him! From the very second their feet touched French soil, Hank took charge.
He knew that Edith spoke French but he never gave her a chance. Hank spoke to the Fench in a very loud voice, convinced that the louder he spoke the better they would understand.
While they were in Paris, things didn’t go so badly, after all, the City of Lights was host to the world, and someone always spoke English. Things got more complicated when they began their drive through the south of France.
Edith had arranged for a hired car, and a very nice one, but unfortunately the GPS was set for French, and Hank was sure he understood it all just fine. As a result, they took some unplanned detours and got lost.
Hank refused to allow Edith to ask for directions. “I’m telling you, Edith,” Hank said in his superior manner, “We’ve done just fine without any of that Frenchified lingo!”
That afternoon they finally drove into a beautiful walled town near Toulouse where Edith had booked a table at one of France’s best Michelin-star restaurants.
It was so famous that people had to make reservations months in advance, and Edith was looking forward to the chef’s justly famous culinary creations. Hank wasn’t impressed.
“What’s this got that a grill hasn’t, I’d like to know!” Hank snorted in such a loud voice that Edith felt herself blushing with embarrassment.
“Hank, the chef is one of the best…” Edith said softly.
“Best?” asked Hank, who spoke even louder when he realized he was upsetting Edith, “I think you got taken in! How much is this going to set us back, I’d like to know!”
That was when the waiter arrived with the menus and a little tray of amuse-bouche. Hank looked at the menu. It was in French, of course. Hank didn’t understand a word of it, except for the prices printed next to each dish.
“Hank,” Edith said. “Would you like me to translate…”
Hank looked down his nose at her. “Certainly not. I can order my own meal!” he said coldly. He called the waiter and pointed at an item on the menu. “This one!” he shouted.
Edith saw what he was asking for and decided to intervene. “Listen, Hank, maybe…”
“I know what I want Edith,” Hank said. “You just take care of yourself!” He winked at the waiter and said, “Bring us some vino!”
“It’s ‘vin’ Hank, vino is Spanish,” Edith said.
“Don’t correct me!” Hank said rudely. “For these prices, monsieur here will speak Spanish or anything I want!”
So Edith ordered her own meal in fluent French and kept her mouth shut while they waited for their order. Hank looked a little sour when he saw the delicious-looking tit-bits they brought for Edith while his own order seemed to be some kind of dark stew.
He didn’t enjoy it much either, and was irritated to see that Edith was obviously savoring every mouthful as if it was mana from heaven! He’d show her. Hank shoveled in every scrap of the stew and waved his hand up in the air.
“You there!” he bellowed to the elegant waiter. “Get me some more!”
“Hank,” Edith whispered. “I don’t think you can ask for seconds…”
“Look at these prices!” Hank scoffed. “I can ask for gold-plated seconds!” The waiter looked bemused but he went off into the kitchen and came back with a generous second serving of the stew.
Manfully, Hank ate his way through the second plate, smacking his lips and sopping up the sauce with a piece of bread. “What’s the matter, Edith? Am I embarrassing you?” he asked, smirking.
Edith smiled. “Not at all, my dear,” she said sweetly.
As soon as Hank finished, the waiter came back, accompanied by a chubby man in a chef’s hat. The man said in heavily accented English. “Sir, you are the brave American? I’d like to shake your hand…”
Hank got up grinning and pumped the chef’s hand. “Well hello there! That’s mighty friendly of you! But how do you know I’m brave?”
The chef smiled and explained: “Because no American has ever eaten my goat-testicle stew before and asked for more!”
Hank turned a strange grey-green shade and rushed for the door. Edith was glad he was gone because she could no longer hold back her giggles. When she had herself under control, she went outside and found Hank leaning against the car. being noisily sick.
“Hank are you OK?” she asked gently.
“You…” Hank gasped. “You KNEW…”
“I’m sorry Hank,” Edith said sweetly. “But you told me you knew what you were doing and I’d never doubt you…”
The next day Edith and the subdued Hank continued their tour of La Belle France, but from then on he always deferred to his wife for every little thing and asked her to translate every menu.
Hank learned his lesson so well that when they got back to the States, he was a transformed man — a sweet and considerate husband who listened to his wife.
What can we learn from this story?
The wise are always ready to admit they don’t know everything. Hank was angry that Edith knew something he didn’t and he was determined to prove that he didn’t need her.
Be humble, pride always leads to a downfall. Edith tried to warn him but Hank’s arrogance led to him having the worse culinary experience of his life.