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  • Writer's pictureKate Woodman

L’Opération “On a du bol de vous avoir » (Operation « we’re lucky to have you »)

À Paris et New York, on applaudit ou on frappe sur une poêle depuis les fenêtres chaque soir à rendre hommage le personnel soignants en première ligne contre le coronavirus. En Bretagne, ma communauté de communes Leff Armor propose aux habitants de déposer un bol sur leur boíte à lettres pour montrer leur soutien à celle et ceux qui travaillent durant cette période de crise, les personnels soignants ainsi que des agents toujours en activité sur le terrain : aux agriculteurs, aux agents de la poste, enseignants, artisans, commerçants-livreurs, transporteurs, etc. L‘idée est maintenir la proximité entre les uns et les autres, tout en restant confiné dans l’esprit « ensemble, mais chacun chez soi. »

In Paris and New York, one applauds or bangs on a pot from one’s window or balcony every evening (8pm in Paris, 7pm in New York) in homage to all the brave health care workers serving on the front line against the coronavirus pandemic. In my community in Brittany (Leff Armor) we put a bowl on top of our mailbox or in front of our house to show our support for everyone who continues to provide necessary services during this period of crisis: not only our health care workers, but our farmers, postal workers, teachers, sanitation workers, craftsmen, truck drivers, delivery men/women as well. The idea is to maintain our closeness to others in confinement in the spirit of being “alone but together.”

I started noticing the bowls several weeks ago and thought it was some sort of Breton tradition but couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it could signify. I looked in the bowls to see if anything was in them (thinking maybe some sort of bird or other animal food....what did I know?) My friend Maddy, who has been spending time in Brittany for many years, hadn’t a clue. Then last week I saw something in the local paper and “voila” mystery solved! "Avoir du bol" is a slang expression meaning "to be lucky"....hence a bowl signifies luck or good fortune. I promptly set a bowl atop the stone ledge above my boîte à lettre and am pleased to say to all those providing vital services: “on a du bol de vous avoir!” (we’re lucky to have you).

Some of the bowls I've seen while walking....

My bowl.....

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