othing, no one, resisted my mother. I'll never forget the Sunday when, angryat having been "had"
one of her favorite expressions
by her butcher, she rose in themiddle of our family lunch, grabbed the dish on which the roast beef sat surroundedby potatoes and green beans and ordered me to follow her. I wasn't even ten then andthe expedition was labeled as formative: "Remember Victor, you must never allowyourself to be had.
ever!"I remember running behind her as she strode down the Avenue Mozart,oblivious to the bewildered stares following this tall and beautiful woman, her roastbeef and her son. At the Boucherie Jasmin, my mother stormed in as the butcher, abig, ruddy redhead with a handlebar mustache was helping his last customers of theday. Too shy to follow her, I stood at the door, shuffling my feet in the sawdust.Ignoring the line, my mother planted herself in front of the butcher and laid her dish of roast beef, potatoes and green beans on the marble counter. "Have some!" she ordered.I wasn't too young to be embarrassed and would have given anything to beallowed to run away, but was afraid of the reprisals."I said, have some. Eat!" my mother thundered. The big man seemed frozen.At a total loss, he looked around and saw nothing but laughing or horrified faces."Do I have to help you?" she insisted. "Give me your knife."Defeated, the butcher handed my mother his knife. She carved a slice of beef and shoved it under his nose; "Eat this now! Eat it and tell me if this is the tender meatyou promised me. I should take it to the cobbler; he'd make soles out of it."As we were walking home, I remember being both ashamed and deeply in aweof my mother. I didn't know anyone
and some thirty years later, still haven't met any